EDIT: Elliott posted a rebuttal to this post! You can find it HERE.
On November 20th, Elliott Serrano of RedEye posted the following on Facebook:
And here is the biggest problem I have with Star Wars in a nutshell:
Luke Skywalker sees Princess Leia for the first time, falls in love and crosses a galaxy to save her.
He hires Han Solo, a mercenary who has to be convinced to help rescue Leia from being executed.
Of course, since Han is the "bad boy" Leia falls in love with him.
Luke is revealed to be her brother.
Han gets the girl while Luke gets to stare at the ghost of his dead father who has somehow gotten younger and has a creepy stalker-stare.
Talk about unfair.
Elliott is a friend of mine, and a fantastic geek journalist. With the above argument, he takes the same stance as many "nice guy" sympathizers... and I couldn't disagree with him more.
I love Han Solo. I love Leia Organa. Most importantly, I love them as a pair. I challenged Elliott to blog it out. He ignored me, but I'm sharing my thoughts anyway.
I have five main issues with Elliott's argument. They enter all sorts of hot-button territory, including feminism, nice guys, and storytelling structure. Allow me to break my points down:
1. Luke's attraction to a pretty hologram is NOT love. Seeing Leia that first time was a huge moment for Luke. Of COURSE it was! Sure, her beauty inspired lust (ew). More importantly, though, think of the other things Luke wanted. He yearned to leave home. He wished to become a pilot, see the stars, and have an adventure. Leia's plea was his ticket to ALL of that. In his head, she was the answer to every problem he had. If anything is "unfair," it's putting that kind of pressure on another human- a stranger, even!
2. Women aren't trophies. Yes, Luke DID fly across the galaxy. Yes, he DID put himself in danger, and was more willing to do so than Han. Does this mean he was owed a girlfriend? No. No, no, no. Even if Luke and Leia weren't related- even if Luke were eligible- he still doesn't get the princess by default. People need to stop having that expectation about other humans. You know what a more appropriate prize is for blowing up the Death Star? A medal, which the heroes got. ...Well, except for Chewbacca. :(
3. Leia and Han are actually compatible. Rumor has it that Han ended up with Leia because moviegoers liked his character more. While I disagree with that style of script writing, it doesn't matter; Solo and the Princess actually work. Leia is mouthy. She appeared on screen, challenged her captors, then mocked her rescuers. She was unimpressed by her knights in Stormtrooper armor. The only person that had more sass than Leia was Han. Sure, they spent a lot of Star Wars antagonizing each other, but isn't that the classic love story? The boy who pulls the little girl's pigtails (or hair buns, in this case) actually digs her. They match each other's wit. It's adorable.
4. Luke isn't the perfect nice guy, either. I don't have a lot of sympathy for Luke when it comes to the ladies. I forgive the kid for being an immature whiner. Ep. IV Luke had a lot to learn. However, he was NOT a supportive bro. When Han asked, "You think a Princess and a guy like me-?" Luke immediately sniped, "NO." Luke was a possessive child about it. He wasn't ready for a relationship with anyone. Dude needed to be a grown-up.
5. Coming-of-age protagonists don't find romantic love. Heroes in this particular genre gain a lot- maturity, wisdom, and a place in society. Could Luke really have found all that if his hologram princess fantasy worked out? I doubt it. Cheers to A New Hope for leaving "Luke finds his sexual identity" out of the script. Instead, he got wisdom and purpose. He's a better character for it.
BONUS: The Expanded Universe! This isn't relevant to Elliott's post, but there's more to Star Wars than the films. A lower level of canon exists (C-canon, to be exact) where Luke finds love. In this universe, Skywalker gets an incredible, complex partner in Mara Jade. Leia and Han's relationship doesn't work out for some time. When things finally settle for them, conflict rises between their children. My point in bringing up the Expanded Universe is this- the story after Return of the Jedi spans decades. Why get caught up in the very first love triangle Star Wars ever had to offer?
...So, there you have it. I just got WAY into an argument that was probably resolved before I was born. If Elliott wants to rebut, he can, but I'm calm now. Besides, nobody's changing my mind!
May the Force be with you, gentle reader. ...unless you're a scoundrel who doesn't believe in that sort of thing. ;)
NEXT TIME: Chicago TARDIS, followed by a whole batch of Doctor interviews. ...Yes, THE Doctor!
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