She’s a mother and an author of six books about math for kids, but you probably remember Danica McKellar as Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years. And now, for Halloween, McKellar might be remembered as the Princess Leia of several boys’ teenage dreams. The actress has donned the infamous “Slave Leia” costume for Halloween this year and she’s contending the costume isn’t degrading, but instead, “empowering.”
In 1983’s Return of the Jedi after being captured by Jabba the Hutt, Princess Leia was chained to the giant alien slug and forced to wear a gold metal bikini. This outfit was reminiscent of the kind of thing you’d see on old pulp fantasy novels, specifically the salacious Gor novel series or in any of the fantasy art of Frank Frazetta. The point is, the decision of the gold bikini was a bit old school, even for Star Wars in 1983.
The late Carrie Fisher was also against the costume, revealing in 2016 that the whole thing made her “nervous.”
“Where am I in all of this?” she said told NPR in 2016, about a month before her death. “I have to stay with the slug with the big tongue! Nearly naked, which is not a style choice for me. … It wasn’t my choice. When [director George Lucas] showed me the outfit, I thought he was kidding.”
In the same year, the powers-that-be at Lucasfilm officially stopped calling the outfit “Slave Leia,” and instead, referred to it as “Huttslayer Leia,” since it’s the costume she wears when she takes down Jabba the Hutt. More than anything, this seems to be what McKellar is referencing. In her tweet of her self in the costume, she writes that the outfit represents “the ultimate empowering victory of this strong (and sexy) heroine who bests her bully and triumphs against the odds.”
Hi there, Halloween!! ???? Ah, the "Slave Leia" outfit… representing the ultimate empowering victory of this strong (and sexy!) heroine who bests her bully and triumphs against all odds. Proud to celebrate her!! @starwars #slaveleia #princessleia ???? pic.twitter.com/L9zvMzUmnA
— Danica McKellar (@danicamckellar) October 28, 2018
Whether or not the Slave Leia costume is empowering or not is probably up for debate. But, for what it’s worth in 2017 when a conservative group called VidAngle tried to make a less-sexy version of Return of the Jedi by editing out Leia’s famous outfit, a court ruling said such an omission violates the copyright of Star Wars, meaning, that legally, Huttslayer Leia is a part of Star Wars — and probably Halloween — forever.