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Leia: The Last Jedi

Many of us who’ve seen The Last Jedi know this iconic line, “I will not be the last Jedi.”

With Rey assuming the throne as the last or one of the last Jedi, imagine how different it could have been if Leia was actually the last Jedi.

In all honesty, it’s not that crazy to think about. Since Empire Strikes Back, we’ve known that Leia had the potential to be the last line of defense against the Sith. When Kenobi claimed, “That boy [Luke] is our last hope.” Yoda fired back, “No. There is another.” Yoda meant Leia, who is Luke’s twin sister, thus also a Skywalker, presumably has a similar affinity for the Force.

Leia’s affinity for the Force was first shown when Luke called out to his sister in The Empire Strikes Back. Luke calls out to her through the Force, and she’s sensitive enough to hear him.

At this moment, and just like Luke once did, Leia took her first step into a larger world.

Fast forwarding to The Last Jedi, before Leia’s near death experience in space, and just as any mother would do if in the same situation, called out to her son. One of Leia’s final acts of motherly instinct was establishing a Force bond between mother and son.

This scene was a callback to Leia’s and Luke’s moment in The Empire Strikes Back.

During Leia’s Force bond with her son, Ben, Ben knew he didn’t have the strength nor will to kill his own mother, even after murdering his own father, Han Solo. After a moments hesitation, Kylo’s strike team did his dirty work for him and destroyed Leia’s ship, causing his mother to be sucked out into the cold, dark vacuum of space.

However, in this moment of near death, the Force called out to Leia. Using the Force, Leia pulled herself to the safety of her friends.

Leia knew she had this power. Luke told her way back in Return of the Jedi when he said, “The Force is strong in my family, my father has it, I have it, my sister has it. You have that power too.”

Leia has that power. And only few do.

The possibility of Leia being the last Jedi was all but certain, until creative differences changed the outcome of The Rise of Skywalker. Carrie Fisher’s brother knows about it all too well. Speaking to Yahoo! Entertainment, Todd Fisher revealed Leia’s original role in The Rise of Skywalker.

“Still think Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker was the “last Jedi” referenced in the title of the eighth episode of Star Wars’s Skywalker Saga? Think again. In the original version of the ninth and final installment, The Rise of Skywalker, his sister, Leia (played by Carrie Fisher), was going to emerge as a full-fledged Jedi warrior, complete with her very own lightsaber. That’s according to no less an authority than Fisher’s real-life brother, Todd Fisher, who filled us in on what the plan was for his sister’s iconic character prior to her sudden death in December 2016. “She was going to be the big payoff in the final film,” Fisher reveals exclusively to Yahoo Entertainment. “She was going to be the last Jedi, so to speak. That’s cool right?”

Cool is an understatement: It’s positively wizard. Leia’s Force abilities were teased in a key scene of Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, and the Resistance general apparently would have had the chance to get even more physical in The Rise of Skywalker. “People used to say to me, ‘Why is it that Carrie never gets a lightsaber and chops up some bad guys,’” Fisher says, noting that Alec Guinness was roughly the same age when Obi-Wan Kenobi battled Darth Vader in A New Hope. “Obi-Wan was in his prime when he was Carrie’s age!”
Unfortunately, a version of The Rise of Skywalker where Leia picks up her father and brother’s chosen weapon can only exist in our imaginations. After Fisher’s death, her alter ego’s arc had to be re-conceived by returning director J.J. Abrams, who previously directed the actress in 2015’s The Force Awakens. “The truth is that J.J. Abrams was great friends with Carrie… he had an extraordinary sense of love for her,” her brother says. It was that love that led the filmmaker to make a bold, and creatively risky decision: take unused footage of Leia left over from The Force Awakens and make it part of The Rise of Skywalker. “They had eight minutes of footage,” Fisher tells us. “They grabbed every frame and analyzed it… and then reverse-engineered it and [got] it into the story the right way. It’s kind of magical.”

Yahoo! Entertainment, Ethan Alter

Cool, isn’t it? My assumption here is that the original plan for Leia to be the last Jedi was when Colin Trevorrow still was in the director’s chair for Episode IX. It’s safe to say that this is the case because when Trevorrow was still director, Kathleen Kennedy mentioned how Episode IX would’ve originally been “Carrie’s” film the same way Mark was a focal point in VIII and Harrison in VII.

[Speaking of Carrie’s unused footage]

“This is, in its own way, a payoff. … It’s Carrie talking to us all from beyond. The beautiful thing about the concept of the Force is that there is no real death; you just exist in another dimension. So, Carrie is looking down or sideways or wherever and is still part of us. To be able to see that — it’s magical stuff only in the movies.”

Yahoo! Entertainment, Ethan Alter

In all honesty, it would have been pretty awesome to see Leia “chop up some bad guys.” But unfortunately, that’s not how the Force willed it. One thing we can look forward to is possibly EIGHT minutes of Carrie Fisher in Episode IX! Whether it means we’ll see all eight minutes of that footage or not, remains to be seen.

What matters though is that we’ll be able to see our forever princess, Carrie Fisher, once again help save the galaxy. And when we do, it will feel like we’re taking one last look… at a friend.

Tickets are on sale now for The Rise of Skywalker when it releases December 20th.

Start the discussion by clicking on the link to our Discourse forum below or select “forum” via the menu bar above. May the Force be with you!

Indiana Jones
“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.” — Yoda

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