The days of Princess Leia are long gone. General Leia Organa Solo has apparently come into her own with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and it would appear that both women and fans alike are happy with the change.
“The title “princess” no longer fits her the way “general” does,” Nylon writer Gabriel Bell opines, and this much is true.
The 21st century has ushered in a reality where women are in charge of a range of businesses and institutions – Marisa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg, anyone? Leaving actress Carrie Fisher in her definitive role as Princess Leia Organa would have resulted in a demonstrated lack of progress, at least as far as the new Star Wars movie is concerned. To be sure, not calling Leia “princess” is a sign of just how far the iconic series of movies has come since the first one debuted in 1977.
In many ways, the fact that Leia is no longer called princess – though one character apparently slips and calls her just that – is only befitting of the storyline that is being shouldered by the general.
“The stakes are pretty high in the story for her, so there’s not much goofing around where Leia’s concerned,” reports Star Wars VII director J.J. Abrams, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Whether the lighthearted wordplay that the character was well known for in the earlier movies is making a return remains to be seen, but that is perhaps not as interesting as the decision not to identify Leah as a “princess.” As might be expected, some comments on social media have made light of that decision.
General Leia is just. SO important to me. I'm pretty sure she's going to make me cry the second most. Only after her brother. #TFA— Grace (@FallonKlivian) November 6, 2015
in other news leia organa is a general and there is some good left in the world— taylor (@Ieiasorgana) November 12, 2015
It also makes sense from a character growth point of view. Leia no longer being called “princess” is quite logical. She is a smart, savvy woman who has been through a great deal. Whether she was clapped in slave irons by an overgrown slug or watching the man she loved being frozen in carbonite and then later formulating a plan to rescue him, Leah’s strength of character was still obvious. Making Leia a general sends the message that, as time has worn on in her universe, she has adapted to the positions denoting more strength and yes, power.
When Star Wars first debuted in 1977, Leia was the leader of the Rebel Alliance. By the time Return of the Jedi came out in 1983, she was a full-blown fighter in the resistance and had the outfit to match. Ensuring that Leia was no longer called “princess” by the time Star Wars VII began filming meant that there would be a new legion of young girls and women who would look at this tenacious woman and realize that they too could help lead the free galaxy in a battle against a new threat.
J.J. Abrams also acknowledged the headspace that Leia Organa was now in when Star Wars: The Force Awakens begins to play out, and it could be seen that no longer being called “princess” is fitting for a woman who has been there and done that a few times over.
According to Time, Carrie Fisher said that Leia was “Under a lot of pressure. Committed as ever to her cause, but I would imagine feeling somewhat defeated, tired, and pissed.”
While it can be only guessed that princesses in this modern age do sometimes feel much the same way, a princess who has seen some of the hardest battles – both personal and global – fought in her lifetime should no longer be called “princess.” General Leia Organa is set to defend her life and those of others in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and it can only be supposed that there are thousands of fans who are eager to see her do exactly that.
(Feature image courtesy of Findmemes.com)