Star Wars history is a bit sacred. Well-versed fans know the stories inside and out. They know which Stormtrooper bopped his head on a doorway. They know who shot first. Even creator George Lucas didn't get a pass when he went back and added CGI to the original movies. It's no wonder some fans are upset about a T-shirt for boys that makes significant changes to a scene from the original "Star Wars" film, "A New Hope."
Twitter user @G33KDad first brought the shirt to the Internet's attention Thursday with a tweet reading "@Target is selling a #StarWars shirt where Leia is replaced by Luke. It's a 'boy's shirt' now. #IncludeTheGirls."
The cotton-poly blend T-shirt sold by Target features an image of Darth Vader flanked by Stormtroopers. The Sith Lord's finger is pointed at Luke Skywalker. In large letters, it says "I brought the Dark Side. What did you bring?" On the surface, it's just another piece of Star Wars tie-in merch ahead of the debut of the new movie " " on December 18, but fans will recognize just how much the publicity photo was changed to make the shirt.
It originally had Vader flunky Daine Jir dressed in black where the Stormtroopers are. More significantly, it was Princess Leia who stood where Luke is now located. It takes place during a scene where Vader accuses her of having connections with rebel spies.
This rewriting of Star Wars history isn't sitting well with some blogs and fans who question why Leia wasn't allowed to appear on a shirt for boys. Is Princess Leia not considered a role model for young male fans? Did a marketing and design team somewhere decide that Leia would hurt the shirt's sales? Geek culture website The Mary Sue refers to the shirt as "sexist," "silly" and "a depressing precedent for the young boys wearing this shirt."
The Minneapolis retailer responded to @G33KDad with a tweet reading: "It's never our intention to leave anyone out! We'll share your thoughts with the right teams. Thanks for getting in touch with us."
A search of the Target site returns 138 hits for "Star Wars shirt." Out of those, Princess Leia makes an appearance on several men's T-shirts and at least one women's shirt. Dig a little more and you find her in cartoon form on a boys' Halloween shirt and hiding in the upper corner of a boys' graphic T-shirt featuring Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.
Perhaps this points to the Vader-Leia-Skywalker photoshopped shirt as an ill-thought-out aberration. Presumably, Leia's cameos on those other shirts didn't kill their sales. At a minimum, the fuss over the shirt may get Star Wars merchandise designers to think more carefully about the accuracy of images and the inclusion of female characters in products.