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Princess Leia (Ewok Village)

SWVI: Return of the Jedi
by yo go re

This Leia walked so Dany could run.

After a battle with Imperial scout troopers, Leia encountered a strange, furry being - an Ewok. He took her to his village where she would remain until she and Han led a ground assault on an Imperial shield generator.

Imagine, if you will, being so good and reliable at something that everyone just assumes you're going to be "on" all the time. If they take it easy for a while, they know you'll be there to pick up the slack. They know you're not going to be the one to skip work, so it'll be fine if they take the day off; if they let some errors through, you'll catch them and correct them; if they don't worry about the details of a project, you will, and it won't fall apart. Basically, a quiet competence that makes everyone rely on you without ever realizing they're doing it, and thesefore never recognizng the unending amount of work you do to hold the world together. All I'm saying is, it absolutely makes sense that when Leia got separated from the rest of the Rebellion on Endor, she'd take advantage of the first actual vacation she's probably ever had in her whole life and immediately go full native.

If you think we're just making stuff up, consider: being with the Ewoks is literally the only time in the entire franchise Leia lets her hair down. Well, the films, at least: Shadows of the Empire did have that whole sequence where she's all hornt up by Xizor's magic lizard biology so she excuses herself to take a long, hot soak in the tub, but I don't think that counts. Point is, "letting your hair down" is a metaphor for finally relaxing, but film being a visual medium, we can take Leia literally doing that as a figurative representation of what's going on internally. She went straight from heir to the throne of an entire world to major head of the Rebellion without a pause, so hanging with the Ewoks is almost assuredly the first time she hasn't had to be directly in charge of something in decades. (It was probably also her first opportunity to be the tallest person in the room.)

The dress she wears was created from chamois, a very soft leather that, on Earth, is made from the skin of an Alpine goat. We know Endor has similar creatures (remember when they jammed one on a stick to lure Chewbacca into a big net trap?), and the Ewoks use animal hides both for their hoods and their hang gliders, so it's no surprise they'd have enough of the stuff laying around. No, what's odd is that there would be a human-sized dress made of it. Did one of the Ewoks take her measurements and stitch it together for her? Did she make it herself? And where did the white shirt worn under the dress come from? It's not part of the uniform she was wearing before going to the village. The toy's skirt is done with several long splits up the front; the one on the right leg is part of the actual costume, the one on the left is not; in fact, the left side of the costume has a second layer over the first, so it really wouldn't expose any leg on that side!

The color of the dress feels a bit off. In the film, it appears to be a warm tan shade, and previous toys of her have followed suit. This one is a bit cooler, closer to grey, near enough that you may not notice the change at first. Maybe they were thinking her vibrant skin would make the hue appear to shift up a little? And that if they did it the color it's been before, we'd all see it as too pink and get upset? It's not that this is wrong, per se, it's just more of a "night scene" shade than "default" shade.

The first few Black Series Leia likenesses were rough, but these days Hasbro has it under control. Apparently Carrie Fisher felt awkward in this costume, with the dress and the big hair making her feel like a Barbie doll. Interestingly, they've sculpted the hair a bit bigger than it should be: if you look at a screenshot where she's viewed from the side, you can see how much farther the hair sticks up on top of her head than in reality. Though honestly, that may be an artistic choice to keep the toy from looking visually stunted.

Leia moves like all the Black Series characters do: swivel/hinge ankles, swivel/hinge knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, balljointed waist, swivel/hinge wrists (with the right hand going up and down, and the left hand going side-to-side), swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a barbell neck that honestly is going to be doing nearly nothing thanks to her long, thick hair. Considering all she did while wearing this outfit was hug Han and invent stories about her mother on the spot when questioned by Luke, that's more than she's likely to need. The figure is only about 4¼" tall, since Carrie was so tiny.

The toy comes with two accessories, and neither of them makes a ton of sense. First there's a blaster, but it's the wrong one - this is the Episode 4 one, but she was using a different gun by the time she made it to Endor. Secondly is a spear, which originally came with the Ewok they made a few years ago [Teebo --ed.], but also isn't something she used in the movie. Really, there aren't any accessories she should have, but that would make for a boring toy. Why not throw us some empty trooper helmets to make drums? Maybe they thought the spear imcluded in the 1998 Leia/Wicket two-pack was supposed to be hers, and included this as an homage?

If you watch the Forces of Destiny episode "Ewok Escape," you'll see that the dress was a guft from the Ewoks, and the first thing she did after putting it on was ask for a spear, so maybe this toy is smarter about its origins than we are. The first time this outfit got a toy, in 1997, it had a weird, splay-footed pose that meant it could barely stand; the second time, softgoods dress and rooted hair. Leia's Ewok gown hasn't had a lot of plastic representation, but this one is by far the best. The only thing we'd change is the coloration.

-- 02/25/23

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