For decades, Princess Leia has operated in the Star Wars universe under the Smurfette Principle. As the only female in the main cast until Mon Mothma came around (Mara Jade notwithstanding), she was the only role model in the series for girls to emulate. Or so we thought.
Meet the three unnamed female fighter pilots from Return of the Jedi. Two of these ladies were released with the avalanche of extras on the Star Wars Blu-ray and were originally part of the Rebel Squadrons fighting in the Battle of Endor. Both of them were A-Wing pilots.
The younger pilot, pictured above, even had a bit of dialogue. According to Star Wars Aficionado, her line "got it" was overdubbed with a male voice in post-production.
Most interestingly, the second lady fighter pilot is elderly, leading one to wonder if she was a hardened lifelong rebel or a late joiner. Either way, it's one of the great untold stories of the series.
The third Rebel fighter pilot was played by Vivienne Chandler, pictured below, and she and one other female X-Wing pilot were filmed. Not only did they never make it past the cutting-room floor, they didn't even make it into the Blu-ray release. While Ms. Chandler had more than a page of dialogue, none of it made it into the final release.
There is no solid evidence as to why all of these women were ultimately cut, but fan theory holds it was because watching female pilots die would have been too disturbing for moviegoing audiences at the time. Instead, they were regulated to the background as officers… You can find them if you look hard and fast enough.
But for the most part, the Star Wars galaxy appears to have been struck with a strange affliction where women are either a) targeted by a deadly gender-specific illness or b) human sperm counts widely skewed male.
Damn you, Midichlorians!