Not counting Star Wars: The Clone Wars and aside from Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy and Padmé Amidala in the prequel Star Wars trilogy, there are not a lot of female characters in Star Wars. Women always end up in the background or not doing any of the fighting or action.
But there were, in fact, originally three female fighter pilots in Return of the Jedi. Unfortunately, all three were cut out of the final edition of the film. Now, through the power of Blu-ray, you can take a look at the only three female fighter pilots in the whole series.
The first, pictured below, did make the final cut of Return of the Jedi but her only line – “Got it.” – was later dubbed over by a man and then seconds later she was blown up by a Tie-Fighter.
The second, the older woman pictured below, is pretty badass, but she cut out of the film because general audiences didn’t respond to older women dying in horrific space battles. But being fed to a Rancor, that’s fine!
The third and final woman cut from Return of the Jedi was an X-Wing pilot played by French actress Vivienne Chandler, who actually had a whole page of dialogue. This footage is also lost.
The entire original series started to get more diverse as it unfolded but still was more male centric than female. The introduction of Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back would mark the first black main character in the Star Wars Saga. This would be followed up with Mace Windu in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. By the time of Return of the Jedi, there were a few black and Asian fighter pilots but they were killed off pretty quickly.
Apparently “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” was a lot like America a long time ago, mostly male and mostly white. Hopefully the next Star Wars sequel trilogy will be more diverse to reflect reality in the 21st Century.