Thursday, May 7, 2015

31 Day Star Wars Challenge, Day 7: All-Time Favorite Character

For anyone who knows me, my answer to today's challenge is not going to be any sort of surprise. It's the character with whom I identified, even as a kid and especially now. She even ties with my other favorite character, Ahsoka Tano, but that Padawan Learner comes from The Clone Wars. Considering the prequels and what a mess her mother turned out to be (through no fault of her own; that travesty lies in the hands of one George Lucas), I can only thank the writers who took over in The Empire Strikes Back and yes, even in Return of the Jedi, for keeping her actively engaged in her own destiny, even if she does kinda break character that one time.

Via Twenty-Two Words*
Of course, I'm talking about Princess Leia Organa.

Leia is everything Padme could have and should have been. Obviously, they're different people within a fictional universe, so their personalities can't be complete copies of each other, but where Padme became a trope, Leia seemed to be a real person. She was just as dedicated to a life of public service (kind of like a less spastic Leslie Knope**), but her relationship with Han Solo didn't dictate whether or not she would take a stand against what she felt was wrong (or whether she would just lose the will to live because Han decided to embrace his smuggler side). Granted, there's that whole "putting herself in danger to rescue a guy who said 'I know' to her from gangsters who, if they knew who she was***, would have sold her to her true enemies for credits" thing, but I tend to be more lenient on that, since that entire plan of Luke's was so badass and foolhardy that it couldn't fail. Her consistency of character - the above-mentioned flub notwithstanding - is her strong point. She doesn't lose her leadership capabilities or suddenly devolve like Padme did; instead, as the story continues to expand past the single mission in A New Hope, she's fleshed out, given more nuance and depth (I'd like to thank Irvin Kershner for that: RIP, good sir) without detracting from her core self.
Via Gunaxin
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that her actor, Carrie Fisher+, is a major reason the character is as successful as she is. I couldn't imagine her being portrayed by anyone other than Fisher. She adds a certain believability to Leia with her confident walk and her comic timing, especially playing off Harrison Ford's roguish charm****. Since I have watched the entire saga so many fucking times that, if you can play a part of the score, I can tell you exactly what's going on and what's being said, I like to listen to the commentary by the cast and crew, and Fisher's quips and recollections are all my favorites. She provides a bit of humanity in between the technical descriptions of the special effects (although, to be fair, those are really cool, particularly Ben Burtt's anecdotes), and they're almost all hilarious. I really feel like Carrie Fisher and I would be friends, shooting the shit and complaining about George Lucas.


* This is one of my absolute favorite pictures ever.
** OMG someone has to make a Parks and Rec/Star Wars mashup Tumblr if it isn't out there already.
*** I'm not entirely sure that Jabba the Hutt didn't know or wasn't at least familiar with the face of a woman that was wanted by the Empire. I would assume that he wasn't that out of touch with the goings-on in the galaxy.
**** I love that Harrison Ford is, in real life, is kind of a hermit: soft-spoken and secretive. It somehow makes him even sexier, as if that were even possible.
+ If you haven't given yourself the pleasure, you should check out any of her books, although my favorite is Postcards from the Edge
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