Star Wars #33 by Jason Aaron and Salvador Larocca
The Marvel STAR WARS series continues to be a fun exploration of Luke, Han, and Leia's adventure in between A NEW HOPE and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. With a compelling story by Jason Aaron and visually stellar artwork by Salvador Larocca, this stand-alone issue does a great job of developing Leia Organa's internal motivation as a rebel leader.
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Princess Powerful

One of Marvel STAR WARS‘ biggest strengths has been its ability to further develop the original STAR WARS trilogy protagonists. Even though Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia Organa remain pop culture icons, their personalities have always been tied to the context of George Lucas’ films with mediums such as comic books serving to fill in the blanks. Where previous issues furthered Luke’s Jedi training and Han’s smuggler past, STAR WARS #33 explores how Leia’s background defines her. Here, a castaway-inspired scenario places a spotlight on the skills that Leia has learned in order to understand, as she puts it, how to truly live.

star wars #33
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Following the events of “The Screaming Citadel,” what was supposed to be a routine supplies mission leaves Luke and Leia on the run from Tie Fighters. To escape, Luke flies their ship into a nearby nebula, scrambling the enemy’s communication at the cost of their own. Taking refuge on a nearby planet, Luke and Leia find themselves stranded with their ship instruments blinded and ability to contact the Rebel Alliance hindered. Thus, they must rely on their skills, wits, and a bit of the Force to survive the unknown environment.

READ: Discover the importance and development of one of STAR WARS‘ best characters: Ahsoka Tano!

While STAR WARS #33’s narrative centers on Luke and Leia’s efforts to survive, writer Jason Aaron uses this as a front for dissecting how the Rebellion affected Leia. As one of the Rebel Alliance’s leaders, Leia has experienced numerous losses and near deaths due to the Empire’s cruelty. She lost her family and home planet to the Death Star, and even now, the Emperor wishes to kill her newfound friends. Therefore, Leia’s life has been a never-ending game of survival, jumping to new locations and planning coordinated attacks against the Empire to defend the mission she has fought to protect.

Aaron fleshes out this seemingly minor incident into an experience that allows Leia to live, rather than simply survive. She and Luke are alone. They’re cut off from the universe with no one, save for a few Tie Fighters, aware of their known location. Here, they must achieve simple acts of survival not with luxuries or rules but rather their individual skills. This experience is paralleled by Leia’s childhood memory of surviving in the woods, which taught her to be resourceful and self-sufficient. Such an ordeal taught Leia to never take life for granted, choosing to embrace each moment as a precious gift.

star wars #33
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Salvador Larocca imbues STAR WARS #33 with a vivid level of detail, ranging from lush landscape to the hairs on Luke and Leia’s heads. There’s a strong level fluidity to the character’s motions, something that plays a big role in the issue’s final battle. Here, our protagonists use their survival skills for offensive purposes, with Leia’s, in particular, shining the brightest. As she and Luke fight back with the resources at their disposal, Leia embraces the feeling of “truly living.”

READ: Explore how the Marvel STAR WARS comics improved Darth Vader beyond the influence of the original film trilogy! 

STAR WARS #33: Final Thoughts

STAR WARS #33 manages to take a seemingly minor event and fleshes it into an analysis of Princess Leia’s character. The more Leia embraces each moment like a gift, the closer she gets to ensuring that every life sacrificed for her survival was not in vain. With every day she lives, the future of a universe without the Galactic Empire comes closer to becoming a reality.

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