**Warning – This post contains spoilers**

Throughout recent years, the number of female characters in Star Wars has grown. From television shows to movies, a variety of ladies have recently entered the Star Wars universe. However, there has never been an instance when so many diverse women and characters have been together in one Star Wars film. Until now. The Last Jedi brought audiences several amazing female characters, each one with a unique storyline that showcases their individual personalities and strengths.

General Leia Organa – The Beacon of Hope

While there are five prominent female characters in The Last Jedi, it would be nothing short of a sin than to start this article by talking about anybody other than Leia. General Leia Organa’s role in TLJ was more prominent than it was in Episode VII. She is commanding a wounded Resistance fleet, surrounded by the First Order and an overly anxious Poe Dameron. Leia is taken out of commission of the first act of the film due to an injury sustained during the opening space battle. We would all have loved to see more sassy General Leia, but her absence forced Poe’s radical behavior and lead to some great character development.

I say Leia is a beacon of hope because there is a line in the film I caught in my second viewing. The Resistance is in trouble of literal extinction. While on Crait toward the end of the movie, our heroes send out a distress call to allies in the Outer Rim. Allies who believe in and trust Leia. Leia is iconic in our galaxy and in theirs. Even when chips are way down, Resistance sympathizers are ready to help because of Leia. Her experience and leadership is notorious.

I also must briefly discuss Leia using the Force. Yes, I think the way it was done was a bit odd. But with the passing of Carrie Fisher last year, this one scene is all we will get to confirm how strong she is with the Force on screen.

Rey – The True Believer

Rey’s arc throughout The Last Jedi could fill a volume of books, so I will do my best to keep this short and to the point. Something was always inside Rey, and when it awoke, she had to know more. Despite Luke’s attitude and indifference, she is relentless and stays until he agrees to teach her about the Force and the mistakes of the Jedi.

During her, as the Internet has so appropriately called them, Force Skyping sessions with Kylo Ren/Ben Solo, Rey’s outlook on her dark side counterpart begins to change. She learns more about him and why he turned, doing so by essentially threatening Luke with his old lightsaber. She wants to learn the truth about the night Ben became Kylo Ren, the truth about the Jedi, the truth about her parents, and the truth about redemption. She believes Ben is the Resistance’s only hope (pun intended) and will stop at nothing to see this vision come true. She is a believer.

But when Ben’s proposition about leaving the past behind goes one step too far, she declines to join him. She is a zealot who believes her vision of Kylo returning to Ben will come true. I can’t wait until the next film to see how this happens.

Rey is our example that you can come from nothing and have nothing and become something bigger than yourself. I love seeing a female character chosen by the Force to be so powerful and connect with Kylo Ren. You don’t have to be a Skywalker or Solo to make a difference, and Rey is proof of that. Your last name doesn’t define you; your actions and your beliefs do.

Rose Tico – The Voice of Reason

I loved Rose. I love her energy and tenacity. She takes on Finn when he is planning on leaving and doesn’t bat an eye, even though she admires him and is still grieving over the loss of her sister. Although some fans didn’t like the story she shared with Finn on Canto Bight (it is a bit long), she shows how strong and resourceful she is. She also reminds Finn why they are in this battle against the First Order, putting things back in perspective for him.

Rose and Finn’s mission ultimately fails, but that is what the whole movie is about, learning and moving on from failure. Finn is still emotional about this failure and almost sacrifices himself for no reason, to, in his mind, redeem himself. Rose intercedes and saves him. Finn’s voice of reason again. I love her line, “I saved you, dummy. That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love.” This is a foreshadow I believe of how Episode IX will end.

Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo – The Willing Sacrifice

I struggled to find any reason to be emotionally invested in Admiral Amilyn Holdo until I saw her scene with Leia. These strong ladies have been friends for years. The way she handles Poe while Leia is out of commission is impressive, but not oppressive. Poe is out of line, and Holdo tries to put him back. Her sacrifice is rare for Star Wars, a single person sacrificing their life to save the cause.

Her original plan to save the Resistance would have worked, if not for DJ the code breaker betraying Rose and Finn. She could have lived. You never see her get mad at the mutiny crew. Disappointed, yes. Tattles to Leia, yes. But not mad. Even in her final moments, she shows nothing but strong resolve. I love that she stayed her course even when Poe and his team doubted.

Captain Phasma – The Selfish Warrior

Not much is known about Phasma in the films because, well, she was sadly not fully utilized. The majority of what we know about Captain Phasma can be found in comic books or novels. This is where we find out how she survived the destruction of Starkiller Base; a Resistance bomb blew a hole in the side of the trash compactor and she escaped. To hide the fact that she lowered the shields at gunpoint for Finn and Han Solo, she murders and lies to several people. She only cares about her own skin. And I like that. Yes, it is obviously wrong. But I love Phasma for being the first female live-action Star Wars villian. She is cold and calculating. She is a warrior, as we see in her battle with Finn. While her screen time is limited again, she adds to the female diversity by being a villian. I hope to see more female villains in these films in the future.

Five women, five contributing factors to the story of Episode VIII. I can’t wait to see how Rose and Rey’s stories end and I am optimistic that LucasFilm will give our favorite princess and general a proper farewell in Episode IX. Star Wars has never been a guy thing. But now more than ever, little girls of all walks of life have so many great female characters to look up to. The Last Jedi brought us many of them together to show how intrical women are to the plot of our far, far away galaxy.

Susie Bryan
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