Carrie Fisher Couldn't Wait To Kill Jabba The Hutt In Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi

There's been a lot of debate over the years over what exactly qualifies as the male gaze in film, but most people can agree that Leia's treatment in the opening act of "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" definitely counts. Like the rest of Luke's crew, Leia (Carrie Fisher) gets caught by Jabba as part of their plan to rescue Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and is held captive by the Tatooine crime lord in the movie. Unlike the rest of the crew, however, she's forced to wear nothing but a metal bikini and a chain around her neck.

Jabba, and seemingly the camera itself, is constantly leering at Leia throughout the 1983 film, which is a strange choice for a supposedly family-friendly movie. Fisher herself would often speak out about how weird it was in the years that followed. "Don't be a slave like I was," she warned Daisy Ridley in 2015. "You keep fighting against that slave outfit." The sequel trilogy, for all its faults, managed to make it the whole way through without doing anything like this to its own female lead.

Still, if there's one saving grace of this part of "Return of the Jedi," it's that Leia gets to be the one to kill Jabba in the end. She takes the chain around her neck and chokes Jabba to death with it — an act that could be interpreted as the movie commenting on the objectification of women. At least, that's how Fisher saw it. When asked in a 2016 NPR interview if she saw that act as "female empowerment," Fisher responded, "Oh, absolutely."

Sorta kinda redeeming the outfit

As much as Carrie Fisher hated her metal bikini, she considered the resolution to this sub-plot as a worthy consolation. "What redeems it is that I get to kill [Jabba]," she explained. "I sawed his neck off with that chain that I killed him with. I really relish that 'cause I hated wearing that outfit and sitting there rigid straight, and I couldn't wait to kill him."

And sure enough, Leia strangling Jabba is one of the most satisfying moments in the entire "Star Wars" film series. It's even more satisfying with the prequel movies in mind, knowing both that Leia is the daughter and granddaughter of enslaved people and Jabba enslaves individuals. In a franchise where so many of the villains have sympathetic backstories and are given moments of redemption before their end, it's nice to have a moment where a main character gets to murder a baddie the movie doesn't even try to make us feel bad for.

Whereas Luke (Mark Hamill) struggles a lot with the idea that killing Darth Vader might turn him to the dark side, Leia slays Jabba without a second thought, and it's perfectly fine; her place on the light side is never in doubt. That might sound like a double standard, but Luke was never objectified in the way Leia was. Putting Leia in that outfit may have been a weird, bad choice for "Return of the Jedi," but at least the film lets her have an unapologetically badass moment in return.