The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

November 5, 2012

How women can save the 'Star Wars' franchise

If you're a young girl watching "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope," as I once was a long time ago in a state far, far away, you might not know that you're watching something unusual. You might not know that, over three movies, George Lucas and company didn't just create the ultimate fanboy surrogate in Luke Skywalker, but they also told a story about the rarest of action movie creatures: a woman with a job and political principles, who was more competent and important than either of the two men who showed up to rescue her, and who fell in love with a guy who changed to be with her, rather than the other way around.

Princess Leia is one of the original "Star Wars" trilogy's strongest legacies. And as Disney reboots the franchise, starting with Episode VII, it should recognize that women, as much as farmboys from Tatooine with a penchant for bullseying womp rats, are "Star Wars' " secret weapon.

"The Star Wars Expanded Universe" — the umbrella name given to the licensed novels, games, graphic novels and comics that followed the movies and are generally treated as if they are an official part of the story's continuity — has pulled off a feat that's unusual in science fiction franchises: It's built a rich lineup of female characters that all fans, not just women, are heavily invested in. Pride of place in that universe goes to Mara Jade. Introduced in 1991 in "Heir To The Empire," the first in a trilogy by Timothy Zahn, Mara got to occupy roles that had previously belonged to men in the original "Star Wars" trilogy. Like Darth Vader, she was a lethal agent of the late Emperor Palpatine, and like Han Solo, we meet her as a cynical smuggler. But unlike Vader, Mara got to redeem herself of the Emperor's influence without dying in the process. And even though she became a formidable Jedi warrior, she also got to be the leading lady in one of the "Expanded Universe's" most epic love stories, her romance with and eventual marriage to Luke Skywalker.

Text Only
Southeast Iowa
  • Report: Iowa third among states in child well-being DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new national report on the well-being of children ranks Iowa third in the nation, up four places from last year. The Kids Counts report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation says Iowa ranks first among all states

    July 22, 2014

  • MHP designated a Blue Zones Worksite OSKALOOSA — Blue Zones Project Oskaloosa today announced Mahaska Health Partnership has been named a designated Blue Zones Worksite. Mahaska Health Partnership was designated after completing the necessary items in the Blue Zones Project worksite ple

    July 22, 2014

  • 072214 Medics Skills Photo Local medics advance skills

    Six EMTs from Mercy Medical Center have completed the work necessary to become paramedics.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eddyville gets $1M federal grant for flood project EDDYVILLE, Iowa (AP) — The city of Eddyville is getting more than $1 million to improve its stormwater handling system to protect the city from Des Moines River flooding. The funding, announced Monday by U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, comes from the Federa

    July 22, 2014

  • Art show photo 2 Young artists show work at Oskaloosa Art Center

    OSKALOOSA—Several pieces of art were on display at the Oskaloosa Art Center Friday featuring works by kids in local elementary schools. The artists include those from Kindergarten through eighth grade. Briana Bartlett, who teaches art for elementary

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Fundraiser for soldiers' families approaching

    CENTERVILLE — Justin Zaputil remembers when Master Sgt. Travis Riddick died. The common reactions didn’t feel right. Mourning and then moving on left something undone. It didn’t seem to accomplish what Zaputil and a handful of others wanted. It didn’

    July 21, 2014

  • 072114 Howard Service Photo 2 Hundreds attend Howard graveside services Several hundred men, women and children attended the 11 a.m. Saturday graveside services for Moulton native Staff Sgt. Robert E. “Bobby” Howard at Sunset View Cemetery north of Moulton.Pastor Brian Hargrave officiated. Hargrave talked about why we co

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Patrick Edouard Supreme Court overturns Edouard appeal

    The Iowa Supreme Court has overruled the state appeals court decision on whether a former Pella pastor could be convicted on charges of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blue Zones photo Blue Zones hold cooking demonstration at farmers' market

    OSKALOOSA — Two local chefs gave a cooking demonstration at the Oskaloosa Farmers’ Market Tuesday afternoon to show just what you can do with produce you buy there. Renee Edgar and Michael Glesener set up a portable kitchen on the east side of the cit

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suit: Nursing home not providing information KEOSAUQUA — Plaintiffs in a suit against an area nursing home have accused the defendants of dragging their heels in providing required information. The case involves the family of Mary Sprouse, who died after a fall at the Good Samaritan Society’s f

    July 17, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National