We all remember this scene from A New Hope in which Vader wags his finger at Princess Leia, not least because it’s spawned a meme or two; it’s also one of the few altercations between the pair, and one of the many moments in which Leia holds her ground while staring down the imminent dangers of kidnapping and potential execution. So it’s pretty disappointing to see Target selling a version of this shirt for boys featuring Luke photoshopped into Leia’s place, given that he wasn’t even in this scene. He was busy whining about power converters or something.
Daine Jir’s background appearance has also been replaced with a couple of stormtroopers, which seems intended to draw the focus towards Vader in the shot. It makes sense that this shirt would feature Vader prominently, since it’s a Vader-themed shirt. In the original shot, Jir’s face is distracting, so replacing him with masked figures makes sense from a composition standpoint. This way, all of the characters in the scene besides Vader are wearing white, which allows the eye to naturally be drawn to his figure. However, I can’t discern any aesthetic or design-inspired reason to replace Leia with Luke here … other than the obvious depressing explanation.
I guess we have to conclude that the marketing and design team behind this shirt thought that since the product is “for boys,” it can’t have a female character appear on it, even though she’s not even in the center of the picture. So the designers unnecessarily created extra photoshop work for themselves, for no reason other than to remove Leia’s existence from a scene that only Leia could logically appear in. Why erase the history of one of the most popular movies ever? It’s not only sexist, it’s also just silly, and it sets a depressing precedent for the young boys wearing this shirt.
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