Princess Leia – Badass
In a discussion this weekend, the topic was raised as to who was the bigger badass – Luke Skywalker or Han Solo.
I must be clear – this discussion was only in reference to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. All arguments that take other films into account will be considered null and void.
This question, of course, is completely ridiculous. Han Solo is the bigger badass. Luke is on the hero’s journey and his course is clear. He really never wavers from the “save the galaxy” quest he is on. He is also a whiny little git.
Solo’s motivations aside, he has a Wookie for a co-pilot. Game, set and match for Solo.
Yes, I love Obi Wan Kenobi as well but you tell me what is more bad ass – an old dude in monk robes or a wookie?
The problem with this debate is that it ignores the character who is more of a badass than Han or Luke. How can we continue to deny the badass nature of Princess Leia?
Let’s ask ourselves this – what character stands almost two feet shorter than Darth Vader and stares the mother fucker down? Remember, we just watched him choke a guy to death. She is a tiny little waif of a thing with one of the most unfortunate hairdos ever devised and she makes it clear that he can force choke her all he wants but she is not going to reveal the location of the rebel base or the stolen plans.
Who is it who faces up to Grand Moff Tarken and given the option between betraying her cause and letting him blow up an entire planet, picks the cause?
And when Luke and Han show up to “rescue” her, who is the person that assesses the situation and figures “given the choice between certain death and doing something, I choose to do something?”
What does Solo do that is really badass? He shoots Greedo. I don’t want to downplay that action the way Lucas did, mind you. Managing to pull out your gun in a manner that goes completely unnoticed by an insect like creature that probably has multi faceted eyes is very impressive. Shooting said insect creature before he can shoot you just shows that solo is a guy who does what needs to be done.
Unless he is rescuing a princess. Then he just shoots down a corridor and waits for her to solve the problem – at which point he bitches about her solution.
I know, I know. It was just foreplay.
Luke does blow up the Death Star, which is pretty badass given we’ve seen absolutely no evidence up to that point that would indicate he knows how to fly an X-Wing. Let us not forget, though, that he needs the advice of a dead guy to do it.
Leia, of course, stays behind during the assault on the Death Star. I will accept no argument that this tarnishes her badass award. Keep in mind, if those fighters fail, she is going to be blown up. Just like Tarken, she has no plans to evacuate. She is the captain and she will go down with her ship.
I think we can fairly wonder why Leia doesn’t participate in the assault on the Death Star herself. She’s a good shot and manages to handle the Falcon well enough when Luke and Han are blowing up TIE fighters. Realistically, wouldn’t she have had more experience flying a snub fighter than – say – Luke????
Still, there is no denying the benefit of having her stand in a bunker so someone can tell her what all that radio chatter means. She is clearly serving the Rebellion in a better capacity than if she were flying a Y-wing getting chased by Darth Vader.
There wouldn’t be a trilogy if she’d been there. Because if Leia was flying a fighter, she would have done a badass loop the loop, ended up behind Vader and fired a couple of Photon Torpedos up his ass. Han would have shown up to save the day and ended up in the audience watching Leia get a medal hung around her neck.
Speaking of medals, how about the king sized cajones it takes to give a medal to Han and Luke but not to the wookie! If a wookie will tear your arms out because he lost a game, what might he do when you dis him in front of the entire rebellion?????
I mean I get that the droids didn’t get medals. Why should they? R2-D2 only abandoned his best friend twice in order to get the data tapes to Obi Wan. Then he found the princess in the detention block. Then he shut down the trash compactor so they wouldn’t get crushed. Then he helped fly the X-wing that destroyed the fucking death star but since droids are built to be slaves, they don’t get any recognition aside from a good buff shine.
But Chewbacca doesn’t get a medal? We don’t know for sure but I’m willing to guess it was Chewbacca who convinced Han he was being a king sized jackass by running out on the rebellion. That walking carpet was not a bit player in the whole affair.
And Leia just looks him up and down and says “no – the wookie gets nothing.”
Compared to Leia, the entire pantheon of badasses in episode 4 look like idiots. Obi Wan? All he does is scare the Sand People away. They’ll be back in greater numbers? So what man? You’re a fucking Jedi!
Han? If he were truly a badass, he would have said “You’re all clear kid! Now you blow this thing and head home while I chase down Darth Vader and finish him off!!!”
Luke? Obi Wan died so he could escape and instead of running, he shouted really loud so the stormtroopers would know he was there. If Stormtroopers could aim, he’d be dead.
Chewie? Well, he is a wookie….
Who wouldn’t even help Luke when he was attacked by a one eyed snake thing in the compactor. What did Chewbacca do? He pounded on the door. Who was he hoping would hear? Anyone who heard them on the opposite side of the door would have been someone who wanted to kill them.
In fact, the only character who rivals Leia for sheer badassness is R2-D2 and since he is just following orders given to him by Leia, all of his badass actions are awarded to her.
So the next time you are at a cocktail party where someone is extolling the badassness of Han Solo, you tell them that Han is not worthy to style Leia’s hair.
Although he should. Whoever is responsible for her hair seriously needs to be let go.
Thanks are due, by the way, to my friend Geoffrey Brown, for inspiring this post.