One of the up-sides to Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars is that it’s much easier now for me to decide on my favourite Disney princess. Princess Leia wins, hands down.
I’ve always felt a special connection to Leia. We’re the same height, for one thing, and it’s always nice to see that someone as tiny as myself can still make herself heard. She was also the first sci-fi heroine in my life, so in my mind she sets the standard for all the others. And now she sets the standard for Disney heroines, too.
Allow me to elaborate. First, very few Disney princesses come close to being as interesting and active as Leia. At no point in the trilogy does she have a screaming/fainting fit or wait around passively for someone to rescue her. She does need to be rescued in the first movie, of course, but that’s because she was already working against the Empire when Luke was still a whiny farm boy and Han was still a scoundrel. And sometimes people who stand up to Darth Vader get kidnapped and mind-probed.
But from the moment Luke walks into her life, she’s as much a part of the rebellion as any of the other heroes. In fact, she often surpasses the others. While Luke is busy angsting over his parentage and so forth, Leia’s getting stuff done. Like finding the Death Star’s weak spots, leading the Rebel armies, rescuing her boyfriend, killing a slimy crime lord, and taking down the second Death Star’s shields. She’s brave, funny, intelligent, a little annoying sometimes, and, deep down, every bit as idealistic as her brother. In short, she’s a fully-developed female character, which is a rare and wonderful thing in Hollywood.
And yet, a lot of people don’t remember her that way. Thanks to a certain stupid, unnecessary costume design in Return of the Jedi, they only remember how she looks in a bikini. Ah, fanservice, how I loathe thee.
But at least Leia ends up with the best Disney prince of them all. This is another area where I feel a connection to her, because I would have fallen for Han Solo, too. (Except it would only have taken me five minutes, not a whole movie.) Their romance is one of the best things about the Star Wars trilogy–and that’s the only time I will ever say that about an action movie romance. Leia and Han are perfect for each other–they’re both kind-hearted heroes wrapped in stubborn, arrogant jerks. And the more we get to know them as individuals, the better they are as a team. It’d be stupid not to make Leia fall in love with the only other character who can match her awesomeness.
And finally, you know how everyone talks about Disney princesses having unrealistically perfect hair? Well…Leia outdoes most of them in that area, too. And she’s not even a cartoon. She also wears several fabulous outfits (minus the slave-girl costume, of course–grrrrr).
So yeah, when it comes to being a fantastic princess, Leia was ahead of the game even before she was officially competing. In fact, you know what, forget princesses. All hail the queen!