In Search of the Happiness Max

I remember the memos from 20th Century Fox, ‘Can you put a pair of lederhosen on the Wookiee?’ All they could think of was, ‘This character has no pants on!’ This went back and forth. They did sketches of him in culottes and baggy shorts…Of all the things to worry about; the Wookiee has no pants.

Good LORD, attractive people!

I’ve mentioned that I love Princess Leia, right?

The thing that killed me about this setup was, okay, you put me in this bathing suit - but then I have to stop talking from here on? Strip me, and I’m silent! I am defiant with everyone else - Tarkin, Darth Vader - but this slug really shuts me up. Any defiance I had in the other movies, all gone.

I was so very happy to kill [Jabba]. It meant I could talk again. They asked me if I wanted a stunt double to kill Jabba and I said, ‘Really, really not. I really, really want to kill him myself.’

Carrie Fisher on being Slave Leia (via mustangscullaaay)


Hey, who wants to see Star Wars from Leia’s perspective?



Imagine the ‘New Hope’ is Princess Leia, not her farm boy twin. Imagine the tale starting with how the princess becomes a youthful senator, but when her idealism hits the corruption of the Empire, it doesn’t crumble, but is hardened into joining the rebellion, learning to fight:…


I’ve been delighted with the success of this post (I know, with 250 odd notes it is nothing by Tumblrs standards, but for me, it’s good). I think this is my favourite comment so far.

I feel like more and more the most effective way to change the world (available to me, at least) is to write a better one. And knowing that people (even if only 250 odd people) would watch something from the perspective I see something (granted, it’s a perspective on someone else’s great tale, which already had a character like Leia in it, but just chose not to highlight her point of view) is empowering in the way that we all know chainmail bikinis decidedly are not.

Writing is powerful. I haven’t wanted to say it because I have been trained by society not to say these things, to temper my dreams with ‘reality’, and that hasn’t worked out so well for me, so I’m going to say it anyway: when I’m done with my PhD, I want to be a writer. Not someone who shoots off a couple of short stories a year and blogs to build a ‘platform’ for the nebulous future when she finishes one of the many novels she squeezes a few words out on around a day job and/or studies for yet another job that’s not only a pipe dream, but at which I can only ever hope to be second best. I want to do it. I want to finish a novel and send that off. And then another, and another.

I want to start living my life the way I want to, not just as preparation for some pay-out day far off in the future, which never comes. I want to write, and I want to change the world. Because I think I have a perspective that other people share and don’t see enough of in the media. And I think sharing that perspective can not only be good for me, it can be part of the machine that shapes our global perspective. And that’s bigger than any one person. But that’s the beauty of writing - however it might seem, writing isn’t something you do shut away in a room by yourself. Stephen King called it telepathy - in part because it lets me put my thoughts in your mind, but also because it can’t be done alone. Writing isn’t writing unless it is read. It is something we do together. And the thing that is formed of the writer and the reader’s minds is a mercurial fusion.

I want to be a part of that. I want to influence what is made when minds come together in reading.

Which is probably not what that commenter was expecting in response to their comment. I guess this is only tangentially linked to the post itself. It’s a confluence of a whole bunch of events, many of them very shitty indeed, and which have nothing to do with Star Wars or Princess Leia. But I guess I’m realising that I not only want to be Princess Leia, I want to be the Leia who is the centre of her own story, and who enables other people to see themselves as the person at the centre of a story like Leia’s, too.

Also, thanks to everyone who’s made nice comments about this. It’s super-flattering and pleasingly communal. You’re all great, and I like knowing that you exist.

Return of the Jedi, from Leia’s perspective


Having located Jabba the Hutt’s palace, Leia and her friends devise a series of successive plans to rescue her lover, Han Solo.

First the droids enter, under the guise of delivering a threat. They are swiftly captured.

Then, Leia herself enters with Chewbacca as prisoner, disguised as a bounty hunter attempting to collect the bounty on Chewbacca. That night, she sneaks into the chamber where Han is still imprisoned in carbonite, and frees him. She is able to steal a kiss from him, but only barely, before Leia is captured herself, chained to Jabba’s dais, and humiliatingly displayed as a slave.

