Star Wars has one of the biggest and most devoted fan bases on the planet. That fan base has taken more than 40 years to develop to its current status, and has proven its ability to astonish audiences with its innovative stories and inspiring characters. In any thriving fandom, fan art is also thriving. Fans take inspiration from the stories they love and use it to be creative themselves. The creativity of Star Wars fans often seems limitless, so much so that Rian Johnson and J.J. Abrams, who were fans of the original films, are now making Star Wars movies themselves.
When fans reinterpret the characters that they’ve seen in these films, those reinterpretations take on a variety of forms. Sometimes, the artists reverse the genders of the characters, imagining Vader as a woman, or Rey as a man. These reinterpretations give these characters new meaning. We are forced to imagine what it would be like if the characters we had grown to love were men instead of women, or vice versa. Of course, it’s entirely possible that nothing at all would be different. Star Wars has an enormous number of characters, each of which would be interesting with a different gender.
Here are 17 Crazy Gender-Bending Star Wars Redesigns.
17 The First Order Trio
The first order is a lot like the Empire. Perhaps that’s part of the point, but whatever the case may be, there are certainly echoes to the original trilogy in this new evil order. If this new trilogy had wanted to make more of a name for itself, it could have created a group of villains that were entirely female. This image by Sash-kash imagines that reality, with female versions of Snoke, Hux, and Kylo Ren.
Although Kylo Ren and Hux are given fairly faithful reinterpretations, some liberty was taken with Snoke to make the female version appear slightly more human. That’s understandable, given how strange Snoke’s features are. To have that kind of villainous woman at the center would have been fascinating. Alas, the bad guys are still basically all dudes.
16 The Original Trilogy Squad
Reimagining the original trilogy squad is one of the most popular vehicles for artists interested in swapping the genders of Star Wars characters. In this particular picture by Mollybrooks, we get to check out what Old Ben would look like if "he" was a "she." It would have been amazing to see a story about an older female Jedi teaching a young female prodigy like Luke the ways of the Force.
That’s the kind of story that we rarely get in Hollywood, and it’s one that Star Wars has yet to give us. Old Ben is an iconic character, and although Carrie Fisher has been great as Leia in the most recent films, Star Wars has yet to give us an older woman who has the kind of power and wisdom that Ben and Yoda had in the original trilogy.
15 Lady Ren
Kylo Ren has one of the best costumes in the series, and that costume gets a real upgrade from Isaiah Stephens. Although the mask and cloak are virtually the same, it’s hard to argue that female Kylo Ren doesn’t have much better boots than her male counterpart.
Of course, a wardrobe isn’t everything, and the notion of a female villain would further complicate the gender roles at play in the current series. Adam Driver’s broody, introspective character would be equally great if she were female and could be played by someone like , who asserts the same type of presence as Driver. Mara may not even want the part, but if she did, she’d surely be just as good as Driver.
14 Kitty Fisto
One of the best things about the Star Wars universe is the incredible number of characters that inhabit that world. Not only are the principal characters deeply compelling, but even secondary and tertiary characters have plenty of stories worth hearing. One such minor character is Kit Fisto, a Jedi from the prequel trilogy who has a basically silent role in those films.
Even so, Fisto’s presence in the expanded universe was so strong that fans have taken to swapping his gender. ElTheGeneral's Kitty Fisto would have been a great addition to the Jedi team. The Jedi don’t seem to take on many women for reasons that are never entirely clear. Having more around may have saved them some of the trouble they got into with Anakin.
13 Leia Skywalker
This gender swap is interesting because it is actually more of a role reversal. In this piece, Jen imagines that Leia takes Luke’s role in the trilogy, becoming the story’s hero and ultimately realizing that Darth Vader is her father at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
The fight between Luke and Darth Vader at the end of that film is already one of the most iconic moments in Star Wars history, and it would have been fascinating to see Leia take Luke’s spot in that fight. Despite her presence in five different Star Wars films, we have yet to see Leia wielding a lightsaber. This image, which imagines her doing just that, is powerful because it lacks any basis in Leia’s actual story.
