Whether it be Princess Leia Organa, Padme Amidala, Rey, Jyn Erso, or Ahsoka, there's certainly no shortage of powerful women in the Star Wars universe, inspiring generations of women in ways other franchises haven't. In hopes of shedding a light on just how large of an impact the franchise has had on female fans, filmmaker Annalise Ophelian has been making Looking for Leia, a documentary unaffiliated with Lucasfilm, that aims to showcase just how much the saga has changed the world for its massive following of female fans.
To ensuere the project gets completed, Ophelian sought finances through Kickstarter, which currently has raised over $14,000 of its $25,000 goal.
When speaking with CBR, Ophelian revealed her personal experiences with the franchise and how it shaped who she has become.
"In the ‘70s, movies stayed in the theater a bit longer than they do today! I went back and saw it basically every week for the next summer and was Princess Leia the Halloween that happened in-between," the filmmaker explained. "My mom made me a Princess Leia costume out of our curtains. I was hooked from the very beginning."
She continued, "There was a sweet spot around adventure and leaving your home to go and find something broader, and there was something relational in the characters that I was just compelled by. Something about this group of people coming together even in the midst of different personalities and conflicts to go on this quest. All the basic hero’s journey stuff. It completely struck a chord and I was captivated by it, and maintained a steady fandom from there."
Although many different stories throughout history have featured "princesses," none of them were quite like Princess Leia.
"I think on a story level, while it might not have seemed as obvious at the time, when I look back at the influence of having this sort of bossy strong woman in leadership, Princess Leia gave me a lot of permission to be a bossy girl," Ophelian confessed. "We don’t use language of being assertive or being a leader with girls, we call them bossy. In the ‘80s I was a bossy kid and it was nice that I could see that in a heroine that was central to the franchise."
The filmmaker revealed that one of the biggest revelations for her was the differences in generation, explaining, "It’s interesting to see one of the biggest differences of the generational points is that the newer generation of fans have so many more women to connect to, so much more diversity in character to connect to, than those of us of the original trilogy did where we had 1.5 women if you count Mon Mothma’s rare appearances, and really no representation of folks of color besides Lando. We don’t count aliens as people of color, which is an important point I feel like I’m always having to make.
Ophelian praised, "The newer generation that’s really connected with the prequels, but also especially with the animation and these new films, are also connecting with projections of themselves."