In light of the untimely death of Carrie Fisher, best known for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars, a petition has been launched to have Leia crowned as an official Disney Princess. It’s something fans are very divided on, a lovely idea in theory, intended to be a tribute to Carrie Fisher and the amazing character she gave us.
The arguments for doing it are valid, Leia is a fantastic role model for young girls and boys alike, she’s smart, funny, strong and has excellent taste in men. She’s also a very realistic character, who can be angry and jealous.
Although the definition of a Disney Princess has changed since Snow White graced the screen in 1937 singing ‘Someday my prince will come’, it still conjures up images of a damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued by a Prince. An image that doesn’t apply to Leia, who admittedly, was rescued from Vader by Luke and Han in A New Hope, but also did a fair bit of rescuing herself. The truth is, you just don’t see Disney Princesses strangling space slugs in a gold bikini.
Leia stands alone as a hero in her own right, to make her a Disney Princess would be to suggest that she didn’t possess the traits to make her a Disney Princess to begin with, which some fans are seeing as an insult to the character.
When we first met Lei in A New Hope, she had no family, no home planet and the responsibility of delivering the plans for the Death Star to Obi-Wan. This is more than any Disney Princess had to deal with.
But the main reason Leia shouldn’t be a Disney Princess is almost too sad to acknowledge. She can’t be a Disney girl because, as we saw in The Force Awakens, she didn’t live happily ever after. The Leia we meet in The Force Awakens has lost everything, her brother, her partner and worst of all her, son to the dark side.
Disney Princesses are escapism, Leia is representation of real life set against a fantasy background. Even after losing everything she’s still struggling on, ready to fight the next enemy because as in real life, there isn’t always a happy ending.