12 Lady Vader And Friends
Darth Vader is one of the most iconic characters in cinema history. He’s a villain with a soul; someone who is ultimately at least partially redeemed. The female Darth Vader, as drawn by xItachiUchiha, looks just as menacing as her male counterpart, and she’s not alone. To her right is a female version of Boba Fett, known as Boba Fetta, and to her left is a female version of Savage Opress known as Savage Opressa.
This trio of characters speaks to the lack of female villainy in the Star Wars saga. Thus far, the story's villains have been almost entirely male - with the exception of Phasma. Even Savage Opress, a character who only exists outside of the main story, is a man. We all know that men can be evil, but villainy comes in all shapes and sizes, and it’s time Star Wars recognized that.
11 General Hux
Part of the appeal of General Hux comes from his sneering quality. As played by Domhnall Gleeson, General Hux is clever and conniving, but he doesn’t have the same raw rage and power that Kylo Ren does.
The feminine Hux by nica11y is, naturally, fairly similar in appearance to her male counterpart. Although her hair is slightly longer, it’s still cut in a severe bob, and her eyes suggest that this female version of the character is just as fearsome as her male counterpart.
If anything, the female General Hux looks even more terrifying than her male counterpart. Hux is often Kylo Ren’s comic foil. His villainy is so cartoonish that the story’s other characters are always willing to make fun of it. This female Hux may not tolerate those jokes like male Hux does.
10 Luke, Leia, And Han
Luke, Leia, and Han are probably still the most iconic characters in the Star Wars universe. They’ve been with us for more than 40 years, and each one of them left an indelible impression on audiences. This piece of fanart by Hapo57 is interesting because, although the genders of each character are swapped, their costumes remain virtually identical.
Still, with just slight alterations to facial features and hair, you completely understand that the gender roles have been reversed. There’s Luka, Prince Leo, and Hana.
Although the original trilogy is pretty good as it is, watching this clever role reversal wouldn’t be without its charms. Hana Solo would be an especially interesting character. Female space pirates aren’t all that common, and seeing a woman who talked like Han would be remarkable, to say the least.
9 Boba Fett
Boba Fett is another character that had an incredibly minor role in the original trilogy, but has become a legend because of the role he took outside of the films. Alonzo-Canto's female Boba Fett suggests just how ubiquitous this character has become, and the results speak for themselves.
Boba got a full suit of body armor, but his female counterpart has a little less protection. That outfit may be impractical for a bounty hunter who’s always looking for a fight, but it definitely eye-catching. Even if the costuming is a bit impractical, it’s nice to see fans taking the question of gender representation into their own hands. Boba Fett may not be a woman in canon, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be female in fans’ imaginations.
8 Rey And Kylo Ren
The fascinating thing about this new trilogy is the way that it has made Rey and Kylo Ren co-leads. They’re both important to the way this story unfolds, and both of them are complicated and interesting characters. Because one of them is a woman and the other is a man, reversing the genders doesn’t tip the balance of the storytelling. Singlestar1990's art does create a situation where the lead is a man, but the villain is a woman.
Outside of action films, this dynamic is a fairly rare one. It’s certainly much less rare than a male villain. Of course, men have dominated the stories we tell for centuries. Although Star Wars is moving in the right direction in that regard, a female Kylo Ren would just be another good step.
7 Lucy Skywalker
Although Star Wars has yet to give us an older female mentor, we do have a female protagonist in the form of Rey. In many ways, Rey and Luke are hugely different characters. Luke is part of a legacy; a chosen one destined to save the universe from evil. Rey has come from nothing. She’s powerful, and she may have some destiny that we don’t yet understand, but she’s most important to the audience because of who she is.
If Luke had been a woman, we would have followed a classic hero’s journey that had a female character at its center. Although that may sound like basic storytelling, it’s remarkable how infrequently we get to watch hero’s journeys that focus on female characters. Watching MissSpock's Lucy go through it would have been new, especially in 1977.
