Looking For Leia Documentary Highlights the Women of Star Wars
Star Wars has always been considered something for "only the boys", but one woman is trying to change that for good.
Annalise Ophelian, who has been a fan of the Star Wars films since the release of the first film in 1977, has created a documentary centered all around the women who grew up watching Star Wars called Looking for Leia.
While talking with The Verge, Ophelian spoke about why she decided to create the documentary and what she learned from filming it.
Growing up in the 1980's and 90's, Ophelian found that she,
"Didn't see a lot of room for girls and women in sci-fi and fantasy fandom."
It wasn't until she attended the Star Wars celebration in Anaheim back in 2015 that she came up with the idea for the film after seeing all of the women who were such big fans of the franchise.
She even tried to interview Carrie Fisher, who unfortunately passed before an opportunity was found to interview her.
While filming the documentary, Ophelian found herself drawn more towards the younger fans,
"Because there is a lot of love for the prequels that is often missing in my generation."
One interesting thing she saw while filming was a new adaption of the Slave Leia costume, which had become a common costume at conventions. Ever since Claudia Gray's novel Bloodline had come out in 2016, many fans had changed the name to Huttslayer.
One thing that all female fans hope the documentary changes is the franchise's stubborn attitude towards marketing to women. Women have always been a part of the fandom, but the franchise continues to market products specifically for boys, and toy companies have even left out some of the film's most prominent female characters, as Ophelian points out.
"The perception of male dominance in fandom is, I think, accurate, and a reflection of how sexism functions in the world."
"I think women's fandom is in many ways a reflection of how women have always navigated that sexism."
Ophelian wants this documentary to go beyond just the inclusivity of the women in the Star Wars fandom, and pulls ideas from the Women's March that happened earlier this year.
"I'm challenging the cultural assumptions made of Star Wars fans in the same way I want cultural assumptions about women to be challenged in general."
Opehlian says that filming is still underway, and hopes to have it finished by summer 2018. She is still looking for female fans to interview, so if you wish to participate, head over to the project's website.