This post contains SPOILERS for the novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan

One of the more curious aspects of the original Star Wars trilogy is how and why the young Princess Leia Organa is a key member of the Rebel Alliance, and the new novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray (set three years before A New Hope) looks to answer that question. At age 19, when her twin brother Luke Skywalker was working on his uncle’s moisture farm, Leia was making a name for herself as a take-charge leader standing up to the Empire’s corrupt and oppressive form of government. Growing up as a member of the Royal Family Organa, it isn’t surprising Leia became so involved, and she was an integral part of the whole thing very early on.

Due to her upbringing, Leia never was an Imperial sympathizer and was always happy to push back. She embarked on multiple “mercy missions” across the galaxy, looking to provide supplies and resources to worlds in need. Leia even found loopholes in regulations to save the lives of refugees – much to the chagrin of higher-ups. Believing the best way to fight back against Palpatine is through channels like the Senate, Leia was eager to follow her father’s footsteps to make a difference in the universe, but unbeknownst to her, her adoptive parents were taking far more serious strides to reestablish freedom in the galaxy.

Crait & Paucris Major Discoveries

The Crait Base in Star Wars The Last Jedi Star Wars: How Princess Leia Joined The Rebel Alliance

Along with allies like Mon Mothma, Bail and Breha are at the forefront of a covert operation looking for a way to oppose the Empire. The elder Organas keep this a secret from their daughter out of concern for her safety. Bail and Breha felt if they were ever discovered, it would be better for Alderaan if Leia was completely innocent of wrongdoing. That way, she could be appointed to the position of Queen under the guise of a normal transference of power. Because of their secretive activities, Bail and Breha do not have as much time for Leia, which at times strains their relationship. As a result, Leia is left to her own devices frequently, and she eventually uncovers the truth through her own intuition.

Doing some late work for the Apprentice Legislature (an Imperial program where youngsters like Leia handle seemingly trivial tasks like selecting the site for a new academy), Leia stumbles across documents on Calderos Station – an outpost that had just been attacked by unknown forces. Curious to learn more, Leia peels back the layers and sees that an unusual amount of shipments was going from Calderos to the remote planet Crait (which will be seen in The Last Jedi). Commandeering the Organa’s vessel, the Polestar, with pilot Ress Batten, Leia goes off to explore the salt-covered world and figure out what’s going on. Upon arriving on the surface, she is captured and brought to a shelter, where she discovers her father is leading a resistance that was behind the incident at Calderos. Returning to Alderaan, Bail and Breha explain to Leia the basic outline of the rebellion, but refuse to allow her to become a meaningful part of it due to reasons described in the above paragraph.

Star Wars The Last Jedit Crait land speeders Star Wars: How Princess Leia Joined The Rebel Alliance

The Battle of Crait in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Knowing what her family is really up to only makes things more difficult for Leia, who feels as if she’s being held back. The best she can do, at least within the eyes of her parents, is befriend people such as Mon Mothma and form alliances with her fellow Apprentice Legislature members. That isn’t enough for Leia, who once again takes matters into her own hands and does some snooping around the royal palace one night. Her mother is skilled at accounting and bookkeeping, so Leia does some digging around to learn more about the Alliance’s funding. Discovering a file labeled “spaceport development,” examination uncovered several credits being put into a project located at Paucris Major. Going on another expedition with Batten, Leia makes another startling discovery about what’s being planned.

At this port, the two find the makings of a Rebel fleet; a plethora of transports and battleships (some refurbished from the Clone Wars era) that are being prepared for an imminent galactic war. Bail and Breha were among the Rebels that supported “controlled, directed military action” against the Empire, but Leia was under the impression they did not align with the extremist tendencies of Saw Gerrera. This, however, makes her reconsider that sentiment. While Leia was not supposed to learn of this, her inquisitive nature ended up being beneficial and saved the lives of countless people.

Page 2 of 2: Leia Proves Her Worth

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