Finally, Luke enters, hoping to put his developing Jedi powers to good use, but he proves overconfident. Leia is forced to watch as he, too, is defeated by the formidable Jabba the Hutt. But all is not lost. Leia was prepared for these plans to fail. With all of her friends in place, they are able to act in concert, catching Jabba off guard in what he takes to be a moment of victory.

As Han, Luke, and Chewie are taken out to the Pit of Sarlacc to be digested over 1,000 years, Jabba watches from his pleasure barge. R2D2, who has been forced into servitude as a robot waiter, is able to sneak a lightsaber to Luke, and whilst Luke, Han, and Chewie struggle against their captors, Leia takes on Jabba the Hutt himself - strangling the mobster with the chain of her own enslavement.

Having killed Jabba, Leia seizes control of the gun turret, points it at the deck, and destroys the pleasure barge, before escaping with Luke and her friends.

Whilst Leia has been preoccupied with saving Han, the Empire has been building a new Death Star; this one protected by a shield, designed to prevent such attacks as destroyed the first Death Star. The powerful shield is generated from a base on the forest moon of Endor. Leia is to lead a small task force who will be able to sneak into the compound and destroy the shield, enabling the rebel fleet to attack the half-built Death Star while it is vulnerable.

Leia and her friends successfully make it to Endor, but once on the surface, they quickly encounter scout troopers. Fearing discovery, Leia and Luke steal a speeder and chase after the scouts, but they become separated as Luke tackles on scout and Leia takes on the other. In tightly maneuvering to destroy one trooper, Leia is thrown from her speeder and crashes. When she recovers consciousness, Leia finds herself an object of interest for one of the indigenous ewoks. She befriends the ewok, and together they escape the troopers and return to the ewok village.

Leia’s friends are not far behind. They, also, encounter ewoks, but are less successful at making friends. Although C3PO’s strange appearance and skill with languages convinces the ewoks that he is to be revered, the others are captured and are to be roasted alive as part of some form of celebration. Leia tries to explain that these are her friends, but she doesn’t know the language. Fortunately, Luke and C3PO are able to use 3PO’s inflated status to convince the ewoks that killing Leia’s friends would offend him, and they are saved.

Whilst the ewoks continue their celebration (apparently uninhibited by the loss of their feast), Leia notices that Luke is out of sorts and goes to speak with him. He reveals that Darth Vader is his father, and that Leia is his sister, and that she may have the Force, too - which she has long suspected in any case. He explains that his presence is likely to attract Vader’s attention, and she gives her blessing for him to leave.

Leia and friends succeed in attacking and entering the shield generator without Luke, but are captured and led outside. The delay in disabling the shield allows the emperor to reveal that the planet-killer beam is fully operational, and the rebel fleet is now trapped between the Death Star and the imperial fleet. However, with the aid of the ewoks, Leia is able to defeat the imperial troops on the ground and access the bunker again, this time succeeding in blowing it sky high.

With the shield down, the rebels are able to fly into the core of the half-built Death Star and destroy it. Luke, who had been captured by Darth Vader, is barely able to escape in time, and he returns to Endor with Vader’s body.

In the aftermath, Han reveals that he witnessed Leia’s close moment with Luke earlier, and asks whether she loves him. Misunderstanding, Leia replies that she does, but when she realises Han believes that this is romantic love she explains that Luke is her brother, and kisses Han.

Luke reveals that Vader’s last act was to side with his children and destroy the emperor, and Leia and Han join with him to burn Vader’s body in the traditional Jedi manner. Around them, the ewoks and rebels celebrate the destruction of the Empire’s most powerful weapon and the death of the emperor.

