Disney is discontinuing Slave/Prisoner Leia merchandise. They were trying to do it quietly, however artist J Scott Campbell released this information to the public at large. Well maybe not at large, but the type of people who read websites like Unleash the Fanboy. The other statement Campbell made is that Disney no longer wants sexualized/provocative images of Leia being produced. I applaud and am fine with one of these directions, while I am leery of the other.
If Disney/Marvel were working to ensure a gender equality of their current properties; and this was the catalyst of the decision to cease production on slave/prisoner Leia merchandise that would be fine. But that is not the case. Gamorra actions figures are hard to come by, as are Black Widows. Hell her cool bike moment from Age of Ultron, was a Captain America play set.
This is a move to avoid controversy. There were reports of upset parents in Toy Stores when they saw Star Wars Black Leia and it made them think of S&M. I’d like to point out the word “Slave” does not appear in Return of the Jedi. Leia is Jabba’s prisoner, and as a prisoner she get a new outfit. Leia always gets a new outfit. When she arrives at the Rebel Staging Location for the assault of the second Death Star, when she arrives on Endor and is captured by the Ewoks, and then she changes back for the final battle. And Carrie Fisher thinks this is stupid as well. She even volunteers what parents can tell their kids about the toy. “The father who flipped out about it“What am I going to tell my kid about why she’s in that outfit?” Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage.”
Cairre Fisher’s body is on display with the duds she gets from Jabba, but it is a desert planet so the bikini look is not unthinkable, and at no point is a sexual reference made about her. A woman’s body is not sexual in and of itself. He-Man wore a loin cloth and nothing else, do we sexualize his flesh? It is worth noting Leia frees herself from Jabba, using the very chain used to hold her prisoner.
Star Wars has a problem with female representation, without a doubt. You have two women with speaking roles and some dancers killed for Jabba’s amusement in Return of the Jedi. The gender issue is not with what they wear. A stronger costume/outfit issue is present in the Clone Wars Cartoon. Male Jedi are fully covered and often wearing armor. Jedi Females seem to need to bare mid-rift.
Discontinuing Leia Tatoooine Prisoner merchandise has had one effect, and it will be the only one. Like any discontinued collectible the value of these items will rise and more people will seek them out. I know I have. I will never again pass over a cheap version of this Leia because it will simply become more rare. We have created a taboo, and that never solves a problem.
M.R. Gott rocks Leia’s gold bikini like no one else.