Star Wars: The Force Awakens is almost here. We learned a few new things after a recent press conference, and small tidbits of information surrounding the Star Wars have spilled out since that event. For example, Carrie Fisher, who plays General Leia in Star Wars, recently spoke out about seeing the film and mentioned that it was really good.
Many have wondered about Leia’s level of involvement in the film. If marketing is any indication, she will have a significant role to play, but we still don’t know about whether she can harness the mysterious power of the Force. In Return of the Jedi, Luke makes it clear to Leia that she has that power, but from what we’ve seen, she doesn’t look like a Jedi. At least, she doesn’t look like we expect a Jedi to look.
In speaking with J.J. Abrams, the director of The Force Awakens, IGN asked him about Leia and why she didn’t become a Jedi after Return of the Jedi. Abrams’ reaction tells us something. First, he reveals that even if Leia hasn’t become a Jedi yet, it’s not too late.
“It’s funny because, in talking about this, even with George Lucas, the question of…what age can someone learn the Force, and become a Jedi. And I would like to think that there really isn’t much of a ticking clock, and it’s never too late.”
Also of note is the implication that Abrams worked with George Lucas at some level. We know that Disney and Lucas parted ways, but this quote indicates that George Lucas was involved at least in the beginning. And Abrams’ response leaves the door open for Leia to become a Jedi in the future, regardless of her age. But he then went on to explain why Leia has not become a Jedi in the 30 years since we last saw her:
“It was a great question, and one that we talked about quite a bit, even with Carrie [Fisher]…Why did she not take advantage of this natural Force strength that this character had. And one of the answers was that it was simply a choice that she made, that her decision to run the Rebellion, and ultimately this Resistance, and consider herself a General, as opposed to a Jedi. It was simply a choice that she took.”
From the sound of it, Leia has been busy since Return of the Jedi. The Empire did not vanish immediately, and Leia would have been helping with the new system of government. Once the First Order showed up, and Leia became a general of the resistance, her responsibilities likely increased. So it makes sense that she would feel her responsibilities lay elsewhere to help bring peace to the galaxy.
Abrams had one very interesting comment to add:
“But clearly we’ve seen, and we do again, that she still is Force strong. And it’s something that I think is an intrinsic piece of her character.”
Whatever path Leia took and will potentially take, it seems clear that Abrams is keen on reminding viewers of the character’s familial proximity to Force users and her own inherent ability to wield it. And who knows, maybe when this crisis is all over she will have time to focus on her Jedi training. At any rate, fans don’t have long to wait to find out.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens releases in theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.