When Joe Quesada announced the three new Star Wars comic books at San Diego Comic Con the other week, one series in particular thrilled me more than the others. We were finally going to get a book staring Princess Leia! Mark Waid was instantly a choice that I approved whole-heartedly of to write my beloved Leia Organa and that was even before I saw his interviews talking about the book. Terry Dodson on art just made it even better. They are both perfect choices for a Leia story. Dodson is perhaps the easier to immediately see. I’ve never found a reason to complain about his art style and judging from the cover we’ve seen? We’ll get to see some pretty neat outfits on everyone’s favorite princess that are all logical for her to be wearing. Dodson also draws a killer action scene so we’ll undoubtedly have a few of those to look forward to.
Waid, on the other hand, might be a little tougher to get. For me, the gut reaction of perfect! came from his work on Indestructible Hulk over the past few years. Bruce Banner can be a tricky character to get right but it wasn’t his great work with the Hulk that got me. No, it was how he handled one Maria Hill who is not a character that all writers get right. They might get the ‘bitches-get-stuff-done’ aspect of her but miss that there’s more to her than that. Mark Waid, however, nailed writing her hook, line, and sinker. Factor in his solidly good work on Hulk and Daredevil in recent years and I was sold.
What doubly sold me were his interviews. In an interview with StarWars.com, he describe Leia as
I think that she is often misunderstood as short-tempered or what have you, and I think that’s unfair. She’s direct. She’s not necessarily impatient, she’s just exasperated easily by people who are not as smart as her. She’s not bossy…well, okay, alright, she’s bossy. But she is a princess, after all, so you have to allow her a little bit of that.
…and I let out a giant sigh of relief. It’s these aspects of Leia’s personality that are so important to who she is and how she reacts to situations. Reading what he had to say about what sort of person she is at her core made me even more confident about how he’ll handle writing her.
So my first hope is that Mark Waid will live up to my expectations and give us a brilliant portrayal of Leia Organa that will set the standard for writers to follow and thrill me as much as Razor’s Edge did. My second hope is that it will be so good that Marvel will have Waid write an ongoing series about her once the miniseries wraps up because how perfect would that be?
My third hope is that we’ll get to see some variety in the Alderaanians that Leia finds. By that, I mean that I hope we’ll see characters from all different walks of life who just happen to have this shared grief for their home likely combined with survivor’s guilt. An honest trader who wants to keep out of the war has potential to be just as intriguing as… say… an Imperial pilot who was speaking with his family when the planet was destroyed. There are definitely those who are going to clamoring to sign up for the Rebellion and those who want to keep their heads down. There’s also an opportunity here to see how people from across the Alderaanian spectrum view their Royal Family.
I also hope that we’ll get a chance to actually see Leia grieve for at least a moment. She lost her entire planet and had to keep on going. That’s an incredibly weight to carry on your shoulders, princess or not, and it would be nice to see the book take a break for a page or so and let the readers see that she’s just as human any of us.
On an artistic front, it would be wonderful to see the colorist acknowledge that given the Prequels, Alderaanians as a whole were probably much less pale than we used to think of them. It would be a great and easy way to work a little bit more visual diversity into the book.
Finally, my greatest hope is that we’ll see Winter brought back into the canon fold. (Yeah, like I wasn’t going to mention Winter Retrac in an article like this.) She’s so easy to work into Waid’s intended plotline that it would be an absolute shame if she wasn’t especially since her backstory was already retconned to fit with the Prequels. Eleven Thirty-Eight brought up that she’s essentially Leia’s handmaiden. There’s nothing that Star Wars loves more than its family generation parallels and Leia having a handmaiden would fit perfectly here (although I’d argue that their relationship growing up was even closer and more like sisters as they were raised together.) My character bias aside, it would also be a great bone to toss to Expanded Universe fans without having to go into a convoluted backstory which would make her equally accessible to those new to the character.
Do I expect to see all of these things in the comic book? No, of course not. This is a list of hopes and dreams and it’s very rare that any book is so perfectly written and tailored to me that it includes everything. That hardly stops me from speculating though. Either way, I think that Star Wars fans are in for a hell of a treat once Star Wars: Princess Leia hits comic book store shelves in March.
(But seriously: include Winter in this book. Please.)