The summer of 1977 was a bleak time for the Rebel Alliance. The evil Galactic Empire had the upper hand. Although its James Earl Jones-voiced villain, Darth Vader, was only still breathing thanks to life support, he did whatever he wanted anyway.
He picked fights with everyone who opposed him, belittled people he didn’t like, bragged about what he considered accomplishments, and insisted his way of doing things was best no matter what anyone else told him.
To make matters worse, you couldn’t get away from him. No matter how much you tried to avoid him, you would get sucked in by something he did. Either he sucked up your spaceship with his giant tractor beam or he sucked up your attention with his dastardly deeds, like when he choked an Imperial officer just by staring at him.
But Princess Leia was not impressed by anything Darth Vader did at any time to anyone. I never saw her give him the middle finger—probably because of that PG rating—but you could tell she imagined it all the time. She was determined to do him in or at least die trying.
Darth Vader accused her of wrongdoing several times a day, tried to hack into her stash of secret messages, and loomed over her every time they met face to face, but Princess Leia kept lying for the Rebel cause instead of crying over her mistakes.
So what if she put her faith in a white-haired guy with a funny accent who took one for the team at a crucial time? She still had his help when she needed it most.
No matter that the Empire blew her home planet to bits right in front of everyone and ordered her to be executed. She went back to her cell and took a power nap.
Princess Leia didn’t stand there helplessly when her rescuers showed up and screwed up the escape plan. She told them off, grabbed one of their guns in the middle of a shootout, and blasted them a new way out right down the Imperial garbage chute. She wasn’t one to wallow in the Imperial trash compactor either. Not a single stain stuck to her white dress when she got away.
Yes, the Death Star blew up thanks to an upstart pilot too short to be a storm trooper, but it was Princess Leia who gave him a medal—and who had delivered the stolen plans that made it all possible in the first place.
She accomplished all this as a fashion icon whose most famous line was a plea for help. Legions of fans have plastered buns the size of doughnuts to the sides of their heads while reciting, “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” Princess Leia became a role model for generations of admirers, thanks to a brilliant portrayal by the late Carrie Fisher.
If Disney had owned Princess Leia back then, she might have passed her time singing about her hardships to a bunch of animals that scampered around admiring her. Instead she announced, “Someone has to save our skins!” and blasted her way to a better outcome. #SideBunNation, let’s follow her lead.
Angie Vicars writes humorous essays and seriously good Web content for UT. In a former incarnation, she authored "My Barbie Was an Amputee," Yikes columns for Metro Pulse, and produced the WATE website.
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