The First Princess That Mattered

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Leia was the first princess who mattered to me.

Carrie Fisher — actress, feminist, author and truth-teller about living with mental illness — was not the “Star Wars” character she played. But to a girl growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, her portrayal of a brave, take-charge leader with a biting wit was unforgettable. I can’t imagine anyone else ripping Grand Moff Tarkin (“I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board.”), matching fast-talking Han Solo line for line (“Captain, being held by you isn’t quite enough to get me excited.”), and choking Jabba the Hut dead with the very chain he used to keep Leia captive.

Luke got the lightsaber, but Princess Leia was the character I wanted to be. Continue reading

Friday Favorite: Young Obi-Wan Kenobi

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

If you’re ever in the mood to start an argument, try telling an adult Star Wars fan that the prequels have some redeeming value. No one wants to hear it, and you can count me among the hardcore Star Wars fans who will not be buying a ticket for the re-release of “The Phantom Menace” in 3-D today. (For a longer analysis of that movie’s impact, check out my article on the CNN.com Geek Out! blog.)

But for all my hard feelings about Episodes I-III, I have to admit that George Lucas got one thing right: casting Ewan McGregor as young Obi-Wan Kenobi. Continue reading

The Star Wars Divide: A Tale of Two Costumes

Parents try, with varying degrees of success, to shape our kids’ pop culture tastes. For many a geek mom and dad, this extends to Halloween — or as I like to call it, a day of nationally sanctioned cosplay.

Of course, even the gentlest suggestion is a form of projecting. (“What’s not to like about this Wolverine costume?”) But even if they bite, it’s only a matter of time before they start, you know, thinking for themselves. Continue reading

Geek Girl We ♥: Ashley Eckstein of Her Universe

Ashley and Ahsoka

Actress and designer Ashley Eckstein is living the dream of every Star Wars fangirl. As the voice of Anakin Skywalker’s scrappy apprentice Ahsoka Tano on the Cartoon Network series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, she’s become a part of sci-fi history. But even as a member of a legendary franchise, Eckstein encountered an all-too-common problem for female geeks: a lack of Star Wars items for women in retail stores. Sure, one could make do with a boxy tee made for a man, but that shouldn’t be a woman’s only option. Continue reading