(Read A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back from Leia’s perspective, too. Really, we might rename these films ‘Leia Fights Wars in Space with her Rather Less Competent Friends’ ;-p)

The Empire Strikes Back, from Leia’s perspective


Having secured the single biggest coup against the Empire in history, Leia’s status as a leader in the rebellion is undisputed. However, it also drew marked attention to the central base, and the rebels are scattered across the galaxy, hiding from the wrath of Darth Vader. Leia’s contingent hides out on an isolated ice planet called Hoth.

Leia has become close friends with her would-be rescuers after they pulled through for her in the destruction of the Death Star. Leia’s instincts about the younger man, Luke, have born fruit, as he has proved to be a valuable asset, showing some ability to manipulate the semi-mythical Force. Unfortunately, both Luke and the other man, Han, have a habit of getting into trouble. Luke, having discovered an imperial probe, is trapped outside the protective shelter of the base in freezing temperatures, and Han eschews his responsibilities, risking himself for his friend. They return with their warning barely ahead of the imperial fleet.

The growing attraction between Leia and Han causes tension, as he proves less committed to the cause than she, intending to flee rather than face the attack. He attempts to use the situation to manipulate her into confessing a love she doesn’t have time for as a military leader, provoking her to kiss Luke, instead of Han, in an effort to end the discussion.

Whilst one friend recovers and the other prepares to flee, Leia marshals her forces to hold off the Empire as long as possible so that as many can evacuate as possible. She is so preoccupied with protecting her people that by the time she is forced to leave herself, only one transport remains: Han’s ship, which had mysteriously encountered engine trouble.

Han’s damaged ship is incapable of using its hyperdrive, so Leia plays a game of cat and mouse with Darth Vader aboard Han’s ship, whilst Luke leaves to pursue a religious mission. Han shows impressive skill when he pilots the ship into an asteroid field, and they manage to find a place to hide on one of the larger asteroids. As Leia attempts to perform repairs, Han approaches her. In the intimacy of the enclosed space, with the adrenaline of the fight still racing through her, Leia succumbs to the feelings she had denied herself when she had had to put her people first, and she kisses him. But when the kiss is interrupted by the robot, C3PO, she pulls away, aware, again, of her responsibilities.

As Vader begins bombing the asteroid in an effort to drive Leia and her companions from hiding, Leia notices that there is something strange about the atmosphere and ground of the cave in which they are hiding. Unwittingly, they have flown into the gullet of a space slug. One that is now stirring in response to the bombardment. They only just manage to return to the ship and flee in time.

Having narrowly escaped Vader again, Leia reluctantly agrees that they should turn to a dubious friend of Han’s for help in repairing the ship. Unfortunately, allowing Han to choose the destination proves to be a mistake. Han’s ‘friend’, Lando, has already cut a steadily worsening deal with Darth Vader. Whilst Leia, as a political prisoner, is unharmed, Vader tortures Han, in what turns out to be part of a religious vendetta to draw out Luke. Her feelings barely admitted, Leia must watch Han suffer before being handed over to a bounty hunter. She barely has time to confess the love he had tried for so long to make her to admit before she is forced to watch him frozen in carbonite, whilst she can do nothing.

Regretting his deal with Darth Vader, Lando switches sides and aids Leia in escaping. But as she leaves, Leia finds the Force stirring in herself again. She realises that her friend, Luke, has fallen for Vader’s trick, and senses that he is wounded and surely doomed to die without her help. Turning the ship around, Leia uses the Force to find her friend and rescue him from where he hangs precariously, under the floating city.

Leia has been reunited with one of her friends and has escaped the clutches of Darth Vader, but it is a bitter-sweet  victory, as her lover has been sold to a nefarious gangster. As the film closes, she stares into space, contemplating what she will need to do to get him back.

[Edited to add:] I did A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, from Leia’s perspective

Hey, who wants to see Star Wars from Leia’s perspective?


Imagine the ‘New Hope’ is Princess Leia, not her farm boy twin. Imagine the tale starting with how the princess becomes a youthful senator, but when her idealism hits the corruption of the Empire, it doesn’t crumble, but is hardened into joining the rebellion, learning to fight: diplomat and princess by day, guerrilla fighter and leader of the resistance by night! She’s like Batman, but with less ego - she doesn’t need to grandstand, she just gets the job done.

