Artful Conception #10: The Star Wars Pose

What image could be more ubiquitous than the "Star Wars pose"? I call it that because the poster art for Star Wars featured perhaps the most recognizable example of the mighty He-Man with helpless damsel at his feet.  Granted, Leia is hardly helpless, and this theme may be better called the "Conan pose". Yet, Princess Leia is at his feet, and there can be no denying who's the knight and who's the maiden.

Of course, Conan wins the prize for using the pose the most - I swear half the Conan paintings, whether for paperbacks, comics or magazines, featured this pose. 

My favorite example is probably the poster art for National Lampoon's Vacation because it takes the well-worn imagery and turns it on its head by using it to represent an average middle class suburban family. Brilliant. Second place would have to go to the poster art for Army of Darkness, just because it takes the theme and exaggerates it more than other example out there. Indeed, Sam Raimi takes the "Star Wars pose" to the limit, and it's beautiful.

So, what's the sociological significance of this theme? Perhaps it's just another example of male dominance - the age-old chivalric hero saving the world for the beautiful princess. Perhaps, it's a subconscious symbol for oral sex (as I'm sure Freud would contend). Who knows? It's interesting to think about nonetheless.  Here's some examples... (click to enlarge)


  1. I think of it as the Frank Frazetta pose - he might have been the first - and certainly one of the best - http://frankfrazetta.org/images/frank_frazetta_thebarbarian.jpg - and plenty more here - http://frankfrazetta.org/

  2. Greetings from Laura at A Touch Of Tuesday Weld...

    ...I have you blogrolled now, and I cannot explain the oversight, as you obviously run THE GREATEST BLOG EVER KNOWN TO MANKIND.

    Love, love, love, love, LOVE it!


  3. Good point, number2. Frazetta did indeed use this pose an awful lot.

    Thank you, Laura. Much appreciated. Your blog is on my sidebar now as well.

  4. My favorite is also the Vacation spoof. I always thought that Frank Frazetta's work belonged to Boris Vallejo. I learn something new from you and your readers each time I check in.

  5. I love the tagline for Army of Darkness:
    "trapped in time,
    surrounded by evil,
    low on gas."

  6. Hah! Great post. I would kind of want to call it the Frazetta Pose, too, but I think Star Wars would be the more well known to the world.

  7. The best current use of the pose was at the end of "Black Dynamite." But that film was the best use of so many things.

  8. Tim - You are absolutely right, this is the best use of the pose... it's used within the movie and they hold that position for a while. Awesome movie. Can't recommend it enough.

  9. It may be called the Star Wars pose but the Star Wars poster itself is a poor example of the this iconic pose. I'll explain. Leia is not wrapped around Luke's leg nor is she cowering under his protection (note the gun and stance). In fact she is IN FRONT of Luke, so any threat that may come their way would be faced by Leia first. For prime examples of this pose see any number of Frazetta or Boris Vallejo paintings as many have noted. Great post by the way.