If you were a lad who came of age in the ‘80s, chances are that Leia’s gold bikini from The Return of the Jedi may have almost single-handedly kickstarted your foray into puberty. It’s an interesting dichotomy: Leia was, for the most part, a strong, well-written female role…but they still found a convenient excuse to get her wearing as little as possible for that iconic sequence. If you’ve ever wondered about how the actress behind it all felt about that duality, you’ll find much to intrigue in a vintage Rolling Stone interview with actress Carrie Fisher that has popped up online.
Published in the July/August 1983 issue of Rolling Stone, the feature makes it obvious pretty quickly that Fisher understood the contradictory nature of Leia’s strong personality and played-up sexuality in the third film, but she does point out that Return of the Jedi also gave her a chance to broaden the character away from just being, in her words, “some kind of space bitch.” She continues:
She has no friends, no family; her planet was blown up in seconds — along with her hairdresser — so all she has is a cause. From the first film, she was just a soldier, front line and center. The only way they knew to make the character strong was to make her angry. In Return of the Jedi, she gets to be more feminine, more supportive, more affectionate. But let’s not forget that these movies are basically boys’ fantasies. So the other way they made her more female in this one was to have her take off her clothes.