Evacuation of Praucis Major
Leia's involvement with the Apprentice Legislature periodically puts her in the company of one Grand Moff Tarkin, who is keen on grooming the next generation of Imperial leadership. One of the Empire's sharpest and best minds, Tarkin begins to suspect something is afoot when he crashes a lavish dinner party put together by Breha (which doubles as a "strategizing session" for the Rebellion). Keeping his skepticism to himself, Tarkin unintentionally revealed his hand in a private meeting with Leia, where he implied Bail and Breha's rule of Alderaan may soon come to an end and mentioned Paucris as one of the furthest systems the Empire hoped would be part of their perfect rule. Alarmed that Paucris was on Tarkin's radar, Leia rushed to inform Breha and Mon Mothma so they could plan accordingly.
With both tied up in official obligations and unable to make a move without raising more suspicions, it's up to Leia to lead the evacuation efforts. Hitching a ride with Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern's Last Jedi character), the two arrive in the system and warn Bail about an impending Imperial attack. Swiftly, Bail orders the ships to scatter and initiates self-destruct sequences on the repair stations to eliminate any trace the Rebels were there. It's at this moment the Alderaan senator realizes he can no longer keep his daughter in the dark and allows her to fight by his side. Through this, Leia had proven to her father she belonged in the conflict and demonstrated her immense worth.
What should have been a happy moment for Leia morphs into one of tragedy. After all the Rebel ships leave, Leia and Amilyn still pick up one vehicle on their scanners - a low-key cutter. The pilot is Kier Domadi, Leia's boyfriend who had come speeding to her rescue when he learned she could be in danger. Unable to move out of the explosion's path, Kier is mortally wounded as his ship is damaged and dies in Leia's arms. To make matters worse, Leia discovers Kier was recording the Rebel activity so he could out the Alliance to the Empire - a decision he felt was the right one because it would ensure Alderaan's safety.
It's easy to see why Bail said he would trust Leia with his life in Rogue One and why she got important missions like bringing the Death Star plans to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Throughout Princess of Alderaan, its titular subject constantly illustrates her fearlessness and willingness to do what's best for the galaxy at large. The Organas would have been foolish to not look to their daughter as an ally, and because they finally loosened up on their restrictions, the galaxy was saved from tyranny. It's easy to forget, but Leia's actions led to the Alliance's victory at Yavin - the first domino to fall as the Empire's stranglehold started to crumble.
From the beginning, Leia has always been portrayed as a person much more mature than her years, and it's fun for fans to learn more about her past in this latest addition to franchise canon. Luke's story was told in the original trilogy and Han Solo is getting a prequel film, so it only makes sense Lucasfilm would want to explore Leia's youth at some point. Like most of the non-movie materials, Leia: Princess of Alderaan may not be required reading to fully understand the films, but it works as a great supplement that fleshes out a fan-favorite character further. The amount of time spent with Bail, Breha, and Alderaan even makes its destruction at the hands of the Death Star that more poignant.
The novel is also part of the "Journey to The Last Jedi" line of publications, and while its place in the timeline makes any connections to the new movie brief, there are some to be found. Fans following the development of The Last Jedi know Crait as the site of an old Rebellion base, which is why the Resistance seeks refuge there while on the run from the First Order. It's probably a good thing Leia went snooping around, or there's a chance she may never have learned of the location. Depending on what transpires in Episode VIII, her intuition could benefit her friends some three decades later.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019