WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for Star Wars #40!
The Force is strong with the Skywalker family; the father has it, the son has it, and so too does the daughter. Yet, whereas Anakin and Luke – and now even the grandson, Ben – were each trained to use that power and become Jedi, Leia remains untaught. Leia’s Force-sensitivity was teased first in The Empire Strikes Back, confirmed in Return of The Jedi, and in The Last Jedi she continues to demonstrate a powerful and instinctual connection to the Force. So why didn’t Leia ever train to become a Jedi like the rest of her family?
A recent issue of Marvel’s Star Wars comic may have the answer, or at the very least, an explanation for why Leia never sought the Jedi life for herself. Set between the events of A New Hope and Empire, the current arc from writer Kieron Gillen finds Luke, Leia, and Han on Jedha as they try to work alongside the remnants of Saw Gerrera’s rebel cell. In Star Wars #4o, there is an exchange between Leia and Luke which offers up new insight as to why Leia dedicates her life to the cause (be it Rebellion or Resistance) instead of following her family down the Jedi path.
After narrowly destroying a drill the Empire had brought to Jedha to mine the remaining Kyber crystal from the moon’s dying husk, Luke decides he needs to visit the former site of the Jedi Temple (now a giant crater thanks to the Death Star). Seeing as their mission on Jedha isn’t over, Leia gets angry at his abandoning of them for “Jedi stuff” and calls him irresponsible. Luke tells her it’s important, to which she agrees but adds that there are all kinds of important things before asking, “Have I ever told you the last words my father said to me? They were a mission briefing.”
From there the comic segues to a flashback from the day that Leia last spoke with her father – her real father, the man who raised her, Bail Organa. As the Rebellion gathers its forces to aid in the Battle of Scarif, Bail explains that it is she who must deliver the Death Star plans (as well as contact one Obi-Wan Kenobi), telling his daughter, “This is the most important thing I’ve ever asked of you. It’s the most important thing I’ve ever asked of anyone.” When Leia insists there must be someone else better suited for the task, he reassures her, “There’s no one better. I trust you more than anyone. There’s nothing you can’t deal with.”
Returning to the present, Leia then explains to Luke the profound effect his final words have had on her:
“We didn’t realize then, but it was a mission briefing for my whole life. Any time I stumble, I go back to that. He trusted me to finish this. I will finish this.”
Luke, however, remains committed to visiting what remains of the temple, explaining to her that he needs to become a Jedi; “I feel it,” he says. Leia responds by saying that she too “feels things” but what she feels most of all is duty. “We don’t all get to be dreamers,” she tells him as he takes off for more Jedi stuff.
What this scene reveals to us is that Leia isn’t simply someone who believes in the Rebellion – she is the Rebellion. Her father placed in her his trust and hope for the future, and it’s a responsibility Leia takes very seriously. Fighting for the Rebellion, helping to build the new Galactic Republic, leading the Resistance are all merely extensions of that original mission – a mission given to her by her father to rid the galaxy of oppression that she is determined to see through to the end.
Knowing now just how Leia’s part in this crusade began, it’s obvious she would never break from that mission to begin something like Jedi training. Maybe at one time that could have been her calling (Yoda definitely thought so), had her life turned out differently, had she not been raised on Alderaan and destined for a life of public service as a princess and senator. And while she’ll always be a Skywalker and have that powerful connection to the Force, she, more importantly, remains a daughter devoted to her father and the mission he left for her to finish.
Star Wars #40 is available now.
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