Recently I hosted a panel – From Jedi Princess to Sith Witch: An Exploration of the Female Characters of Star Wars – at GeekGirlCon in Seattle. For only its second year, the convention had great attendance and national media coverage. A long line formed for the panel well before its start time. The discussion ranged from the trope-smashing iconic character of Princess Leia in the movies to the varieties of female character options in the games, and from the ways Jedi characters like Mara Jade, Jaina Solo, and Ahsoka Tano help female fans experience roles as the heroes of the Galaxy Far Far Away to the relatability of the Everywoman characters such as the X-wing pilots in X-Wing: Mercy Kill and the female Mandalorians in The Clone Wars. All the panelists observed a lot of enthusiasm in the attendees, and that enthusiasm spanned everything from the movies and television show to the comics, books, and videogames. I’ve posted a panel recap at my blog.
I thought one of the questions asked by an audience member merited a broader discussion among Star Wars fans. A young woman told the panel that when she and her fellow geeky friends discuss their favorite superheroes, she mentions her favorite Star Wars Jedi. In response, she’s often been told that Jedi aren’t superheroes. So she asked the panel our opinion. Ashley Eckstein, Linda Raj-Hansen and I fielded the question at the panel.
Tricia: Lucas was making a visual comic book with A New Hope, so I think he saw them as superheroes.
Ashley: In the Star Wars universe the Jedi are superheroes. Ashley reminded the audience of the motto of Her Universe: Flaunt your world. Just because a person can’t fly doesn’t mean that person can’t be a superhero. Her point was that the definition of superhero isn’t necessarily limited to special abilities, but rather it can be a state of mind. She used examples within the Star Wars fandom like the 501st and Rebel Legion, who she considers real life superheroes. It’s your own personal definition.
Linda: Borrowing from an earlier panel at GeekGirlCon, she told the audience, “Take your cape and be your own superhero.”
We thought it would be interesting to hear what you think.
What makes a superhero?
Are Jedi superheroes?
Have you ever been told your favorite Star Wars character isn’t a superhero?
Tricia Barr writes about Star Wars, genre storytelling and fandom at FANgirl Blog and Star Wars Insider. She is also currently working on her first novel Wynde. Fans can connect with her on Twitter at @fangirlcantina or Fangirl Zone on Facebook.