We are entering a brave new world when it comes to Disney and their golden child - Star Wars. And in regards to this particular example, it’s a good thing. Some would say even, long overdue.
Thanks to some clever detective work from the good folks at Screen Crush, they noticed Marvel artist J. Scott Campbell comment on a Facebook Post about Princess Leia’s infamous ‘slave-bikini’ from Return of the Jedi and how it will soon be ‘retired’ from all future Disney merchandise.
Campbell references the great Interview Magazine article in which Carrie Fisher interviews Daisy Ridley about Star Wars, her place in the new movies and urging her not to ‘become a slave.’ As if this reference to the slave bikini wasn’t enough to warrant clarification, Campbell dives in with some, seemingly, inside information:
Daisy Ridley won’t have to fight against anything. Disney is already well on it’s way to wiping out the “slave” outfit from any future products period. You will NOT see and future merchandising featuring the slave outfit ever again. Trust me […] I’ve heard it from two sources. We can’t even draw Leia in a sexy pose at Marvel, let alone in that outfit! We also had a 3-D [Slave Leia] statue killed at a major manufacturer because there will no longer be any [Slave Leia] merchandise.
The fact that Disney is now running the show, removing the controversial outfit makes total sense. And aside from that, I just can’t believe that something as risque as the outfit hadn’t been retired sooner. Based solely on the movement in our modern pop culture landscape that is, rightfully, looking at women more for their power and not their outfit, I believe this costume and/or figure and merchandise is due for removal.
But to play devil’s advocate and look at it from the other side of the coin, there will no doubt be a lot of men and women looking at this development as sad thing. It is an iconic image that has launched the cosplay of thousands of con-goers every year. Heck, I’ve even seen men dressed as Slave Leia at cons around the world. I believe in most cases, the look is featured out of pure nostalgia rather than the pure desire to objectify.
But this isn’t the eighties anymore – or even the nineties. This is the way of things now. The Slave Leia figure has been targeted over the past few years by parents upset over its depiction as well as over the lack of female Star Wars figures in general. When you even look at the recent example of Marvel’s Avengers lacking in any Black Widow action figures, it’s a weird paradigm to wrap your head around.
Why no Black Widow figures when she is a strong woman that can kick some butt? Why then are there plenty of Princess Leia action figures of her in a skimpy outfit with a chain around her neck?
I’ll let both sides argue the pros and cons of this but for me, I merely see it as a sign of the times. Disney, I am sure, is looking to include all women in their Star Wars party and all you have to do is look to the latest marketing for The Force Awakens - that trailer and poster puts Daisy Ridley’s Rey character front and center. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of this with all their female characters moving forward.
I know this is a topic worthy of some point/counterpoints so I would love to hear everyone’s take. Drop in your thoughts in the comment section below. Are you all for the removal of Princess Leia’s most recognizable action figure design or do you think it’s a mistake?
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