Carrie Fisher, the original trilogy’s heroine, and the most bad ass princess in the Disney pantheon, turns 59 today. Known for playing one of the Rebel Alliance’s greatest leaders, she’s been a hero to female Star Wars fans like me our whole lives. Leia is a woman who can pivot easily from diplomat to revolutionary leader, to politician to Jedi. And Carrie imbued her character with not only a sense of grace under pressure, but plenty of sass and wit to boot. In honor of her birthday, here are Fisher’s ten best moments as Leia Amidala Skywalker Organa Solo.
1. Telling off General Tarkin
Talk about making an impression. Leia’s first entrance may have been sneaking the plans into the R2 unit, but it’s her first encounter with the Empire, as she sneers at the evil general whose about to blow up her planet (not that she knows it yet) and her snarky remarks telling all and sundry that they cannot possibly keep up with her that made her so cool.
2. Leia’s First Reaction to the Falcon
Look, we all know Leia wasn’t all that impressed with her “rescue” by Han and Luke when they arrived on the Death Star, but beggars can’t be choosers, and hey, they had weapons. But it was her first reaction to the Millennium Falcon docked in the bay, all tattered and torn that is my favorite reaction of hers. “You came in that thing?” Good lord man, it’s amazing you’re still alive.
3. “Nerf herder.”
The insult heard halfway round the galaxy. You’ve called people nerf herders. I’ve called people nerf herders. It’s such a great insult, especially since Han doesn’t even seem to mind that part so much as he does the “scruffy looking.” Hey man, I know it was the 80s, but try shaving. And next time you have the urge to call someone a nerf herder, thank Leia.
4. That First Han Kiss
No, not the one on Endor. The one where she finally graced Han with a smile and an acknowledgment that he wasn’t totally the world’s biggest loser after all. Even a clock is right twice a day, and even Han Solo has his moments of super genius. Not many, but he does have them.
5.”It’s a Trap”
Before the Bothans and Admiral Ackbar made “It’s a trap!” a cool meme, Leia was already “Been there, done that.” She was warning people it’s a trap before most of you even knew what a meme was. And more importantly, once that trap was sprung, and Han taken prisoner and sent to Jabba the hut as a gift, leia was the one marshalling the troops to get everyone left off Cloud City safely, and even made sure to go back for Luke.
6. Leia Kills Jabba
Speaking of which, don’t even take this women’s chosen man prisoner. Ever. Everyone may remember Leia in the hot gold bikini, but what i I remember is that despite the totally impractical outfit that gave her little coverage and less support, she still strangled the shit out of one of the galaxy’s most notorious gangsters. And her hair stayed perfect.
7. The Bike Chase on Endor
Are you kidding me? Who even taught her to rider? And yet, here she is on a bike, in the middle of a jungle, on a planet she’s never been to before, and the storm troopers are crashing right and left behidn her, and she’s just tootling along like it ain’t no thing. Luke even crashes, and she just throws him on the back and keeps going.
8. “I know.”
Everyone loves to play the moment at the end of Empire where Leia tells Han she loves him, and he says like a cocky bastard “I know.” But the one I prefer is that moment, when, lying injured on the ground, Leia reveals to Han the weapon she’s about to fire and kill those sons of bitches storm troopers who think they’re going to arrest them. She such a badass. Han can’t help it. “I love you.” She answers the only way he deserves. “I know.”
9. Leia Becomes a Jedi
I know this is an Expanded Universe thing, but damn it, I hope they keep it. (This along with Jaina and Jacen, are the things I want the series to keep, at least in some form.) In the expanded universe she even has two lightsabers–the one she built herself (blue) and the one Luke gives her (red.) Prsonally I don’t care which color it is, i just want to see her weild it on screen. Please and thanks.
10. First Appearance in the The Force Awakens Trailer
Did you cry? I welled up. And so did every female Star Wars fan I know. Partly because it’s Han and Leia, together again after all these years. but also because, after watching Leia be the strong one for decades, seeing her with tears in her eyes is a powerful reminder that vulnerability is a luxury she can rarely afford. We don’t know what it is yet that gives her such grief, but somehow I’m sure it will hurt.