May the Force Be With Us: The Women of Star Wars
With this week’s highly anticipated release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we’re celebrating and studying up on our favorite heroines from the Star Wars universe.
1. Princess Leia
With brains, beauty, and the biting sarcasm only a Carrie Fisher performance could tease out, Princess Leia steals every scene of the original Star Wars movie trilogy. In the film series, we see her cunningly master two roles – an Imperial Senator and an agent of the Rebellion. Not only is she a perfect shot with a blaster in a pinch, she is also a gifted strategist, leading major military ground and air strikes against the Empire in the original trilogy films, before eventually serving as a General of the Resistance in The Force Awakens.
While Leia is certainly a celebrated figure in the film series, we get an even cooler storyline for her in the expanded universe books and comics. She becomes Chief of State of the New Republic and a Jedi Master (Leia is only portrayed as force-sensitive in the films). And, in both the film storyline and the EU storyline, Leia has to deal with a good-for-nothing kid that turns to the Dark Side of the Force (as if she didn’t have enough to deal with). If you’re interested in more of Leia’s backstory and adventures (and you are not, in fact, a scruffy-looking nerf herder) give these books a read!
The breakout star of The Force Awakens and the Star Wars film franchise reboot, Rey captured our hearts from her first few moments on the big screen. Her character is the most similar to Luke’s from the original film trilogy – a young orphan on a desert planet, a skilled pilot, on a journey to aid the Rebellion (later, the Resistance) against the Empire (later, the First Order) as a Jedi Knight.
Before the film’s debut, the teaser trailers showed us a bit of Rey, but we saw Poe piloting the X-wing, and Finn wielding a lightsaber. It was tough to predict how Rey would fit into the larger story. Little did any of us know, the next time we saw Rey she would be piloting the Millennium Falcon, saving the Resistance from total destruction, learning the ways of the Force, brandishing a lightsaber, and finding long-lost Jedi Master Luke Skywalker! We’re all on the edge of our seats to see the next step in Rey’s journey in Episode VIII. Until then – here are some great books to tide you over.
3. Mara Jade
Mara Jade originates from the Legends novels of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and was created by author Timothy Zahn. Fan favorite Jade is a richly illustrated character in the novels, sarcastic and cunning, with a fascinating story arc.
She is impressively skilled, but flawed – she’s a smuggler, once an agent for Emperor Palpatine, and she seeks to kill Luke Skywalker to avenge Palpatine’s death. In the events of Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy, Jade ultimately adapts a begrudging respect for Skywalker that later turns to love. Jade’s turn against the Empire and her journey to become a Jedi Master are covered in several Legends books and comics. Here’s to hoping Mara may have something to do with Rey’s secret parentage…better do a little research, just in case!
4. Ahsoka Tano
Fan favorite and critically hailed as one of the stronger female characters in the Star Wars universe, Ahsoka Tano is Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan apprentice in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series and an operative of the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars: Rebels. Her relationship with Anakin, and later, Darth Vader, give the storyline from the prequel film trilogy greater depth. A skilled warrior, Ahsoka proves to be a worthy adversary to Darth Vader, which contributes to her popularity.
The recently published novel Star Wars: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston explores the time period between Ahsoka departing the Jedi Order near the end of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and before she appears as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Catch Clone Wars and Rebels on your next TV binge-a-thon, and dive into these reads in the meantime.
5. Jyn Erso
Ok, so we don’t know much about this character, but we already love Jyn Erso. Why? Because, as she so rightly explains in the trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, rebellions are built on hope. And we certainly hope this character lives up to all of our expectations as a butt-kicking leading lady and agent of the Rebellion. A former criminal, Erso is recruited by Mon Mothma on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. In theaters Friday, Rogue One will take place between Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: A New Hope.
Out now, Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel sets the stage for Rogue One, with the backstory of Galen Erso – Jyn’s father and the scientist behind the Death Star’s deadly technology.Don’t miss the novelization of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, coming out on December 20th!