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Leading Leia: How Star Wars Is Doing Right By Our General

Make Carrie Fisher proud, every day.

Carrie Fisher as Leia in Star Wars: The Last Jedi poster

As people immediately began talking about the newest trailer for Star Wars Resistance, a good part of the dialogue was focused on a character who didn’t even appear in the trailer.

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Yes, here comes the general: Leia Organa will be in Star Wars Resistance, voiced by Rachel Butera. This marks Leia’s third appearance in Star Wars animated media; she previously was in an episode of Star Wars Rebels and is a frequent lead in Star Wars Forces of Destiny. She plays a vital role in the sequel trilogy, and will even be in Episode IX via unused footage from The Force Awakens, and that’s not even talking about the appearances she’s made in the books and comics.

The loss of Carrie Fisher was painful in ways words cannot describe. It was the loss of a woman who not only played a brilliant leading lady but who was a beam of inspiration and light off the screen struck the world hard. But Lucasfilm has made a conscious choice — Leia will not be forgotten as long as the franchise continues to move forward. Her legacy will never be erased or sidelined.

There are certain parts of their story that were in place prior to Carrie’s passing, such as the novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan and the plot of the sequel trilogy. Lucasfilm could have tried to scrap their original ideas and go in a new direction, but instead they chose to keep Leia present in the story. This means that it is as much her passing the torch to a new generation as The Force Awakens was to Han and The Last Jedi was to Luke, which means that while we most likely will not see her in the full capacity they were intending on using her prior to Carrie’s passing, they will still let Episode IX be her story.

And what a story it is. Each and every addition to what we know about Leia makes us adore her even more. Her solo stories let her grow beyond what we get on screen; most of these are about her as a senator, rebel, and hero rather than simply as Han’s girlfriend or Kylo’s mother.

We see her as a teenager coming into her own in Princess of Alderaan, as a woman on a mission in Bloodline (which also gave us the canon use of Huttslayer to describe her and that terrible bikini), and the comics let her grow as a leader of Alderaan and as a flawed, complex character.

Leia is important. There is simply no other way to put it. When we are first introduced to Leia, she’s a feisty rebel princess who doesn’t just sit there and wait for Luke and Han to save her. She takes matters into her own hands, lies to Vader and Tarkin, and in general is an icon in those cinnamon bun buns. Throughout the series she remains an icon of courage, never letting the weight of the world threaten to turn her to the Dark Side. She just continues to rise despite her weariness and pain.

This is a character who matters so much to the people who love her, and who’s actress meant the world to countless more. To let her legacy fade out would be a bad step. This is not to say we need a trilogy of Leia solo films, but rather continue to let her exist in the books and comics and TV series.

Let her appear in more of the books set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Give us more of her reacting to the loss of Alderaan, to nearly losing Han in Empire Strikes Back. Give us even more of her reaction to the parentage reveal. In short, give us more Leia. As the films and TV series forge new ground with new characters, let her legacy live on and her story be told.

Leia is a figure of inspiration, so let her inspire more women on and off screen. It’s very fitting that Rogue One ended with her saying “hope,” because that’s what she embodies. Lucasfilm is doing right by her, and I look forward to seeing how her story unfolds in the future. Because when I look to Star Wars, I will always find her as a source of hope and inspiration. Let that continue.

(image: Disney)

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Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.

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