For testosterone-driven sci-fi devotees in their 30s and early 40s (such as this reporter), the universe changed about 15 minutes into 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
The Star Wars galaxy (and, in most cases, our own lives) were blissful, asexual realms of brave adventures and weapon-wielding heroes threatened only by their assigned villains and (if they weren’t careful) “cooties”/”girl germs.” Sure, Han Solo smooched Princess Leia a little inside that giant slug, but that’s what heroes are supposed to do when there are no Sith Lords handy. Captain Kirk did the same thing with alien chicks to fight boredom when there were no Klingons to phaser. It was nothing we wanted to do.
Then, there was Jedi. Tattooine. Jabba the Hutt and his dark, foreboding palace. Lando in hiding. Chewbacca brought in as a prisoner by Leis in disguise. She managed to free Han from the carbonite, but (of course) she was captured. She was only a girl, after all.
Only a girl. Only a slave girl chained to Jabba’s side. A slave girl in that outfit.
For some boys, the sight of Leia lounging in that gear proved that they were officially amidst the asteroid collision called puberty. For some others, the image suddenly introduced them to the possibility of looming reproductive maturity. “That’s what Leia looked like under the thermal clothes of Hoth?