Leia’s Imperial Mask Shows What She’d Look Like as a Sith
Contains spoilers for Star Wars #29!In a story set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Princess Leia just adopted an eerie mask that gives Star Wars fans a look at who she’d have become if she’d given in to her surprising Sith potential. In an attempt to win advanced technology for the Rebel cause, Amilyn Holdo invites Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, and Lando to Spira, where they bid for recovered Nihil technology which would give them a major advantage over the Empire.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, Spira is firmly situated in the Galactic Core, meaning Luke and Leia’s group are hobnobbing with the people most likely to report them to the Empire. As such, when they attend the auction, they do so in costumes designed to blend in with the Imperial aristocracy. Luke gets a Zorro-like mask and suit, but Leia gets a more disturbing mask that speaks to a dark undercurrent on this privileged world.
Leia attends the auction in a white robe and mask, with only her eyes and neck visible. The mask’s featureless visage is disturbingly fixed, and more than a little haunting in the issue’s cover art, from Erik M. Gist. The interior art by Ramon Rosanas and Rachelle Rosenberg is a little less intense, but the costume still shows who Leia could have been if she’d embraced the Empire’s rule rather than fighting for freedom. Given her family’s tendency to symbolize a turn to the dark side with a face-covering mask, it’s hard not to see this costume as a hint at what Leia’s Sith persona would have been like – and that transformation was a lot more likely than you may think. The issue is written by Charles Soule with lettering by Clayton Cowles.
Leia’s Imperial Disguise Is Her Perfect Sith Look
Though presented in white – the opposite of the Sith’s black wardrobe – Leia’s costume echoes her father Darth Vader in other ways. The fixed expression of the mask hides Leia’s true face from the world, while its impassive expression is impossible to read, capable of suggesting either cruelty or apathy. The imagery of clean, untouched white robes also suggests a Leia who didn’t get her hands dirty with the Rebellion and positions herself above the common rabble, and it’s possible to read the entire ensemble as a parody of the powerful, unassailable royal she could have been if she’d played along with Palpatine’s rule. All that’s needed for a true Sith rebirth is for this costume to switch to black, and for Leia to embrace the rage she felt during her original Jedi training.
Leia Knew She Had Sith Potential
While Leia’s training is mostly skipped over in both Legends and current canon, in the original Extended Universe, she quit because she realized her potential for darkness, worrying her wrath would turn her into the next Darth Vader. Shown in Star Wars Tales #16‘s ‘The Other’ by Jason Hall and John McCrea, Leia’s fury in dealing with an assailant who almost harmed her child unleashes a darkness within her that she immediately recognizes as a potential path to the dark side. While it puts a stop to her aspirations as a Jedi in the short term, it’s also a moment that gives her a window into Vader’s experience and allows her to better understand her fallen father.
Leia’s ‘Sith’ Costume Mirrors Her Mother
It’s worth noting that Leia’s Imperial mask and outfit also echo her mother, Queen Padmé Amidala. Padmé’s ceremonial attire included white make-up which was even used to hide her identity, as her body doubles – known as the Queen’s shadows – would sometimes take on her role, with the stylized appearance helping to blend their features. Turning this tribute into a mask undercuts it, and as a Sith costume, Leia’s look could corrupt Padmé’s memory in much the same way as Vader’s rage did. Thankfully, Princess Leia remained a hero to the end in every Star Wars timeline, but any fan imagining her Sith potential need look no further than this haunting design.
Star Wars #29 is available now from Marvel Comics.