Then, just as she has managed to obtain secret plans for the empire’s new weapon, her ship is captured. Knowing she cannot escape, Leia sneaks off to hide the plans aboard an old R2 unit. An innocuous looking vessel, but one she knows to have been trusted with some unusually sensitive missions in the past. Once the plans are secured, she gives herself up to act as a distraction.

Realising she won’t break, her captors threaten her beloved home world in order to make her give up her comrades. Unshaken in such terrible straights, she uses her quick wits to construct a plausible lie that will buy her world time. But the evil of her enemies is unfathomable - they destroy her world anyway.

Still reeling from the obliteration of her people and her home, the solitude of Leia’s cell is disturbed by a hopelessly naive-looking young man who says he’s here to rescue her. The whole plan seems ridiculously poorly thought through, but when he tells her that he’s here with the general to whom she had sent her plans she decides to risk trusting him. Seizing control of the situation, she rescues her rescuers and they escape (over the slightly-spoilt whining of the more handsome of the two men, who seems to object to a little sewage in the name of saving his life).

Blasting their way through storm troopers, she leads them to escape and gets them all back to the real rebel base in the nick of time so that the plans can be analysed and the weakness of the weapon (whose ferocious power she has now seen for herself) can be destroyed.

Her abilities as a shrewd tactician are put to the test as she becomes instrumental in planning the attack that will destroy the Death Star. Some instinct in her (maybe stirrings of the Force?) and a sense of indebtedness leads her to recommend the younger of the two men who made such a botch of rescuing her for one of the attack squads. It’s the right choice, and thanks to the plans she saved and her skillful planning, the day is saved.

A huge blow has been struck against the Empire, but the war has just begun…

[Edited to add:] I did the other two films. Because, Leia. ESB, RotJ.



Right? ‘Cause everyone I know takes this (the first gif above, the one from Empire Strikes Back) as like a ‘LOL! Han is such a dick here and LOL!women so much more emotional than men’ - like this whole scene is about how he wouldn’t say I love you, and she would. Like, it never…

This is brilliant. I love this. I wonder, do you think she is just completely okay with being vulnerable with him after that? Because one of her first lines in Return is about how she loves him very much. Furthermore, did she just say, “I know,” to be a smartass?

I love how well people responded to this. It never ceases to surprise me which of my geeky rants get picked up and which don’t. Most people just seem to be straight reblogging it, but this question brought up some stuff I thought and didn’t write down. Like:

I love how their relationship evolves between the second and third film. Which is super interesting, because they aren’t together at all in the intervening time. Leia must have been dealing with some serious shit after the end of ESB - like, not only did she go through this major shift in opening up, but then THAT happens to Han and… shit, can we all take a moment to remember just how sick and twisted what Jabba does is? He freezes Han in carbonite and then treats him like an ornament. And the funny thing is, in some ways, it’s worse for Leia - Han experiences nothing in the intervening months, but all that time Leia is alone dealing with that shit and trying to find him - to rescue him (and let’s all just take a moment to recognise that in the third film the princess rescues her love interest - with a little help from her friends, granted, but Han and Luke’s original rescue of her was not the smoothest operation either).

So, yeah, I think she probably goes through a lot of emotional self-reflection in that time. At the same time, Han wakes up to a world where he has to be a bit dependent on his friends for a while, and in which they have all rallied around him. That’s gotta be kind of warming, and… yeah, I think it does reflect their relationship. They are just so relaxed together in a way they never were before. It’s gone from sparring and attraction and awkward-heady-nervous love to a full, mature love where you’re just… relaxed in each other’s company like they wouldn’t be in anyone else’s. They’re a team.

