An artist who contributed to one of the most iconic scenes from the Star Wars movies is attempting to get appropriate credit for her work. Marilee Heyer, an illustrator who provided concept art for Star Wars character Princess Leia, is taking legal action against Disney for attribution.
In the ’80s, Heyer was commissioned by Lucasfilm to help design some aspects of science fiction movie Return of the Jedi. According to a report by SFGate, she was storyboarding early parts involving Jabba the Hutt, but a background in fashion led to her pitching on Princess Leia’s costumes to George Lucas and director Richard Marquand.
This was at the behest of head costume designer Nilo Rodis-Jamero. Ultimately, Heyer’s contributions ended up being integral to Leia’s design as we see in Jabba’s palace, with her hair down and the gold bikini ensemble. the look is synonymous with the franchise, referenced numerous times across comics and visual collections. Credit for Heyer has been a struggle since she had to request such from Lucasfilm for an artbook in 1983.
Now, she says she’s approached Disney with an attorney to have her name attached to all artwork based on her concepts. Not for royalties mind, but for the principle of it. “There were no royalties, I know that for sure,” she says.
“I would like to be remembered if this is my legacy,” she adds. “If this is what I’m most noted for, I want to make sure I’m getting credited when I’m no longer around. I view my artwork like my children. You have to be able to send them out and give them the tools they need to fight.”