Power of the Force, 1995
Accessories: Laser Pistol, Assault Rifle
Appears in: A New Hope
Card Back: After many unsuccessful attempts to bring change to the Empire as a senator, Princess Leia Organa became involved in the Rebel Alliance and immediately established herself as one of its most popular and influential leaders. Although it was extremely dangerous for someone of her prominence. Leia often participated in secret missions for the rebellion. It was during one such mission to recruit General Obi-Wan Kenobi that she obtained the technical readouts for the Empire’s new Death Star battle station. Moments before being captured by Darth Vader, Leia hid the plans in the droid R2-D2, who then escaped to the planet Tatooine to find Kenobi.
While being held on the Death Star, Leia was tortures by Vader yet refused to yield any Rebel secrets. She was then forced to watch the destruction of her homeworld Alderaan by the ruthless Grand Moff Tarkin. After a daring rescue by Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, she helped lead the Rebel forces on Yavin to victory by destroying the menacing Battle Station.
If you consider that even now, in 2017, the toxic elements of the Star Wars fandom make exceptions for gender (as seen with the attitudes exhibited towards Rey, Jyn Erso and Kathleen Kennedy in the last two years), then in 1995 you can imagine how much worse it all was.
Mid-90’s comic books were laced with twisted depictions of the female form, the pages bursting with super powered supermodels that set a low standard for geek culture – something that has taken years to dismantle. Released at the apex of this trend, the 1995 Power of the Force Princess Leia action figure was a less than perfect release that has endured more than its fair share of scorn.
Adopting the same stylistic approach as her wave mates, the POTF2 Princess Leia is a dynamically posed rendition of everyone’s favourite Alderaanian. Whilst her legs are a touch on the long and skinny side, the layers of detachable robes do a good enough job to help her appear well-proportioned.
Princess Leia stands well and can pose well enough with her gun for evading Stormtroopers on either the Tantive IV or the Death Star. She even looks tense enough to watch the screens at the Rebel base, making this an ideal Princess Leia figure for re-enacting A New Hope.
Paint wise, Leia is… OK. Cast in the white of her robes, the only paint apps are for the skin, hair, eyes and belt. Both the skin and the hair suffer from some serious slop, yet the eyes are exceptional for the scale. It’s a continuation of the great start that Hasbro made to the modern line in this aspect.
Princess Leia’s accompanying laser pistol is a solid rendition of her weapon from the start of the film. The assault rifle is a bit more of a stretch – with a logical head you may wonder why she wasn’t packed with a Stormtrooper blaster – but then the inclusion of something a little more imaginative is in keeping with the aesthetic and intention of this first wave.
This brings me on to the most controversial aspect of the POTF2 Princess Leia figure – her face.
Deliberately sculpted for a powerful look, the POTF2 Leia figure was hated for looking so stern, earning the unkind moniker of ‘monkey-face Leia’. I don’t agree with that observation. The sculpt may not be an amazing likeness of Carrie Fisher, and her eyebrows are a touch on the heavy side, but it’s a rendition that suits the POTF2 style and fits well with her wave mates.
It’s my theory that some of the negativity aimed at the 1995 Princess Leia stemmed from the fact that she wasn’t sculpted as a supermodel, as the designers attempted to capture some of the strength and integrity of her character. They may have gone too far in that direction, but then the unprecedented backlash came from a demographic that Hasbro wasn’t marketing to.
New ANH versions of Princess Leia saw release in the Princess Leia Collection and the POTF2 All-New Likeness individual release, both available in 1997.