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In Return of the Jedi Carrie Fisher's character Leia ends up damseled and in a metal bikini.

Some accounts I have read suggest that Fisher requested a sexy costume, having been stuck in fairly frumpy outfits in the first two movies. Lucas felt it was a bit too much for a children's movie and used a combination of tape and editing to reduce the amount of fan service.

Other sources suggest that it was Lucas' idea and Fisher was not all that happy about it. When he mentioned it at an awards ceremony a few years ago she gave him the finger.

How did it come about and what was the intent behind her dressing in such a provocative way?

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An article about this particular costume (link here) includes an interview with one of the costumes designers Aggie Rodgers.

... she remembered that Lucas pointed her in the direction of a specific artist for inspiration, Frank Frazetta, whose illustrations of fantasy and sci-fi characters like Conan the Barbarian and John Carter of Mars have made him a genre legend. “He’s a wonderful illustrator of the imagination,” Rodgers says. “I used to get books on him all the time, and [Leia’s bikini] is very much from that milieu. George specifically said he wanted a bikini, and so that popped up in my mind, and we had the illustrator draw it up. I just kept pointing to different illustrations that I liked, and we just kept doodling and doodling and doodling until we came up with that.”

While this doesn't exclude the possibility of Carrie Fisher requesting a sexy outfit, it does indicate that George Lucas was after something fairly revealing.

The article goes on to how it was constructed in a way that wouldn't be overly or accidentally revealing given the amount of action that Fisher would be involved in.

According to Fisher (from an earlier interview), the costume was very uncomfortable.

[Fisher] recalled the physical discomfort that accompanied putting on Leia’s bikini. “You don’t want to sit. There were creases, legs bent, sweat. I don’t like sweating, I don’t know about you.”

Fisher was also quoted here as saying

That bikini was what supermodels will eventually wear in the seventh ring of hell.

There are other comments from Fisher that are negative about the costume, but more from Leia's point of view.

When asked about rumours that Disney was removing all 'slave Leia' mechandise, she responded:

“I think it’s stupid,” she replied. “The father who flipped out about it, 'What am I going to tell my kid about why she’s in that outfit?' Tell them 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. And then I took it off. Backstage.”

While Fisher's views on the costume could have changed over the years, the only negative comments I can find (excluding the knock on effect of making her more of a sex symbol and maybe an accidental flash to Boba Fett) are about its construction and how uncomfortable it was during filming.

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  • She also commented that it was rather more revealing than she would have hoped, when leaning forward. Tim Philpott and Dave Barclay apparently got an eyeful. – Valorum May 8 '20 at 23:00
  • @Valorum Between that and Boba Fett being able to "see straight to Florida" when he stood behind her, it sounds like the costume designers failed in their attempt to constuct it in a way that wasn't accidentally revealing. – K Mo May 8 '20 at 23:11
  • The bit about it being constructed not to be too revealing doesn't run true. It's not actually a bikini, the bottom part is more like a loin cloth with no "panty" part (sorry I'm not an expert on women's clothing terminology!) so it's reliant entirely on the cloth bit hanging straight to cover her up. – user May 9 '20 at 11:16
  • @user The bit about being constructed to be not too revealing was from an interview with one of the costumes designers (in the first link of my answer) and I assume was in terms filming. The second link has images of a photoshoot of Fisher in the bikini (can't guarantee it's the same one used in filming) and it definitely has an undercarriage (panty part). How successful it was in being not to revealing is debatable as it appears at least 3 people on set got an unexpected eyeful. – K Mo May 9 '20 at 12:48
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    Look at this image closely – K Mo May 9 '20 at 18:59

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