Princess Leia Organa could have been written as the quintessential damsel in distress type, but George Lucas knew that she’d make for a far more interesting character if she was rough, tough, and able to take care of herself. Despite her female empowerment, Leia was also a gentle and kind romantic at heart, especially when it came to her relationship with Han Solo.
Throughout the original Star Wars trilogy, Leia was actively involved in what went on and wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in order to win. Here are ten times Leia was an absolute and total badass who deserves her status as one of sci-fi’s most beloved female heroines.
10 She Went After Boba Fett
After Han Solo was captured by Darth Vader and Boba Fett on Bespin, the latter was allowed to take his frozen body back to Jabba the Hutt to collect payment on a bounty. Meanwhile, Lando Calrissian had enough of Vader’s treachery and secretly ordered his security personnel to detain the stormtrooper contingent escorting Leia to his shuttle.
Leia took the opportunity to go after one of the most lethal bounty hunters in the galaxy along with Chewie and Lando before he could take off. Sadly, they were unable to make it past stormtrooper reinforcements quick enough to catch Fett’s Slave-1 spacecraft before it departed the planet.
9 She Faced Down Darth Vader
Shortly after taking possession of secret plans for the Empire’s brand new Death Star superweapon, Leia’s Tantive IV cruiser was overtaken by a Star Destroyer and boarded by a squad of stormtroopers. Princess Leia was captured shortly after depositing the secret plans into R2-D2.
When the time came to face down the dreaded Dark Lord of the Sith, Leia did so with no fear in her eyes. She kept her head high and spoke defiantly in an attempt to shake him off her tail, but Vader wasn’t so easily fooled.
8 She Faked Out Stormtroopers
After trying to gain entrance to the shield generator guarding the second Death Star over the forest moon of Endor, Leia took a blaster shot in the arm from a stormtrooper. It was enough to distract a worried Han Solo who rushed to her side, unaware that the squad was closing in behind him.
Leia brandished a pistol to Han who smiled and proclaimed, “I love you,” to which she replied, “I know,” a parallel of their timeless quotable scene in The Empire Strikes Back. Han dove out of the way and Leia opened fire, taking down several troopers and putting a stop to their progress.
7 She Drove A Mean Speeder Bike
Leia wasn’t just an excellent diplomat and a skilled soldier. She was also quite an accomplished speaker bike pilot. After their position was given away thanks to an unfortunate misstep by Han Solo, two stormtroopers attempted to flee and warn the main base.
She quickly jumped on a speeder bike with Luke in the backseat and took off through the twisted forests of Endor, narrowly avoiding a collision long enough for Luke to commandeer another speeder and level the playing field.
6 She Rescued Luke
After being lured to Cloud City by a disturbing Force vision, Luke Skywalker found himself face-to-face with the dreaded Darth Vader who was all too happy to test his new Jedi skills. Vader toyed with Luke long enough in an attempt to get him to release his anger, but Luke refused.
In the end, Vader underestimated Luke’s powers, but he ultimately won the fight by slicing Luke’s hand off at the wrist. Unwilling to join his father, he let himself fall down a ventilation shaft and ended up outside of the floating city. Desperate and near death, he called out to Leia who turned the Millennium Falcon around to save him, despite a squadron of deadly TIE fighters in hot pursuit.
5 She Negotiated Aggressively
After Han Solo was taken to the infamous gangster Jabba the Hutt and hung on his wall like a trophy, Luke, Leia and Lando devised a plan to spring him from the gangster’s clutches. Part of the plan involved Leia getting Chewbacca in through the front door by posing as the bounty hunter Boussh after the real one was killed by the Black Sun syndicate.
To properly sell herself as the Ubese bounty hunter, Leia entered into some rather aggressive negotiations with Jabba the Hutt by threatening to lob a thermal detonator at him unless he paid her substantially more than the bounty’s asking price. Jabba found Boussh’s boldness admirable and agreed to pay a slightly lower fee.
4 She Insulted Grand Moff Tarkin
Leia might have had some choice words for Darth Vader, but she was far more venomous towards Grand Moff Tarkin. At the time, Tarkin held much more power than Vader did, at least in official terms, which makes this move all the more badass.
After being brought to Tarkin, Leia proclaimed that she could smell his “foul stench” as soon as she was brought on board. Though Tarkin seemed amused, it’s highly likely that he didn’t appreciate a mere diplomat talking down to him in this manner, which made his destruction of Alderaan undoubtedly more sweet.
3 She Tamed Han Solo
Princess Leia was never going to find comfort and companionship with a political delegate like the kind she was used to rubbing shoulders with. She was far too wild, opinionated, and (pun intended) rebellious for that. No, Leia was going to need someone at least half as extroverted as herself.
She got more than she bargained for with the dashing Han Solo, a conniving smuggler who spent most of his days in the company of the most nefarious and irredeemable scum the galaxy had on the sole of its boot. Yet, after lots of arguing, dodging, and jabbing, the two found love in each other’s arms.
2 She Led Her Own Rescue
George Lucas took the damsel in distress rescue stereotype of 1950s serials and flipped it entirely on its head in the original Star Wars. Dashing Han Solo, his trusty sidekick Chewbacca and handsome young Luke Skywalker boldly ventured into the bowels of the massive Death Star to rescue the fair Princess from the clutches of the evil Darth Vader.
Little did they know that Leia would end up leading the rescue after the two botched it in the middle of the prison control room. With no options left and stormtroopers pouring in en masse, Leia shot out the garbage chute and ordered them all to dive in. It wasn’t the most glorious rescue, but at least it worked.
1 She Killed Jabba The Hutt
After her cover as the bounty hunter Boussh was blown, Leia found herself at the mercy of the vulgar and repugnant Jabba the Hutt who had more than a few plans for his new trophy. He dressed her in slave girl garb, put a collar around her neck, and made her his plaything, but she wasn’t about to stay that way.
At the Pit of Carkoon, Luke Skywalker turned the tables on his executioners and started a fight along with Lando, Chewie, and Han. Not willing to sit out, Leia took the opportunity to grab her own collar chains and sling them around Jabba’s neck, strangling him to death and putting an end to one of the most ruthless criminals in the galaxy.
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