Ah, I remember it well, those opening scenes of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. That part when, having crushed any sign of resistance about the Tantive IV, Darth Vader reprimanded Luke Skywalker and put him in Imperial custody. Wait, what the what?
In the midst of the Star Wars mania we currently find ourselves in, there’s all sorts of merchandise for the franchise hitting shelves, whether it’s related to The Force Awakens or not. So naturally, it’s not surprising to see heroes and villains all over mugs, shirts, backpacks, whatever you can think of. Which is why a “Boys’ humor” Star Wars shirt now being sold by Target shouldn’t be all that worth noticing.
That is, until you realize that said shirt straight up took a scene from A New Hope between Vader and Princess Leia, and then edited to make it between Vader and Luke:
Here, if you can’t quite remember, is the original scene for comparison:
Now of course, the entire image on the shirt is heavily photoshopped: the Stormtroopers weren’t there in the original shot, the Imperial Officer has been removed entirely. It’s more photoshop than man now, to borrow a turn of phrase. But why the hell paste out Princess Leia and replace her with Luke?
It’s not like the joke—well, actually, let’s be kind and put “joke,” because it’s not particularly funny in the first place—would’ve been different if it was still Leia that Vader was chastising. Nothing would’ve changed at all, other than some idiotic merchandise executive somewhere might have started freaking out that boys won’t want a shirt with one of those cootie-ridden girls on it, before someone with much more sense handily reminded him that that girl is GODDAMN PRINCESS LEIA. Boys like Princess Leia. No one is scared by the presence of Princess Leia on a piece of merchandise. Because she’s Princess bloody Leia. One of the most iconic Star Wars characters, pop culture characters in general, ever conceived. You don’t have to be a little girl to appreciate her.
It’s shocking to see this. It’s absurd. We already know how sucky it is to get good female representation in merchandise, whether it’s for Star Wars or other “boy-oriented” franchises like Marvel, that we seen things like female characters missing from merchandise, or replaced in toys based on their cool movie moments. But actively erasing one out of a scene just to make it “for boys”?
At a time when Star Wars is becoming more and more female-friendly, when you have new, amazing characters like Rey and Captain Phasma plastered over toys and merchandise. When you have the female president of Lucasfilm, one of the most powerful women in entertainment, telling the press that a female director on a Star Wars movie is inevitable, and that an overwhelming majority of Star Wars’ all-encompassing Story Group is made up of women—this dumb stuff shouldn’t be happening.
Hey Target (or realistically, whoever approved this shirt in the first place): Stop being stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herders and sort this mess out.
[Via The Mary Sue]