'The Last Jedi' Finally Answered This Age Old Question About Leia
Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi ahead. From the moment Leia Organa was able to hear her brother Luke calling out to her for help from the bottom rungs of Cloud City all the way in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, there's been a glimmer of possibility in many fans' minds: Could General (formerly Princess) Leia be a Jedi like her brother and her father before her? Was the possibility lying dormant all along, as she poured her efforts into "diplomatic missions," espionage, and governance? Well, after seeing how she handled a near-death experience in The Last Jedi, Leia may be force-sensitive in a bigger way than we ever realized.
In case you missed it (seriously folks, don't take bathroom breaks during these movies — it's dangerous), the moment in which Leia is shot out into space after the Resistance flagship is hit by a tie fighter is jarring. Less than a third into the movie, it seems we've lost yet another beloved character from the original trilogy. But then, Leia awakens, harnesses the Force, and pulls herself back towards the ship and to safety. Seems like a pretty Jedi-level move, right? Well, the film never really fully answers the question of what that means for our dear Leia. Is she a Jedi? Or something else?
Luckily, The Last Jedi not only dispelled the notion that trailer upon trailer has tried to impress upon us ("It's time for the Jedi... to end"), it also gave Luke the Yoda-esque duty of further explaining the inner workings of the Force and Jedi-dom to the rest of us. The main gist is this: Even if Luke got what he wanted at the start of the film, and the tradition of Jedi practice died, the true center and soul of what makes someone a Jedi could not. In fact, Luke wasn't wrong when he spoke of the old Jedi Council and their many many failings — those dudes were driving the practice right into the ground. And when Luke is visited by Yoda's Force Ghost, who helps him burn down the remnants of Jedi tradition and teachings midway through The Last Jedi, Yoda laughs, because being a Jedi actually has nothing to do with school, books, and overly restrictive teachings. Burning it all down doesn't end the Jedi, if anything it allows for Jedis to exist in a truer, more organic form.
So, what, if anything, does this have to do with Leia? Well, a whole lot actually. Luke, in his big confrontation with his nephew Ben Solo (aka Kylo Ren), tells Ben that he's not the last Jedi, heavily implying that Rey is the next Jedi of many — despite the fact that she never actually completed anything resembling training with Luke before he passed. Rey essentially knows nothing about the Jedi tradition, and yet, Luke dies knowing she will carry it on in some way, shape, or form — using knowledge, that in large part, she already has within her.
Now, if Rey can be a Jedi without any real training, simply by knowing how to harness the light side of the force and fight for hope and justice with a lightsaber, couldn't it be argued that Leia could be a Jedi as well? (Hell, in the canonical novel Aftermath: Life Debt, it's betrayed that Leia got a teensy bit of training from Luke, so she may know more than Rey.) In this world where being a Jedi is more about who you are than what you are, it would seem that our girl is only a kyber crystal and a shiny handle away from being a full-on Jedi.
Besides, if you think about it, Jedi Numero Uno, Rey, doesn't even have a lightsaber anymore by the time the end of the movie rolls around. She's holding two halves of a shattered lightsaber handle (severed by the fact that she and Kylo Ren's mastery of the light and dark sides are so matched, neither of them could wrest the saber from the other). So, if an awesome sword is all we're waiting on to bestow the hallowed Jedi title upon Leia, I say we call it. She's a freaking Jedi, OK?