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As fondly remembered as the original Star Wars: A New Hope is, the film was not entirely without its issues. However, as George Lucas proved with the Special Editions, there’s no problem that you can’t go back and fix later. The good news is, this time, the solution doesn’t require more CGI. The author of a new Star Wars novel has taken a glaring dialogue issue in the film and explained it away. The reason Princess Leia is briefly English is only because she’s fucking with Grand Moff Tarkin.
Since, at this point, we figure most of the world has seen the original Star Wars 40 or 50 times, everybody is probably familiar with the scene in which Leia meets with Grand Moff Tarkin, just before the Death Star blows up Alderaan (spoiler alert?). In that scene, for some reason Princess Leia has an English accent, something that she doesn’t have for the rest of the film, and certainly not in any of the sequels. Now, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Claudia Grey, author of the new book Star Wars: Bloodlines, says that in the novel she has included a sequence where Leia is remembering that moment and she explains that the reason she uses the accent is because she’s poking fun at her interrogator. Grey explains:
In interviews, Fisher laughs at herself for that scene she has with [Grand Moff] Tarkin in A New Hope, because Carrie Fisher has an English accent in that scene, and she doesn’t in any other scene in the movie. She sort of laughs at her younger self for being so influenced by Peter Cushing. But I thought, 'I’m gonna use that.' So there’s an explanation in [Bloodline] that she’s actually making fun of Tarkin. She’s mocking his accent in that moment. She remembers that’s what she was doing. So that moment has been explained. It’s no longer a problem.
Now, that is how you retcon something. It’s a perfectly reasonable explanation to make. It’s clear in the scene that Princess Leia is not intimidated by Grand Moff Tarkin, or at the very least, that she’s not going to show she’s intimidated. She lets the "foul stench" line fly right off the bat. Why wouldn’t she also mock his accent? Now, watch the scene again and pretend she’s doing it on purpose just to mess with him. It actually adds a fun new layer to the scene.
Since the new books (as opposed to all the old books) are considered canon, we can now adapt this argument as the reason that Carrie Fisher’s accent shifts in this scene. It’s official. What do you think of the new, slightly more snarky Princess Leia?