She’s clearly in control of any situation she’s placed in with any of her “suitors” throught the OT.
Yeah, I wouldn’t go as far as predatory either. But her side of the story is that she plays the sexual harassment game. She’s in control in the sense that she willingly plays along. It’s all just well-meaning banter, it’s even charming. This isn’t just Empire, this is commonplace throughout film in general, and more overt in older films and literature. The man harasses, and the woman, whether she opts to fight back or not, ultimately blushes because harassment is just so flattering. That’s the problem. It’s the storyline in general, not whether Leia can handle herself within that storyline.
Watching it today, there’s some wincing in parts, as with many older films with this type of romance. Not because Empire is particularly bad in this regard – in fact, I’d say it’s better than its contemporaries – but because writers from that time period regularly normalized this sort of thing, that’s all. That said, I cheer a little inside when Han asks Leia’s opinion of where they should go next when they’re drifting in the Anoat system. It’s a little seemingly inconsequential moment that helps give their relationship a much-needed sense of partnership. It’s not all bad.
Again, Empire is a classic film and a favorite of mine. I love Casablanca as well too, but I also wince at how Sam is treated, even though I know it was very progressive for its time. There’s no such thing as a timeless film.