The Ottumwa Courier

Community News Network

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
Community News Network
  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National