Revealed: Star Wars Originally Had Female X-Wing Pilots

X-wing's in Star Wars A new Hope
(Image credit: LucasFilm)

Quick! Name three female characters from the original Star Wars! Well, there was Princess Leia. And Luke’s aunt Beru (Shelagh Fraser). And … um. Well … there was, uh, Ashoka? No, that was Clone Wars. Were any of the Jawas female?

Clearly George Lucas wasn’t going out of his way to be politically correct back in 1977 when he took audiences to a galaxy far, far away for the initial Star Wars. In fact, according to a story on Buzzfeed, Lucas went out of his way to cut three female Rebel pilots who were shot on camera during the climatic attack against the Death Star, then clipped from the final cut before it reached theaters.

Kudos actually go out to Lucas for coming up with female fighter pilots, and using actresses of varying ages. As you can see in the second photo, one woman was nearly a senior citizen, suggesting that the Rebel Alliance was going to rely in grizzled veteran fighter pilots to take down Darth Vader and the Empire.

The site speculates that Lucas decided against showing these women because watching females die on screen when their ships blew up might have been too traumatic. I’m not sure how accurate that is. Its’ not like women were being treated like Disney Princesses on screen in the late 1970s. Just ask Faye Dunaway how Bonnie fared at the end of Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde in 1967.

I’m more amazed that in the age of DVD special editions and Blu-ray releases that we’re just now hearing about deleted female actresses in a Star Wars movie. Maybe Leia should have sent a hologram message to these tough ladies instead of bothering old Obi Wan.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.