The backstory of Princess Leia Organa Solo (played by the incomparable Carrie Fisher in the original Star Wars trilogy) reveals why she is a feminist hero we adore. By the time she meets Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, she’s a 19-year-old Imperial senator intent on snuffing out slavery and the indentured servitude of women (big galactic problems at the time). But we don’t know any of this when we first lay eyes on her in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
All we see is a strong, athletic, quick-witted woman who orders the men around, doesn’t let one “sweetheart” or “princess” slide without issuing the offender a verbal smack down. And she hardly bats an eyelash at impending danger — such as swarms of Stormtroopers or Darth Vader himself. Star Wars is commonly thought to be about a young man who uses the force to defeat his evil father and save the galaxy. But every moment she’s on screen, Leia reminds us why she’s the hero we’re rooting for.