As someone who strongly dislikes wasting time coming up with clicky headlines and comment war-spurring edginess, I'm going to lay this particular bit of news out as straightforward as I can: People on the internet are freaking out because they think Disney is chucking Princess Leia's costume into the vault forever, and those particular people need to calm down.
First signaled by comic artist J Scott Campbell, a half-meltdown, half-screaming match has spurred within the Star Wars community, just as the dust began to clear after a bunch of racists basically proclaimed that they know nothing about how Stormtroopers worked within the Empire.
Responding to a rather overemotional Facebook post by Blake Northcutt, Campbell said:
We can’t even draw Leia in a sexy pose at Marvel, let alone in that outfit! ... We also had a 3-D SL statue killed at a major manufacturer because there will no longer be any SL merchandise.
Northcutt later asked Campbell if Disney was planning to edit over Leia's outfit in the films, which Campbell declined to answer.
Campbell also followed his comments with some clarification on twitter:
Now that the drama is out of the way, let me clarify what this likely means:
"Slave Leia" might not be part of marketing and retail merch. That's it.
Breathe. Relax. It's not that big of a deal!
What this means is that Target aisles won't contain the Black Series Slave Leia that looks deeply into your soul with small, beady eyes, waiting to devour your firstborn. You probably won't find her on retail posters, and she won't be awkwardly half-naked next to her fully-clothed brother and father on your kid's future copies of LEGO Star Wars games.
Disney isn't hunting down people who wear Slave Leia shirts in an effort to launch them off the planet, and they're not locking the costume away into a vault forever (though, you might want to find the person who bought it, because who knows what their vault looks like?). They're just making sure that the overall image of Leia that both adults and the children who are just now becoming Star Wars fans isn't that one.
In all honesty, Leia accounts for such a small margin of Star Wars merchandising anyway (ahem), there's pretty much no change being made. In fact, countless twitter campaigns and other efforts by fans in support of more Leia merchandise have only just now begun to receive any kind of response.
Back in the days of Kenner toys, a variety of Leia's outfits were available in the form of 3.75" figurines -- but with Hasbro and other retailers at the command, Leia (and many other women throughout the Star Wars universe) took a back seat to making as many Obi-Wan figurines with non-essential backpack accesories as possible. In fact, the only major Leia figurine that was widely distributed was Black Series Slave Leia, a universal peg-warmer at most retail stores. Where were all these angry people when Slave Leia wasn't selling any toys?
When many of us think of Princess Leia, we think of those iconic hair-buns. So while Disney may not be trying to push "Slave Leia" into the face of kids in their usually family-driven marketing, fans of the outfit still have the various forms of art, film, and 30+ years of gradually lessening Leia merch depicting her in the gold bikini. It's not a big deal, and you're gonna be okay. I promise.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th.