Were there any female rebel pilots in Return of the Jedi? From a certain point of view – yes. But there could have been a few more if editing had gone a different way.
Below is a screenshot of actress Poppy Hands who played on A-Wing pilot in Return of the Jedi. She appeared in the film, but her dialogue was dubbed over with a male actor’s voice.
Two other women shot some footage as pilots in the Battle of Endor, but none of these scenes made the final cut of the film. You can see footage of all three actresses in the video below.
When I did the breakdown of women in Return of the Jedi for FANgirl blog I also spotted these two female rebel pilots in the briefing room.
These women were the first female pilots in Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back had some female Rebels, but not pilots). Audiences would have to wait for The Phantom Menace to get a female pilot who had some lines.
Check out the entire list of women in 365 Days of Star Wars Women in the Women in Star Wars Index. It includes highlights from each post plus notes which posts include new 365 interviews with actresses, writers, artists, and more.