We’ve all grown to love our Star Wars heroine, Princess Leia, over the years due in part to her independent and brilliant spirit. And while some see her as “typical” princess that had to be “rescued,” she was in fact a brilliant strategist who’s unafraid of Darth Vader and planned the group’s escape. Can you say badass?
Dave Filoni, an executive producer of Star Wars Rebels, visited the National Center for Women & Information Technology to discuss the role of women in the Star Wars universe. In the 25 minute talk, Filoni mentions that characters like Princess Leia were something young boys at the time had never seen before, which is exactly why she stood out to Filoni. He remembers as a boy being told “don’t be a girl”–the implication being girls are weak. And we all know Leia is far from weak. She might just be the strongest one in her family and the importance of seeing characters like Leia in pop culture can’t be overlooked.
Filoni, and by extension Lucasfilm, believe that “if you see it, you can become it,” which is why it’s important for young girls and boys to see characters of all varieties on their TV and movie screens. Throughout the Star Wars universe and in Filoni’s work specifically, there’s a focus on dimensional, real, diverse characters of all genders, races, and ages. So when fans complain there’s “another female-led show,” Filoni reminds them that if it was another male hero, no one would bat an eye. All Luke did was open the door for Leia to “kick ass.” She did the rest on her own. These Star Wars films and TV shows are now opening the door to all types of heroes.
For example, when working on Ahsoka, who appears in both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, Filoni said the team began searching for how they believed a female Jedi being trained by Anakin would act. But ultimately stopped trying to make her a “female Jedi” and focused more on the characteristics they knew a 14-year-old Jedi would possess. The team assumed Ahsoka would be loved by girls, of course, but they were shocked to find that she’s beloved by boys as well. It turns out that when a character is based in reality, everyone can find something they identify with.
Check out the full speech by Dave Filoni and learn more about what makes these characters unique and important.
From Leia to Rey and everyone in between, Lucasfilm has been dedicated to dimensional, diverse characters based in reality. Of course, there’s always room for improvements but moving forward, they seem to be dedicated to making those improvements. And we’re excited to see what they have in store.
Who is your favorite character in the Star Wars universe and why? Let us know in the comments!
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