“Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?” she says, directed at Luke Skywalker, who’s dressed in a stormtrooper disguise and trying to rescue her.
Why is this a problem for me? It’s not because I’m an advocate for the rights of short people, and it’s not because she’s about to be terminated and should’ve been thinking more, well, deeper thoughts about the galaxy and the afterlife. I simply think she got the adjective wrong (even if Luke Skywalker was a bit shorter than the average stormtrooper. Six inches to be exact it turns out: Stormtrooper Height: 1.83m tall, 6ft., Luke Skywalker Height: 1.72m, 5ft 6in)
I just always thought, “Aren’t you a little smart for a stormtrooper?” sounded better.
I say this for a variety of reasons, most of which reflect upon the dumbing down of Imperial troops between Episodes Three and Four. But also giving a nod to Princess Leia’s obvious wise-assed mouth. Throughout the second (read better) half of the series, Princess Leia aptly proves that she can talk shit with the best of them, enduring ridicule from Han Solo, slimy come-ons from Jabba The Hutt and straight up psychological abuse from the likes of Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin. But she holds it down as well as any intergalactic fallen senator’s adopted daughter could be expected, and then some.
So in her infinite wisdom on the war of words a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, she should’ve known better than to think that calling a befuddled clone “short” might hurt one’s feelings. It’s alright to be short. The force doesn’t have an age or height restriction. And call me optimistic about the culture of clones, but I don’t really think an entire legion of people that look and act identically are going to be picking on each other’s height. Who knows though? Maybe some of the clones were copies of other copies, and maybe the odd clone did come out a little f’d up.
But there’s another tier to my theory on Princess Leia’s misplaced insult. Stormtroopers were dumb, incredibly weak-minded undividuals that never ever accomplished what was set out in front of them. I’ve compiled a small list of examples to illustrate this fact.
1) Find two droids on a desolate desert planet with a “No Droids” rule in the bars: FAIL
2) Discover those same two droids, interrogate their owners on a busy Mos Eisley street and let them landspeed away free: CHECK
3) Guard the Millennium Falcon in your OWN space station, make sure no one hijacks it: FAIL
4) Stand by and watch your commander Darth Vader battle his age-old enemy Obi-Wan Kenobi but idly do nothing about it: CHECK
5) Make sure a ragged band of under-financed farmers does not destroy your ultra-modern, intergalactic space station: FAIL
And that’s just Episode Four alone. I’m not even gonna mention the many times they were taken out by bipedal teddy bears with wooden spears in Episode Six. My point is simple: Stormtroopers never accomplished anything. They were the Empire’s utterly useless, pot-smoking older son that couldn’t hold down a job, hated school and wore a denim jacket to school. And owing more credence to the copy of a copy theory, they were getting dumber by the day, or parsec, however you wanna measure it. So Princess Leia must’ve known this, or must’ve at least suspected it, or must’ve wanted to call someone “stupid” at one point or another in her short life thus far. Especially if she was on the Imperial chopping block. The time was now.
Fortunately, Luke Skywalker was in a rush to rescue her, and maybe just a little hard-skinned too. And fortunately, his aspirations were to become a jedi, not a basketball player.
I still think my line works better though.