As a kid, I couldn’t get enough of Star Wars.
I loved the storyline. I loved the characters. I loved the action figures. I desperately loved the blue Lightsaber my brother was given for his birthday, sneaking into his room whenever he left the house to practice my Sith-fighting moves.
But most of all, I loved that Star Wars was different. It wasn’t like the other movies the girls my age watched, and that suited me just fine.
I wasn’t interested in movies about boys or sleepovers. I knew, even at a young age, that there was more to me than being pretty, or dancing like a ballerina, or finding the perfect dress for prom. (I didn’t know what “prom” was, but boy did it feature in a lot of ’90s tween movies).
I didn’t want to be Barbie. I wanted to be Luke Skywalker.
I didn’t want a Dream House. I wanted a Lightsaber. (Maybe a pink one, though.)
As I grew older (and movies for young girls got better), I discovered strong female characters to surpass my old friend Luke. I found Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena the Warrior Princess, CIA Agent Sydney Bristow, and of course the incredible Veronica Mars. All of a sudden, it felt like being powerful, intelligent and capable wasn’t something “just for boys”. All of a sudden, Luke Skywalker became more of an old friend than a role model.
That doesn’t mean that I haven’t always had a soft spot for Star Wars. I’ve watched developments in the franchise with interest. But until this year, I’d lost the borderline obsession of my 10-year-old self.
And then, I heard about Rogue One: A Star Wars story.
When I first saw the trailer for the upcoming movie based in the Star Wars universe, it was all I could do to stop myself for shouting out loud for joy.
For the second time in a row, Star Wars has an awesome female lead. She is the Star Wars hero I’ve been waiting for. Not a princess (no offence to my good friend Leia). Not a helpless damsel in distress. Not a big player, thrown in for good measure.
An actual living, breathing female lead.
"For the second time in a row, Star Wars has an awesome female lead." Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.
The upcoming Rogue One film has what I eventually realised was missing from the original six Star Wars movies but loved about The Force Awakens. It has a female character – and okay, I’ll say it – a female role model that I cannot get enough of.
Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is everything I wanted to be as a kid and more. Released from prison and sent on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star from the Galactic Empire, Jyn is forced to rely on her wits in a world full of people who underestimate her.