6 Obi-Wan And Anakin
Although their relationship on screen wasn’t as interesting as it could have been, Obi-Wan and Anakin still had a fundamentally tragic friendship. This kind of friendship isn’t that common between men on screen, but it’s even less common for women. If Anakin and Obi-Wan had been female, the betrayal that took place between them would have been even more tragic because of the rarity of female friendship in big budget films.
Of course, Anakin and Obi-Wan aren’t the only characters that get the gender bender treatment in this drawing. There’s also a female version of Rexy, the RX unit that was in Nexus Skywalker’s service. Nexus is one of Luke’s great- grandchildren, so needless to say, Rexy is a little more obscure than either Obi-Wan or Anakin.
5 Han And Leia
Han and Leia are still the definitive love story of the Star Wars saga, and they would be just as well matched if their genders were swapped. If Hana Solo were forced to rescue Princess Liam, as MasterOf4Elements's sketch refers to them, from the Death Star, it would have been just as fun to watch as the version we actually saw play out.
Imagine how amazing the “I love you,” “I know” exchange would have been if the gender roles were reversed. Women don’t get to be indifferent to their male suitors often enough, and that’s a shame. This already epic love story would have been even more epic if the roles had been reversed, and a prince had fallen for a lovable rapscallion like Hana Solo.
4 Kylo Ren
Kylo Ren is one of the most interesting characters that Star Wars has ever produced. This piece of art by just-caro imagines a female version of the character, presumably as she’s about to fight Rey at Starkiller base near the end of The Force Awakens. That fight was already one of the best moments from that installment, and having a female version of Kylo Ren would have made the dynamic even more interesting.
This version of Kylo Ren seems to have a lot in common with the version fans are familiar with from the films, although her hair is quite a bit longer than Adam Driver’s. Kylo Ren’s conflict is so profound, and his angst is so great. Clearly, none of that is lost on just-caro here, as his female counterpart seems to be shouldering a burden of some kind as well.
3 Luke, Leia, And Han
Hapo57 had the brilliant idea to depict the trio from the original trilogy in action with their genders reversed. This gives the art a whole new meaning, as we see Hana and Luka rescuing a reluctant Prince Leo from the Death Star. Interestingly, Leo’s reluctance doesn’t seem any more severe than Leia’s was. Gender aside, both of these characters seem pretty proud.
It’s also great to see Hana Solo firing a blaster. Although Leia gets involved in the action in every film, she’s not as wild as Han got to be, so to see those roles reversed is really cool. Of course, Luka is just as doe-eyed and lost as Luke, at least judging by the picture. Some things will never change.
2 The Prequel Trilogy
This art by Shorelle may be the broadest in scope, as it covers the entirety of the prequel trilogy. Essentially, this piece imagines a world where Padme’s role is filled by a young boy, and Anakin’s is filled by a young girl. As the trilogy progresses, we slowly watch the young girl turn toward the dark side, even as the boy king watches on with horror.
This already tragic love story takes on added relevance when you imagine the role of Anakin played by a woman, perhaps one who is frustrated by the patriarchal order inside of the Jedi. Although the prequels are often maligned, those films have plenty of interesting elements, and this art teases out many of them, reminding us how tragic Anakin’s story really is.
1 The New Trilogy's Central Characters
This piece of art by kimiezz is great because it fundamentally reimagines every young character in the new Star Wars films. We get a chance to check out a female Finn and a female Poe, and a male version of Rey. In addition to being remarkably well drawn, each of these redesigns suggests a slightly more hopeful version of this chapter in the Star Wars saga.
Every character, even the villains, seem to have a glint of optimism in their eyes. There’s also the depiction of Reylo, the fan-imagined romantic relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey that hasn't to come to fruition in the actual trilogy. Here, reversing the genders seems to leave Kylo Ren blushing at Rey’s advances, as he tries to turn Kylo Ren toward the light.
What's your favorite piece of Star Wars fanart? Share your thoughts in the comments.