What I think that second gif expresses is a) teamwork, and b) that that way in which she expressed her love and he acknowledged it has become a sort of joke and a sort of term of affection between them. Like, I don’t know, if they ever had a moment of time to do anything domestic - like going to the space shop to buy the space groceries and Leia nearly forgot the space toilet paper, but Han remembered, and they’d get home and she’d be all ‘Damnit!’ And he’d be all ‘Haha! Space toilet paper!’ and she’d be all ‘I love you!’ and he’d be all ‘I know’*. And then when they’re in a life-or-death situation again and she does this, it just means that much more and expresses their love and joy in being together and being awesome. What it does is express their connection and their equality. Because they both love each other, and each knows that the other loves them. And that’s the best kind of love.

*Honestly, I can’t imagine anything this domestic happening in Star Wars - I am aware this reads like bad fanfiction - but you get what I mean.

I wanna talk about ‘I love you/I know’

Right? ‘Cause everyone I know takes this (the first gif above, the one from Empire Strikes Back) as like a ‘LOL! Han is such a dick here and LOL!women so much more emotional than men’ - like this whole scene is about how he wouldn’t say I love you, and she would. Like, it never occurred to me to think that until I watched the film with someone else, who exclaimed ‘OMG! Such a BASTARD!’. And for a while I felt kinda duped for thinking it had been romantic when I saw it on my own, but, for real, check it:

Were you guys even watching the rest of the film? Han is consistently the more emotionally open about their relationship. A good portion of the early scenes on Hoth are about Han trying to get Leia to admit that she likes him, and being totally open about the fact that he likes her. But she’s all ‘Dude, I am a general and I have a fucking rebel moonbase to run and I’m a military leader what exactly do you think the troops would say if I were to suddenly turn round and be gooey over you?’ Like, Leia’s priorities have always been with her people and the greater good. She’s pissed off with Han in the first movie because it looks like he’s gonna run off and look after his own arse, but he comes back - a bit for Luke, but a lot for her. At the end of the day, Han puts his emotions first - look after yourself, look after your mates, follow your heart. The tough guy act is his defence against people seeing how much his emotions rule him - and it’s there in all his relationships, particularly his friendship with Chewbacca. Leia doesn’t do that, and she doesn’t have that luxury. When her ship is captured she sends a ‘help me’ message, but it’s not actually about helping her - she stands proudly before Lord Vader after she’s captured like absolutely no one else. She doesn’t expect to get rescued. She expects to be tortured, then die, knowing that her plea for her people and the crucial plans will escape where she could not. She’s selfless to a T and she fears admitting her feelings because they make her vulnerable. She can’t afford to put anyone else before her cause, and if she admits her love she just might have to do that. The Han/Leia emotional arc is all about him trying to pull her in to admit her feelings, and her trying to pull him along and see the bigger picture.

The point of this scene is not that she says ‘I love you’ and he doesn’t. The point is that he’s been consistently open about the fact that he loves her, and she hasn’t been willing to admit it. He’s not saying ‘LOL - I know you do but I’m going to leave you hanging about how I feel’. She says ‘I love you’, in front of Vader, of all people, and he reassures her that he knew all along. And she’s able to say ‘I love you’ then because she’s seen him tortured and not give in and she’s seen him willing to sacrifice himself in this way and she sees that her refusal to credit him with seeing the bigger picture has been unfair, so also her refusal to admit her love is equally unfair. And what he’s saying is not ‘Haha, I got you to say it!’ it’s ‘It’s OK, I always knew how you felt, it doesn’t matter’.

So, that’s what I think about that.

And here is what Leia does, when you force her into a scanty outfit and choke-chain: she takes that chain, and she kills you with it. She doesn’t let her clothing get in her way or limit her more than she can help—she waits for her moment to strike, and then she conquers her would-be conqueror and saves the day.

And I was a little kid, not yet desensitized to violence […] Jabba’s death scene freaked the hell out of me. It wasn’t a clean blaster shot to the chest or a slice from a lightsaber that sent sparks flying or made you turn invisible. There were struggles, and flailing, and twitching limbs. The shots are close-ups, and very dark—it’s vicious, and vengeful, and physical, and very very personal.

So for me, wearing that gold bikini does not mean Here I am, a sexy toy for your amusement and gratification.

To me, that gold bikini says, If you fuck with me, I will end you.