Princess Leia's bikini

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Princess Leia's bikini
Princess Leia bikini-Return of the Jedi (1983).jpg
Princess Leia (played by Carrie Fisher) in her iconic "metal bikini" slave outfit from Return of the Jedi
DesignerAggie Guerard Rodgers[1] and Rodis-Jamero[2]
Year1983 (1983)
TypeBikini/film costume
MaterialCopper plate and wire, leather and silk

Princess Leia's bikini (also known as Princess Leia's metal bikini) is an iconic costume worn by actress Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in the 1983 Star Wars film Return of the Jedi.


Costume designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers built the costume as part of the Industrial Light & Magic visual effects company,[1] along with Nilo Rodis-Jamero.[3] Rodgers said that Lucas gave her only general instructions about the scene in Jabba's palace, but wanted a special costume. She originally "wanted 25 yards of fabric to be flowing through the scene", but could not make it work.[1]

The outfit was first developed in sketches by Rodis-Jamero, assistant art director of visual effects for The Empire Strikes Back and the Return of the Jedi costume designer.[2] Rodgers said in 2006 that the costume's design was inspired by the work of science fiction artist Frank Frazetta, saying "He really loved [the female] form. The fact that [Leia's costume is] such a female sensual costume, I think is terrific."[1] Author Rikke Schubart wrote in 2007 that the final design was inspired by Fantastic Story Magazine's cover illustrator Earle K. Bergey drawings of women in metal bikinis that served as putative armors.[4] The costume is a type that can be traced to earlier films, such as Myrna Loy’s turn as the native dancing girl in The Desert Song from 1929, Yvonne De Carlo in Slave Girl, 1947, and Maria Montez adventure films from the 1940s.[3] The bikini was also worn by stuntwoman Tracy Eddon for the film.[5] In the 1997 PlayStation game Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi, Leia wears the outfit as "Slave Leia", an unlockable playable character.

Design and material[edit]

Princess Leia's slave costume from Episode VI

Rodgers and the staff created multiple versions of the metal bikini string to accommodate different scenes in the film, including a hard metal piece (original bronze bra by Sculptor Richard Miller who is credited as "head jeweler" in the film credits) for scenes in which Fisher remained still, and a rubber outfit she and stuntwoman Tracy Eddon could wear comfortably while performing stunts.[1] The costume designers made a mold of Carrie Fisher's torso so it could be designed to a custom fit.[1] Fisher said of the material, "It was like steel, not steel, but hard plastic, and if you stood behind me you could see straight to Florida. You'll have to ask Boba Fett about that."[6] She also said the bikini is "what supermodels will eventually wear in the seventh ring of hell."[7]

  • Top: The outfit consisted of a patterned copper brassiere with a curved, plunging neckline that fastened behind the neck and back with string.
  • Bottom: The outfit had a copper plate at the front and both the front and the back were covered by a red silk loincloth.[8]
  • Accessories: Fisher wore knee-high boots of leather, a hair fastener that positioned her braided ponytail to cascade over her right shoulder, two bracelets, and a snake arm-wrap. She also wore a chain and collar that bound her to Jabba the Hutt, her captor, which she used to kill him.[8]


Featured only in two scenes, the "Slave Leia" costume has nonetheless made Carrie Fisher an iconic sex symbol.[9][10] The outfit has been elevated to pop culture icon status, spawning various spoofs and parodies and even a dedicated fansite.[11] Wired wrote that the only reason for the costume's fame is "no doubt that the sight of Carrie Fisher in the gold sci-fi swimsuit was burned into the sweaty subconscious of a generation of fanboys hitting puberty in the spring of 1983."[1] Noah Berlatsky argued in The Guardian for a deeper significance to the costume beyond its function as a sex symbol, stating that the outfit represents an important stage in Princess Leia's complicated relationship with Han Solo.[12] Peter W. Lee argues that the bikini connotes Leia's hopelessness and helplessness, but even in that demeaning costume she retains her dignity and remains an icon of feminism.[13]

The costume is a popular cosplay at Star Wars Celebrations and comic conventions,[9][10] and has become a popular Halloween costume.[14][15][16][17] Various celebrities have also been shown wearing the costume. Melissa Joan Hart, the star of the shows Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, was photographed wearing the outfit during a costume party.[18] Kerri Kasem, a radio and television host, has been photographed wearing the costume.[19] Actress/model Phoebe Price wore it at the San Diego Comic-Con International in 2010.[20] Liana K, the Canadian co-host of Ed & Red's Night Party and a well-known cosplayer, appeared at 2008 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo dressed in Princess Leia's slave girl outfit.[21][22] Comedian Amy Schumer wore a replica of Leia's slave outfit for the August 2015 cover of GQ.[23]

With Disney's 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm, merchandise featuring the costume ceased to be made, apparently in response to a Fox News segment in which parents described difficulties explaining toys featuring the costume (including a chain around Leia's neck) to their children. Fisher called Disney's decision "stupid," saying, "Tell [the kids] that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn't like it."[24]

In popular culture[edit]

