Star Wars: Forces of Destiny has already garnered a good reputation for taking a look at the female characters from the Star Wars universe and giving them a chance to shine in the relatively short time that it’s been around. Kicking off the five issues of the comic being released this month is the original female hero of the Star Wars saga, Princess Leia.
Set on the frozen world of Hoth shortly before the events of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, this issue follows Princess Leia as she and a handful of other Star Wars heroes search the icy wastes of Hoth looking for a crashed Rebel ship that will help them to repair their damaged power generator.
Princess Leia is put into a position where she is representing the will to carry on, feeling as tired and run down as the rest of the Rebels around her, but putting on a brave face, giving inspirational speeches, and pushing her people to carry on. All while also having to deal with an incredibly unruly Tauntaun.
The book manages to mix together the sense of desperation that the Rebels are feeling with a nice amount of humour as Princess Leia is constantly battling against an animal that would rather dig around in the snow and throw her off its back than do what it’s told. This helps the book from ever feeling too overly serious or grim, but the balance with the real emotions that the characters would be feeling helps to prevent the book from falling into the realms of too comedic or childish.
The story also manages to capture the banter between Han Solo and Princess Leia quite well, with a snarky back and forth between the two of them that we know is close to building to the beginning of their love story. Not only does this help the book feel more in line with the period it’s set in, but also gives Han something to do because, as with all Star Wars: Forces of Destiny stories, the men aren’t the heroes here.
Princess Leia is the focus, she’s the emotional heart, she’s the one who finds herself in jeopardy, and she’s the one who gets herself out of it (well, with a little help from her Tauntaun too).
The story doesn’t mess with the established timeline of events, and fits neatly into the story of Star War: The Empire Strikes Back, with a throwaway line referencing things living in the tunnels beneath Hoth’s surface indicating that this happens between Luke Skywalker getting attacked by a Wompa, and the Imperial assault on the planet. Instead, this adds further elements to one of the most popular Star Wars stories, giving it some more background detail.
One of the best additions it does make to the events of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is showing that Hera Syndulla from Star Wars Rebels is present on Hoth, and that she and The Ghost would have been one of the ships that ends up fleeing the planet during the battle with the AT-AT’s.
This is where Star Wars: Forces of Destiny really does good, showcasing the female characters of the universe, makes connections between the older elements of the franchise and the new characters, and gives us extra layers of detail to stories that we’re already familiar with.
It may be chance that the Star Wars: Forces of Destiny books being released over the course of January began with Princess Leia, it could be because she’s the original Star Wars heroine, but the book coming out a little over a year since the loss of Carrie Fisher makes it feel like a conscious choice on the publisher’s part to put her first. Princess Leia inspired generations of Star Wars fans, even up to her last appearance on-screen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, proving how amazing she was right up to the end. This may not be a special tribute to her, or to Carrie, but it feels that much more special.