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Brian Wood, on Leia Organa the X-Wing Pilot


I simply applied logic to the situation: If we, here, learn to drive at age 16, why wouldn’t someone in Star Wars learn how to fly as a coming of age thing? Luke did, as a farm boy. Wedge did, working his parent’s gas station. Why not Leia, a daughter of privilege? She can handle firearms, she basically takes over her own escape from the Death Star. She survives torture. She BEATS torture, actually. Later we see her on speeder bikes, fixing the Falcon, shooting more dudes, and so on. It’s almost insulting to suggest she can’t fly an X-Wing, the Rebellion’s fighter of choice.Brian Wood, writer of Dark Horse Comics’ latest Star Wars title, Star Wars, which aims to rewrite the Star Wars saga as if An New Hope was the only source material.

I suppose one could say that as a major leader of the Rebellion, she was too valuable to risk her life in near-suicidal raids on major Imperial bases like the assault on the Death Star… but even that breaks down when you consider that she was down on Endor with the rest of the raiding party. And hey, we’ve got plenty of fictional precedent for the leaders of small groups of fighters saddling up with their crew, from President Bill Pullman in Independence Day to Admiral Adama in Battlestar Galactica. And now that we know there were female X-Wing pilots… The conclusion seems unavoidable.

(via GeekMom.)

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  • http://zadl.org/ Captain ZADL

    She served as co-pilot on the Falcon when Luke and Han were blowing up Tie-Fighters during their escape from the Death Star. If she can fly the Falcon, she can fly a fighter, I says.

  • http://technicalluddite.com/ Hannele Kormano

    Personally, I’m much more interested in Aaron Diaz’s rewritten prequels (http://dresdencodak.tumblr.com/post/22782364818/here-are-some-common-questions-i-get-about-star), but who knows how many years away that still is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.wrestler Brian Wrestler

    would the helmet fit over those hair buns?

  • http://twitter.com/thatfilmgirl Nat

    Okay wait, what is this? New Star Wars Comics? I’m so confused…

  • Dave Autzen

    She flew a Y-Wing in “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” novel.

  • http://zadl.org/ Captain ZADL

    I had forgotten that book! Now I need to dig out my ancient copy and read it again! Thanks!

  • Gemma Lynn

    I’ve been a semi-fanatical Star Wars fan since the mid-90s, when I was barely a teenager. I read every EU book, right up until they killed off…er, my favorite character. I had a Star Wars website, I wrote Star Wars fan fiction, I transcribed Star Wars scores for violin, I won every Star Wars trivia game. I was hard core. I’m also a female, and a fairly vocal feminist. I can’t get behind this one.

    Leia leading a covert wet team is completely out of character. In every piece of canonical EU whatever out there (actually I haven’t read the Legacy of the Force stuff, maybe it changes), Leia uses force as a last resort, always. She will use force when necessary, as is amply demonstrated throughout the original trilogy and the EU, but that’s not her first course. She’s the diplomat, she’s the peacemaker, she’s the one desperately holding on to any possibility that whatever the problem is, force doesn’t need to be the solution. That’s why she stayed in the Imperial senate for so long, that’s how the Rebellion became successful, and that’s why she ended up leading the New Republic (and eventually stepping down). That’s even where her Jedi skills are most apparent, and what makes her relationship with Han so compelling.

    The way the discussion has been framed makes it seem like it’s about ability (“Of course Leia would be able to pilot an X-Wing”) or gender (“It’s not like women don’t already pilot X-Wings”), both of which *completely miss the point*. Ability isn’t relevant; gender isn’t relevant. It would never have occurred to me that Leia would be unable to pilot an X-Wing; but why would she join a squadron? That’s not who she is, as a character. Not as a female; as a person.

    Star Wars has no shortage of women who are warriors first: Ysanne Isard, Mara Jade, Callista, Teneniel Djo and the rest of the witches of Dathomir, Jaina freaking Solo (Leia’s daughter, for crying out loud, who *does* end up leading a squadron of X-Wings), and so on. There’s no need to shoehorn an entirely new identity into an already established and well-beloved character. It’s lazy, and disrespectful of the material and the fans. In that interview the author brings up the “controversy” himself, and turns it into this gendered feminist THING. It comes across as pandering for page views and purchases and airtime. Screw him.

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, which of the two seems more likely to have had access to flight equipment and instruction?

    A) The rich daughter of a senator and founder of the rebellion.
    or
    B) A poor farm boy in the middle of the desert.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you about the nonsense of a squadron leader Leia given her character, your entire argumentation sounds right to me. But in Susana’s post, both the author and Susana only mention the fighter-driving ability, meaning that Leia could know how to fly and that it shouldn’t seem weird. And that’s true in my opinion : as Captain ZADL said, she knew how to fly the Falcon, why wouldn’t she had learnt X-wing driving in one moment in her life, maybe just to be among her fellow rebels and see what they do in their everyday fight…

    I see no clue about the fact that she would be a squadron leader in the comic. But maybe you know something more about this project that I don’t, and if that’s the case well you’re the more right : that would be a character bending.

  • Life Lessons

    I want to read this comic now.

  • Gemma Lynn

    You’re right, it’s not clear in this article nor the one from Wired what her position in the squadron would be. Check out the source interview: http://www.newsarama.com/comics/galaxy-far-away-1-star-wars-wood.html:

    “Nrama: The advance solicits for this series have fans salivating, especially in #2 where it’s mentioned Leia is forming a “stealth squadron.” What can you tell us about Leia and her plans in this series?

    Wood: As far as her stealth squadron, yeah, you can get a great look at their black pilot suits on the cover to #2. This is related to their search for a new home world to build a base on, and the problems they face with security leaks, spies, and ambushes. Leia does what she needs to do to get the job done.”

    Really, her position in the squadron doesn’t matter that much to me either; just the idea that this would be her solution to the problem. We already know she can expertly pilot multiple crafts, we already know she can handle a blaster or a lightsaber or a big chain or whatever she happens to find handy in a fight. Her ability to get the job done was never up for debate, which is why the “It’s almost insulting to suggest she can’t fly an X-Wing” comment smacks of pandering (and to some extent, carpetbagging). Nobody was suggesting that, and the presumption of the author, coming in to fix some defect in the character or in the fanbase, *is* insulting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Duck-Linsenmayer/100001495960900 Duck Linsenmayer

    for whats its worth.. Leia piloted an x wing in the first SW novel, “splinter of a minds eye”

  • OdinsEye

    That is not canon.

  • John Wao

    Makes perfect sense to me.

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    Why would she be hanging out on Yavin 4 during the attack on the Death Star? They couldn’t have used another pilot? Was it safer to stay on the moon that was about to get blown up? Good job using A New Hope as if it was the only source material.