When Carrie Fisher died in 2016, she’d finished shooting The Last Jedi, but she hadn’t yet started work on Episode IX, later to be titled The Rise of Skywalker. So, director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy weren’t sure how to get around it. The Fisher family gave them permission to use old footage of her, as well as any CGI they would need to work around it. In the end, Abrams has decided to form unused takes from The Force Awakens into a new storyline for Leia. As the end of the Skywalker saga, this movie has an obligation to wrap up Leia’s arc. So, here are 10 Ways Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Can Give Leia A Fitting Send-Off.
10 Keep Her Alive
We already had one death scene for Leia in The Last Jedi. It was teased that she would be sucked out into space and never seen again until her latent Force abilities showed themselves and she flew back to the ship. Each of these movies has killed off one of the main three from the original trilogy – Han in The Force Awakens and Luke in The Last Jedi – so it seems likely (and predictable) that the third one will kill off Leia. But it shouldn’t. As long as the Skywalker saga is ending, there should be at least one non-evil Skywalker left alive at the end. Killing off Leia would be unnecessary, and also a little mean-spirited, considering Carrie Fisher’s own off-screen passing.
9 Talking Kylo Ren Back To The Light Side
In The Force Awakens, Han tried to talk Kylo Ren down and get him to come back to the Light Side, but it didn’t work and he was stabbed and killed by his own son. Perhaps in The Rise of Skywalker, later in Kylo Ren’s character development when he’s been swayed more towards the Light Side by his conversations with Rey, Leia will get a second chance to talk her son back over to the Light Side. But where Han failed, she will succeed. This would be in keeping with J.J. Abrams’ ethos to make the movie “end with scale, but with intimacy.”
8 The Force Is Keeping Her Alive To Lead The Resistance
We saw in The Last Jedi that when Leia was yanked out into the vacuum of space, the Force “awakened” inside her and she was able to fly herself back into the ship. But that doesn’t explain how she survived the conditions of outer space. Some fans have theorized that the Force is keeping her alive so that she can lead the Resistance to victory and restore balance to it.
Maybe she’ll lead the Resistance to victory, bring down the First Order, and then she’ll pass away and become one with the Force, just like Luke, having fulfilled her destiny and calling in life.
7 A Funeral In Naboo
J.J. Abrams has said that he’ll be using unused takes from The Force Awakens to build a story for Leia in The Rise of Skywalker, but this sounds awfully complicated and there’s a chance he won’t be able to make it work. Some fans have suggested that instead, Leia will die off-screen and be mentioned in the opening crawl. This might seem disingenuous to the character, but it would be nice to pay it off with a grand funeral on Naboo as an opening scene, with every character paying tribute to her. As he became one with the Force, Luke will join his father in death. So, Leia can join her mother and have a funeral on Naboo. Kylo Ren could even quietly watch the service from a distance, showing once again that the humanity of Ben Solo is not yet completely dead, possibly setting up his redemption later in the movie.
6 Helping Rey Discover The Truth About Her Parents
Remember that Leia grew up with adoptive parents. She only found out who her biological parents were when Darth Vader told Luke that he was his father and then Yoda suggested that Leia was his sister. They had to put two and two together to figure out that Vader was also Leia’s father. Luke got a confrontation with Vader and closure on it, but Leia didn’t. The Rise of Skywalker can give her that closure. Her chance to process her parentage has passed, but there’s an orphaned character she’s shown a strong relationship with who still has time to process hers: Rey. So, maybe Leia could help Rey discover the truth about her parents.
5 Poe Dameron Sacrificing Himself To Save Her
Poe Dameron has always been a hotshot renegade who doesn’t play by the rules, and this has made him very unpopular with his superiors, like Vice Admiral Holdo. General Leia is the only person who has ever believed in him and encouraged his unorthodox methods. If push came to shove, Poe would give his life to save Leia’s, and that might be a good idea for The Rise of Skywalker. Poe is one of the most beloved new characters in the sequel trilogy, and therefore one of the few whose death would have as much impact as an original trilogy character like Luke or Han.
4 A Reunion With Her Redeemed Son
The standard-menu blood-relation plot twist in The Force Awakens was that Kylo Ren’s real name was Ben Solo and he was the son of Han Solo and General Leia. All throughout the movie, Han and Leia spoke gravely about their son, with Leia surprised to hear Han say that he’d even seen him. There’s a good chance that Kylo Ren will enjoy Vader-style redemption in The Rise of Skywalker – especially with the reveal that Rey will turn to the Dark Side – and after that, he should have a bittersweet reunion with his mother. Leia’s maternal instincts have been downplayed so far, but they should come to the surface in Episode IX.
3 She’ll Lead A New Government
The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams recently said that Leia will be “the heart of the movie.” This is fitting, since The Force Awakens was arguably Han’s movie and The Last Jedi was unmistakably Luke’s movie, but exactly how the film will go about that remains to be seen.
There’s a good chance that The Rise of Skywalker will end with the Resistance defeating the First Order and establishing a new government, built on peace and balance. If this is the crux of the story, maybe General Leia becoming the elected leader of this new government will make her “the heart of the movie.”
2 One Final Moment With Luke And Han
Mark Hamill was disappointed that Luke Skywalker and Han Solo never got to share a final moment on-screen together. All three original trilogy heroes need a final moment like that to end the Skywalker saga. It would have to be a flashback, obviously, since two of the three characters are dead. Flashbacks weren’t common in the Star Wars saga until The Last Jedi introduced them. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, The Rise of Skywalker can feature a flashback scene showing Luke, Han, and Leia together one last time. This wouldn’t just be necessary for Leia to get a fitting send-off; it would be necessary for Luke and Han to get one, too.
1 She Joins The Line Of Force Ghosts
Remember that Return of the Jedi ended with the Force ghosts of all of Luke’s mentors – Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Yoda – lining up and smiling to him at the victory celebration on Endor. Since The Rise of Skywalker is being directed by J.J. Abrams, who likes to make veiled remakes of earlier Star Wars movies, there’s a good chance that it’ll end with a similar party scene to celebrate the Resistance toppling the First Order. Those Force ghosts are likely to return, this time joined by Luke. And since Leia showed off her Force abilities in The Last Jedi, she should join them, too.