Star Wars Celebration Europe: The Women of Star Wars

Star Wars has always been one to break the mould of tradition whether in special effects or storylines. Princess Leia wasn’t the type to let down her hair down out of a window for a prince to rescue her but she’d be more likely to help rescue her Prince (or Han Solo) herself! David Collins introduced some of the woman of Star Wars each with a very different story of how they came in to Star Wars.

Femi Taylor, the Twi’lek slave dancer, Oola, from Jabba’s Palace was working in theatre when she auditioned for an unknown role in an unknown film. Armed with her bikini and dancing skills she landed a role in the iconic Return of the Jedi. Nearly fifteen years later she reprised the role for the Special Edition and amazingly hadn’t aged a day – she even fitted in to the original costume!

Lin Zy, a Star Wars artist, produced a limited edition print of “Our Actions Define Our Legacy” for Celebration Europe which features woman, both good and bad, from the Clone Wars saga. Lin was rocking The Clone Wars look in an Ahsoka Tano tunic from Ashley Eckstein’s Her Universe shop which makes Sci-Fi clothes for woman of all ages and sizes.

Amy Allen was production assistant for Industrial Light & Magic when she was given the part of Twi’lek Jedi, Aayla Secura, in Attack of the Clones. She said it was a bit odd to see herself on screens while working at Industrial Light & Magic but she loved being a part of it and also seeing all of the costumers dressed up at events.

Ashley Eckstein is the voice of Ahsoka Tano on The Clone Wars but originally she was given an audition to voice the role of Padmé Amidala, a long time Star Wars fan she was very excited to audition even if she knew she didn’t have the voice of Padmé. During the audition Ashley was stopped and asked to return later and read for the part of a teenager from Iceland. As an unusual accent Ashley set to work voice training to improve her Icelandic but when it came to the day she was asked to be more Icelandic. After so much practice she snapped back that she was speaking in an Icelandic accent and it seemed that in her response Ashley showed just the sort of spunk that they were looking for in Ahsoka. It was over a month later that Ashley found out she had got the part of the mysterious teenager but she still wouldn’t know who she would be playing until day one of the job!

One of the things that Ashley loves about The Clone Wars is that even though Ahsoka is the first lead female Jedi it’s not constantly referenced in the show but they do still use Ahsoka’s female talents to her advantage – for example using her small size to sneak into places.

Panel attendees were treated to a surprise guest of Mary Franklin – the lady behind Celebration Europe! Mary lived in a remote fishing village in Alaska but had no one to share her love of Star Wars with until the internet came in to her life. She set up a chatroom called Star Ladies for women who shared her love of Star Wars and soon found herself the president of one of the largest online Star Wars communities and as part of this ran a newsletter. A long time fan she flew to Anchorage just to watch the episode one trailer! One day she got a call from Lucasfilm offering her an Events job after they had been reading her newsletter and she jumped at the chance! Mary loves her job – she gets to work with fans all day and host the biggest Star Wars party of them all.