Year Work Episode/Scene Character/Actor Note Reference
1983 Rolling Stone Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) Fisher wears the costume in a photo shoot, which appears on the magazine's cover. [25]
1983 Star Wars comic "Chanteuse of the Stars..." Princess Leia Leia dresses up in a similar costume (while wearing a blonde wig) and sings to appease a crowd; set before the events of Return of the Jedi. [26]
1996 Friends "The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy" Rachel Green (played by Jennifer Aniston) Rachel dresses up in the costume to arouse her boyfriend Ross Geller (David Schwimmer). [1][27]
2000 Family Guy "He's Too Sexy for His Fat" Slave Worn by a slave of Jabba the Griffin (voiced by Seth MacFarlane)
2011 "It's a Trap!" Lois Griffin as Princess Leia (voiced by Alex Borstein) Worn by Lois Griffin
2003 Justice League "Hearts and Minds" Katma Tui Worn by Green Lantern, Katma Tui, while she is undercover
2007 Robot Chicken "Robot Chicken: Star Wars" Princess Leia (voiced by Candace Bailey) Star Wars-themed special of the show Robot Chicken aired on Cartoon Network
2007 Dancing with the Stars Fourth season Kym Johnson Dancing with singer Joey Fatone to the tune of the "Star Wars main theme" [27]
2007 Chuck "Chuck Versus the Sandworm" Agent Sarah Walker (played by Yvonne Strahovski) A fake photo of Sarah in the costume is central to the storyline, and she later wears it for real.
Strahovski's appearance wearing the slave bikini costume prompted Wizard magazine to rank her No. 24 of the 25 sexiest women on TV in 2008.[28] IGN gave Strahovski the top honor in a similar list.[29]
2009 Fanboys Zoe (played by Kristen Bell) Comedy film about a group of friends who decide to break into Skywalker Ranch to steal an early print of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace [27]
2011 Paul Various extras Comedy film about an alien (voiced by Seth Rogen) who is on run from the authorities. The film makes many homages to various sci-fi films, including a scene portraying a large number of women dressed in Leia's bikini at Comic Con.
2015 Shantae and the Pirate's Curse "Tan Line Island" Stage Shantae (voiced by Cristina Vee) In this video game, Shantae visits a desert area called Tan Line Island where she is mistaken by the locals for their princess and is forced to wear the outfit, which she refers to as a "space princess" outfit. She later finds her friends Risky, Rotty, and Sky have been forced into the same situation and they all work together to escape. Later in the game, Sky hopes to never speak of the debacle again, at which point Shantae happily puts the costume back on to Sky's dismay.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Cult of Leia's Metal Bikini". Wired. July 11, 2006. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Star Wars Homing Beacon #168." Archived here and here. Retrieved August 24, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Princess Leia, Jabba’s Slave Bikini Archived October 1, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Smithsonian
  4. ^ Rikke Schubart, Super bitches and action babes: the female hero in popular cinema, 1970–2006, page 225, McFarland & Co., 2007, ISBN 0-7864-2924-0
  5. ^ Star Wars secrets: leia's teeny bikini, IGN
  6. ^ Star Wars Insider 68
  7. ^ Fisher, Carrie (May 16, 1999). "Postcards From the Edge of the Galaxy". Newsweek. Archived from the original on July 2, 2001. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Douglas Brode, Leah Deyneka (2012). Sex, Politics, and Religion in Star Wars: An Anthology. p. 79, Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810885141
  9. ^ a b Townsend, Allie (July 5, 2011). "Princess Leia's Gold Bikini in Return of the Jedi". Time. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  10. ^ a b "The Hottest Slave Leia Cosplay on Instagram". Cosplay News Network. January 21, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  11. ^ Crowley, Dan (2007). 505 Unbelievably Stupid Webpages. p. 191 (entry 127), Sourcebooks, Inc., ISBN 9781402248221
  12. ^ Berlatsky, Noah (November 5, 2015). "The 'slave Leia' controversy is about more than objectification". The Guardian. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  13. ^ Lee, Peter W. (2016). A Galaxy Here and Now: Historical and Cultural Readings of Star Wars. McFarland & Co. pp. 68–69. ISBN 978-1-4766-2408-2.
  14. ^ Dunlap, Brett (October 20, 2013). "Popular Halloween decor, costumes". The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  15. ^ Davis, Carin (2010). Life, Love, Lox: Real-World Advice for the Modern Jewish Girl. Running Press. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-76244-041-2 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ Greene, Joseph. The ComMANdments; The Official Guide Book to Man Rules. II. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-45838-473-7.
  17. ^ National Costumers Association (U.S.) (1998). "1998 Hollywood Trend Report". Costume! Business. Festivities Publications. 1.
  18. ^ "Princess Leia's Metal Bikini". Wired. July 11, 2006. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  19. ^ "Kerri Kasem Photo Gallery". Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  20. ^ "Phoebe Price Channels Slave Leia". Celebuzz. 2010. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  21. ^ Carl Silvio, Tony M. Vinci, Culture, identities, and technology in the Star wars films, page 117, McFarland & Co., 2007, ISBN 0-7864-2910-0
  22. ^ Heath McCoy (April 26, 2008). "Geek girls gone wild!". Calgary Herald. Archived from the original on April 27, 2008.
  23. ^ Zach Johnson (July 15, 2015). "Amy Schumer Wears Princess Leia's Bikini, Seduces C-3PO and R2-D2 and Poses Topless in GQ". E!. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  24. ^ Shamsian, Jacob (December 11, 2017). "Carrie Fisher had a great response to anyone who was upset about the Princess Leia bikini in 'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi'". Insider. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  25. ^ Wild, Chris. "1983: The gold bikini at the beach, because that makes sense". Mashable. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  26. ^ Duffy, Jo; Frenz, Ron (2015). Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years – Volume 2. New York: Marvel Comics. pp. 797, 814. ISBN 9780785193425.
  27. ^ a b c d Labrecque, Jeff (February 6, 2009). "Princess Leia on film and TV". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  28. ^ Rossen, Jake; Wizard Staff (February 18, 2008). "Top 25 Sexiest Women on TV". Wizard. Archived from the original on February 25, 2008. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  29. ^ "25 Boob Tube Babes". IGN. February 15, 2008. Retrieved December 1, 2015.

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