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Feature
The 30 Greatest Star Wars Characters
From Admiral Ackbar to... Yoda - we count down Lucas' best creations

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The 30 Greatest Star Wars Characters | 10. Princess Leia
10. Princess Leia

If not for Princess Leia, Star Wars would be a mainstay of gay culture. Consider the two approximately male, co-dependent droids, one of them overtly camp; opposites-attract couple Han and Luke, pairing cynicism and naivety, Han luring Luke away from his conservative older 'mentor'; and S&M pair Vader and the Emperor. Something had to be done. Lucas needed to set his characters on the straight and narrow and convince us that this was family entertainment. He needed, somewhat ironically, a beard.

What he ended up with (one suspects, almost in spite of himself) is one of science-fiction's best female characters. Impatient, opinionated and completely self-assured, Princess Leia Organa is often dismissed as bossy. But she is the boss. She is a princess, senator and leader of the Rebel Alliance; in the Extended Universe, she's a key architect of the New Republic, as well as being instrumental in forging the alliance with the Ewoks that proves decisive in the battle for Endor.

If she is occasionally reduced to the role of bikini-clad slave or handwringing observer, the ever-spiky Carrie Fisher ensures that Leia is never a snivelling damsel. "Even though she gets captured," says Lucas of Leia, "she is very capable of taking care of herself. The guys are the ones who are fumbling around in trouble." She's handy with a blaster or, when necessary, a slave chain, so one suspects that, had Obi-Wan handed her a lightsaber and sent her after Vader, the saga would have finished by Cloud City.

Most fans fell for her at first sight when, a vision of purity in white, she saved the Rebellion by dispatching Artoo on his mission, shot (at) a few stormtroopers and went toe-to-toe with the looming Vader, without ever losing her cool. And her slave-girl costume in Jedi directly caused the sexual awakening of an entire generation (ask Ross Geller in Friends if you don't believe us).

As time's passed, her role has been sidelined, perhaps because even the best breakfast-pastry hairdos get a little stale. The naysayers focus on the high-handedness, that messy incest thing (it was just two fairly chaste kisses! She didn't know!). But Leia's a worthy cinema crush, a credit to her gender and an essential part of the Star Wars universe. No wonder she was able to steal her brother's man... HELEN O'HARA

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Have Your Say
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Your Comments

1 WTF?
AS usual this list is screwy, how does Portmans stroppy bitch beat Windu? Windu chopped off Jango Fetts head and he gets stepped over by a fucking biker scout? A princess? Some red draped security guard from the Death Star? Probaly the greatest JEDI ever, and you miscreants piss on his eternal memory. Fuck all y' all ! More

Posted by DAVIDK on Wednesday June 19, 2013, 13:09

2
Dannybohy, if you stopped reading Empire in the 90s, what you still doing here? My Name is Legion, it's not the 30 most important characters but the 30 greatest characters! Sheesh! More

Posted by zeech1941 on Wednesday November 7, 2012, 19:18

3
Dannybohy, if you stopped reading Empire in the 90s, what you still doing here? My Name is Legion, it's not the 30 most important characters but the 30 greatest characters! Sheesh! More

Posted by zeech1941 on Wednesday November 7, 2012, 18:23

4 RE:
Empire haven't got a clue. This is exactly why I stopped buying the magazine religiously like i did in the mid 90s!, the fecking stupids lists!! everybody likes a list, but every damn issue and always complete and utter shite. More

Posted by Dannybohy on Wednesday November 7, 2012, 14:41

5
Yoda 'species indeterminate?' actually Yoda is a Whyll. Star wars.com says so? It's just a shame he never got to win a light saber fight, the chance to name a DVD chapter 'The Triumph ofvthe Whyll ' would have been hard to resist More

Posted by PaoloCorleone on Monday November 5, 2012, 14:37

6 Bad Mother Fucka
Mace Windu no 29??? Biatch please... More

Posted by JohnMcClane81 on Saturday November 3, 2012, 20:58

7 The Pilots
Where is Wedge Antilles, he survived both Deathstar runs. Where is Biggs Darklighter, he died that we might live. More

Posted by Avoid on Saturday November 3, 2012, 11:42

8 Interesting point by Legion!
Boba Fette is a cool character but Luke should surely be above him. Only other change would be Darth Vader at number 1. More

Posted by guysalisbury on Friday November 2, 2012, 13:30

9 Sam Jackson is great, but Mace Windu isn't
Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Padme Amidala and Count Dooku were some of the worst written, one dimensional, no-depth characters ever to grace the big screen, they were definitely not great creations and should not be included in this list. More

Posted by Jamie_M on Friday November 2, 2012, 13:20

10
Oh yeah forgot too say...fck luke Skywalker, Han is the man More

Posted by UncleFknBully on Friday November 2, 2012, 11:58

11
Wtf...where is Salacious B.Crumb? More

Posted by UncleFknBully on Friday November 2, 2012, 11:55

12
Congratulations Empire on once again completely missing the point when it comes to what made Star Wars work. Luke Skywalker is the most important character. Why? Because he represents us, our longing to be somebody, to do something important, to escape from the mundane and grow as an individual. The binary sunset scene alone pisses all over the entire prequel trilogy. Yet you place him 7th, below Boba Fett! A nothing character when you actually look past all the fanboy shite. You didn't get it thirteen years ago, and you still don't get it now. More

Posted by My name is Legion on Friday November 2, 2012, 02:46

13 Excellent List
I agree with this list almost 100%, although I wouldn't have included some of the lame, one-dimensional prequel pseudo-characters like Mace Windu. (Actually, with the exception of Darth Maul, I probably would've left the prequels out entirely. Those movies, after all, don't feature characters so much as merchandising opportunities.) In Windu's place I would've added Grand Moff Tarkin, somewhere higher on the list. More

Posted by intelandroid on Thursday November 1, 2012, 23:45


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