Playlisted Princess Leia Organa: A Star Wars Character Guide From a royal childhood to her work with the Resistance, here's our essential guide to everything you need to know about Leia Organa. By Alanna McAuliffe Mar 30, 2021 There are few fictional characters as iconic as Princess Leia Organa. With the 1977 release of cultural juggernaut Star Wars (now known as Episode IV: A New Hope), Leia immediately won the hearts of audiences. The inimitable Carrie Fisher, who portrayed Leia Organa on the big screen until her tragic death in 2016, brought a distinct magnetism and spirit to the character. Donning a hooded, high-neck white gown with her hair wound into two massive buns and speaking with a regal lilt, the Alderaanian princess quickly became a fan favorite, a heroine who was constantly evolving, ferociously witty, and unapologetically ambitious. Over the course of the six Star Wars films (seven, if you count her birth at the conclusion of Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith) and numerous multimedia storylines, Leia grew into her status as a cultural icon and a symbol for the necessity of rebellion when faced with the threat of an oppressive tyranny. Warning: The following article contains major spoilers for the Star Wars franchise. Please note that this character guide is based on the current canon as defined by Lucasfilm. Who is Princess Leia?Princess Leia is one of the most iconic characters in Star Wars history who, over the course of her life, served in roles ranging from heir to the Alderaanian throne to a military general and leader of the Resistance movement. As detailed more extensively in our Skywalker family tree, Leia is the daughter of Naboo’s former queen and senator, Padmé Amidala Naberrie, and Jedi Knight-turned-Sith Lord, Anakin Skywalker. When Leia is born in 19 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), she is essentially orphaned—her mother dies during childbirth after losing the will to live and her father has fully succumbed to the Dark Side, completing his transformation into the merciless Darth Vader. After Leia and her twin brother, Luke, are born, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda must quickly come up with a plan to prevent the detection of the Force-sensitive children. Their birth is kept secret; the official word is that when Padmé died, she was still pregnant. Obi-Wan and Yoda also decide to separate the siblings for their own safety, hiding them away from the evil Darth Sidious. But wait, why is Leia a princess?While Luke was sent to live with Owen and Beru Lars on Tatooine, Leia was adopted by Senator Bail Organa and his wife, Queen Breha Organa, thus becoming the heir apparent to the Alderaanian throne. Much of Leia’s childhood on her home planet of Alderaan was spent accompanying her parents to royal events and perfecting an air of diplomatic stoicism. She rejected the notion that the role of a princess was to make appearances and remain passive, and Queen Breha only stoked Leia’s desire to get involved with tales of her birth mother’s accomplishments in the Galactic Senate. By the time she reached the age of 14, Leia was made a junior legislator. stop A princess must always dress for the occasion. Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi Leia, Princess of Alderaan 00:00 28:49 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. As the planet’s monarchy was not solely hereditary in nature, Leia had to prove her worth to be crowned Princess of Alderaan. On her 16th birthday, Leia reached her Day of Demand and announced the three challenges she would be taking on to demonstrate her abilities. After fearlessly climbing the Appenza Peaks to show strength of body, exhibiting her mind by working in the Senate’s Apprentice Legislature (which, fun fact, is where she first met future Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo from Episode VIII: The Last Jedi), and exemplifying her heart and spirit with a series of charity missions, Leia would be officially named Alderaan’s Crown Princess. But along the way, Leia uncovered a calling that would change her future forever. stop It was Leia's battle, too. Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi Leia, Princess of Alderaan 00:00 28:49 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. How did Princess Leia become involved with the Rebellion?Unbeknownst at first to young Leia, the fight against the growing Empire was a family affair. Both Bail and Breha had been secretly working with the movement before it was even a formalized alliance. From his time in the senate, Bail (alongside other senators, including Leia’s birth mother Padmé and future Alliance leader Mon Mothma of Chandrila) opposed the rule of Sheev Palpatine (who would later become the Galactic Emperor). By 0 BBY, Bail Organa and Mon Mothma officially founded the Alliance to Restore the Republic. In that same year, Leia (against her father’s judgment) joined the cause of the Rebellion herself, setting out on a mission to retrieve the Death Star plans—details that would reveal the weapon’s fatal flaw. stop We need the young with us! Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi Leia, Princess of Alderaan 00:00 28:49 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Leia’s resolve to fight against the Empire was hardened on that very same mission. After her ship, the Tantive IV, was captured in a tractor beam emitted from Darth Vader’s destroyer, The Devastator, Leia was taken prisoner onboard the Death Star. Though she remained defiant under interrogation, it was no use. She was still forced to watch, helplessly, as Grand Moff Tarkin ordered the Death Star to fire upon Alderaan. In a matter of moments, the blast destroyed Leia’s home planet alongside her adoptive family, friends, colleagues, and citizens. In their last moments, Bail and Breha were left to wonder if their daughter had been successful or if she even remained alive. But before Leia was detained by the Empire, her quick-thinking and steadfast devotion to the cause led to a decision that changed the future of the galaxy forever. Leia concealed the datacard containing the Death Star plans in the memory bank of an astromech, R2-D2, and sent the droid off in an escape pod with a holographic message to Obi-Wan Kenobi, a trusted friend of her father. The rest, of course, is cinematic history: upon receiving her holo, Obi-Wan sets out with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca to travel to Alderaan and relay the message to Bail Organa. They find the planet destroyed and become trapped in the Death Star’s tractor beam, now set with a new mission: rescuing Princess Leia and escaping Vader’s clutches. In Luke, Han, and Chewie, Leia again finds safety, family, and a sense of home. After they escape the Death Star, the gang hurries to Yavin 4, home to a secret Rebel base, where the information stored in R2 is passed on and the planning begins. Using the schematics, Luke, Han, and a squadron of Rebels successfully destroy the first Death Star, and Leia awards them medals for their bravery. But while the Battle of Yavin is won, the war is far from over. Leia Organa and her new compatriots must continue their fight against the Galactic Empire. Though the Empire immediately put a bounty of 10 million credits on Leia’s head and began to hunt down the Alderaanian survivors in retribution for the attack on the Death Star, Leia remained undeterred in her fight for the Rebellion. From Hoth to Endor, the ensuing battles were hard-fought, demanding everything of Leia’s heart, mind, body, and blaster. And though it was her brother, Luke, who trained with Obi-Wan and Yoda, becoming a legendary Jedi, Leia demonstrated her strength—physical, mental, and with the Force—time and again. Whenever faced with an oppressor, be it the callous Grand Moff Tarkin or the despicable crime boss Jabba the Hutt, Leia knew only one response: resistance. stop He underestimated this princess. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side! 00:00 28:49 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Dedicated to the cause, she still carried so much of the sense of duty and responsibility that accompanied taking the throne on Alderaan. And though Leia loathed the Empire (and later, the First Order) and all that it stood for, she was fighting more so for love, determined to protect the lives of those she cared for, those who answered to her, and all of the innocent citizens across the galaxy. And while we're on the topic of love...Does Leia marry Han? It's a tale as old as time: stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerfherder meets her worshipfulness. The opposites-attract pairing of Han Solo and Leia Organa is impossible not to fall for. And while the ceremony never transpired on screen, fans will be delighted to know that they were married shortly after the Battle of Endor. (Love it? We know.) Unfortunately, some issues are truly irreconcilable. For Han and Leia, it wasn't just the clash of diplomatic ambition and the impossible-to-overcome longings of a scoundrel. The couple instead found themselves growing apart due to their son's descent into the Dark Side. stop There's still light in him, I know it... Star Wars: The Force Awakens 00:00 28:49 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Leia and Han sent their son, Ben Solo, to train as an apprentice under Luke Skywalker. But when Luke has a moment of doubt that causes him to consider striking down his conflicted young nephew, a betrayed Ben succumbs to the Dark Side of the Force. Losing their son to evil and feeling immense guilt over the decision to send him away left the couple coping with an insurmountable sense of grief. In Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Leia and Han reunite after time apart, and though the love and bond between them is still palpable, there is also an unmistakable shared air of pain. After Han is murdered by Ben (who had been corrupted into the First Order's vicious Kylo Ren) while attempting to bring him home, Leia is again forced to bear the brunt of unthinkable tragedy.When did Leia form the Resistance?After the Galactic Civil War came to a close and Leia married and became a mother, she returned to her roots and became a fierce political advocate as a senator in the New Republic. This was not without its difficulties: during her career, she faced accusations and doubts when her parentage was revealed, calling attention to her familial connection to Darth Vader. Nevertheless, Leia opted not to hide her lineage after it had been made public, instead opting to embrace her identity as the daughter of Senator Padmé Amidala and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. stop None other than the daughter of Darth Vader! Star Wars: Bloodline - New Republic 00:00 28:49 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Though taking her position in the New Republic seriously, Leia also knew from her past with the Rebellion that direct action was sometimes necessary. The First Order, a dictatorial militant group forged from the echoes of the Galactic Empire, posted a new threat to the galaxy. So, frustrated with the political quagmire in the Senate and desperate to ensure the Rebellion's fight hadn't been for naught, Leia went on to form the Resistance. From that point on, she was referred to as General Leia Organa in lieu of her regal moniker. As a general, Leia offered guidance both militarily and personally. She became an important confidant for scavenger Rey and a cherished advisor to Resistance fighters like pilot Poe Dameron. stop There was a price to pay for being spared... The Last Jedi 00:00 28:49 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. So, is Leia a Jedi? While Leia was