Will Leia Be A Jedi In 'The Force Awakens'? The Force Does Run Strong In The Skywalker Family
In the age of leaks, hacks, and spoiler alerts, I'm consistently amazed when a gargantuan movie like The Force Awakens can keep its secrets up until its real release. Now, there are still a couple of weeks to go before the new Star Wars film debuts on the big screen and anything could happen, but so far The Force Awakens has retained a healthy amount of mystery. Disney, Lucasfilm, director J.J. Abrams, and the cast have all dropped tidbits to a panting press and fanbase, but so many questions remain. Is Luke Skywalker still alive? Has he turned to the Dark Side? What motives are driving the villain, Kylo Ren? What's up with C-3PO's red arm? But the question that I'm most eager for The Force Awakens to answer is one about my life-long hero and feminist champion of the Republic. Has our former princess fulfilled her family legacy — is Leia a Jedi in The Force Awakens ?
In The Return Of The Jedi, Luke tells his sister that she is, in fact, his sister. He also tells her that "the Force is strong" in his family, insinuating that Leia could be just as powerful as he is if she would choose to train. Leia doesn't decide in that film whether she will or won't pursue the life of a Jedi. But the story continues and expands widely in other forms of media: Star Wars novelizations, comics, games, and so on. So in the big, wide world of Star Wars canon, yes: Leia has taken up Jedi training with varying degrees of commitment. But the new sequel trilogy isn't bound to the plotlines established by these other pieces of work.
In November, Abrams confirmed to a Sirius XM Town Hall (as reported by Entertainment Weekly) that Leia would indeed be carrying a different title in The Force Awakens. She's known now as General Leia, though the director wasn't forthcoming with details about her active status or who she commands. Instead, he described the development of her character since the films left her at the end of Jedi. "You harden in some ways, you hopefully become more enlightened in others," he said. "Her evolution from Princess to General is partly because of her life experience."
But does the existence of General Leia count out the possibility of Leia the Jedi? If it does, then the second official teaser trailer for The Force Awakens could be regarded as a mildly cruel bait and switch for fans who want to see Leia come into her birthright. That trailer opens with a voiceover of Luke's exact words to Leia from Jedi over the visual of a lightsaber being accepted by an unidentified character. I'm still holding out hope that this hint means, whatever other political or familial roles Leia has taken on, I'll at least get to see her wield the ancient weapon and read some minds.
Jedi or not, Leia is still one of the most iconic female characters in science fiction history.
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Images: Walt Disney Studios; Giphy