question of the day: Why do you think three female Rebel pilots were cut from Return of the Jedi?

Vivienne Chandler female rebel pilot Star Wars Return of the Jedi

Say what? There were originally not one, not two, but three female Rebel pilots in the finale battle in Return of the Jedi and they all got cut? *grrrr*

From BuzzFeed:

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… 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.

(More at Star Wars Aficionado Magazine here and here.)

Maybe moviegoers would have been disturbed by women dying in battle. But 1) Why shouldn’t they be disturbed by that, and if they wouldn’t have been disturbed by men dying in battle, isn’t that a problem? And 2) The scenes with women pilots were written, cast, shot, edited, etc, and no one figured this for a problem, so what changed at the last minute?

Why do you think three female Rebel pilots were cut from Return of the Jedi? And are you as angry about this as I am? It’s one thing if the George Lucas Star Wars machine had blinders about the role of women in war and so it simply never occurred to anyone to get women warriors in the mix. But now we now that that’s not the case. Deliberate decisions were made to remove women warriors. Dammit.

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