just as strong with the Force as her brother Luke, she never became a Jedi. Still, she did begin her training. Shortly after the Battle of Endor, the twins began training together, with Luke guiding Leia through meditative practices and sparring exercises. Though she had the aptitude, Leia preferred to serve the cause and hone her skills with the Force in other ways. She eventually stopped training with Luke and forewent future Jedi-related endeavors.Did Leia have a lightsaber?Yes. Before Leia quit her training, she did build her own lightsaber. As seen in Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, it had a fairly simple bronze hilt decorated with circular silver hoops toward the blade, which was blue. After telling Luke she would no longer train as Jedi, she handed over her lightsaber, asking him to keep it for a future apprentice. Years later, Luke would give Leia's lightsaber to Rey. How does Leia die?In line with her ideals and the entirety of her life's work, Leia makes the ultimate sacrifice in attempting to reach out to her son, Ben, stopping him before he delivers a final blow to Rey as they duel on Kef Bir. Still bearing physical trauma from her time in space's vacuum after the First Order's attack on the Raddus, Leia had been actively resisting against the call of death, feeling as if her presence was a necessary one for the Resistance to succeed. stop Her heart had been so full of hope then... The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition 00:00 28:49 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. When she senses the danger that Rey is in and the turmoil brewing within her son, however, Leia knows that only she has the capacity to both redeem Ben and save the Resistance's last hope. Summoning all her strength, Leia reaches out to Kylo in the Force and calls him by his birth name. As his mother dies from the exhaustion of that final exertion, Kylo drops his lightsaber, allowing Rey to strike him with her own. Shortly after, while feeling the loss of Leia, Rey heals his mortal wounds—but Kylo Ren is already dead. Coupled with the memory of his father, Han, Leia's powerful sacrifice brings Ben back to the Light Side of the Force, ultimately securing his redemption.The on-screen loss of Leia Organa also felt remarkably personal. Carrie Fisher, who had portrayed Leia with a dauntless sense of humor and heart, unexpectedly passed away in 2016 while filming Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Upon release, the film was dedicated to "Our Princess, Carrie Fisher." All of Leia's scenes in The Rise of Skywalker were created from repurposed audio and footage captured while filming The Force Awakens. Adding a poignant note, Billie Lourd, Fisher's own daughter, acted as a body double for Leia in the film's Jedi training flashback scene. The Best Leia Organa Quotes"General Kenobi...years ago, you served my father in the Clone Wars; now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire..." - The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken stop Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi... Star Wars: A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy 00:00 28:49 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. “The sun is setting on the New Republic,” Leia said. “It's time for the Resistance to rise.” - Bloodline by Claudia Gray"Good intentions aren't enough. They're not meaningless, but that's where we have to start. Not where we end." - Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray"All those times you watched me kill Jabba the Hutt, and you never learned from his example. It doesn’t pay to jerk me around.” - Bloodline by Claudia Gray“My growth is stunted already. If I'm stuck being short, I may as well have the caf.” - Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray"We fight for duty, yes. But we also fight because we love each other. And that's something even more powerful." - Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure by Cecil Castellucci and Jason FryMust-Listen Audiobooks for Leia Fans Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi Leia, Princess of Alderaan stop Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi Leia, Princess of Alderaan By Claudia Gray Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Listen if: you want to learn more about Leia's childhood, her introduction to the Rebellion, and her life with Bail and Breha. Star Wars: Bloodline - New Republic stop Star Wars: Bloodline - New Republic By Claudia Gray Narrated by January LaVoy 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Listen if: you love political thrillers and are interested in Leia Organa's time in the Galactic Senate, her domestic life with Han and Ben, and the difficult legacy of being Darth Vader's daughter. Star Wars: Moving Target stop Star Wars: Moving Target By Cecil Castellucci, Jason Fry Narrated by January LaVoy 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Listen if: you're looking for a family-friendly Star Wars audiobook that captures the same magic of the original trilogy. Star Wars Forces of Destiny: The Leia Chronicles & The Rey Chronicles stop Star Wars Forces of Destiny: The Leia Chronicles & The Rey Chronicles By Emma Carlson Berne Narrated by January LaVoy 00:00 05:00 Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Listen if: you need a captivating kidlit entry perfect for any Star Wars-obsessed youngster. Recommended Star Wars Quotes to Awaken the Force Within You Breakthrough: Carrie Fisher Who Is Grand Admiral Thrawn? The Ultimate Guide Like My Father Before Me: The Skywalker Family Tree Up Next The Definitive Guide to the Canonical Star Wars Timeline Separated into the six official eras recently defined by Lucasfilm, this unofficial Star Wars canon timeline explainer offers a brief illumination of each period and the stories set within each respective span.