‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Co-Writer Confirms the True Nature of Leia’s Fate
After Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released, the fan reaction was instant and palpable. Many fans felt director J.J. Abrams’ film fell short of expectations, mishandling the saga’s finale. Co-writer Chris Terrio then handled the first round of damage control, attempting to clarify the film’s intentions.
Since then, Lucasfilm has pulled out all the stops to try and make sense of the narrative mess that is The Rise of Skywalker. The company has relied way too heavily on Star Wars books and comics to explain exactly the story merely alluded to in the actual film itself.
Now fans have at least a bit more understanding of why Leia’s (Carrie Fisher) story ended the way it did in The Rise of Skywalker.
‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ had to complete Leia’s storyline
Obviously, Leia’s arc never got the conclusion it truly deserved. The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi are Harrison Ford’s and Mark Hamill’s movies, respectively. And The Rise of Skywalker was meant to be Fisher’s. Of course, she passed away even before The Last Jedi‘s release, leaving Abrams to figure out an alternative approach.
Using just a few minutes of unreleased footage from The Force Awakens, Abrams attempted to craft a resolution to Leia’s story. But he also packs a lot of new information into it. Rather than allowing her to fade away gracefully, Abrams reveals Leia has been training Rey in the ways of the Force. Moreover, fans learn Leia herself began Jedi training decades earlier.
In the final cut of The Rise of Skywalker, it’s easy to see how Fisher would have fit into the story under different circumstances. A surprise Harrison Ford cameo, in particular, satisfies an emotional beat that calls for Leia’s involvement. But Abrams at least went for an ambitious Leia story, even though it still feels underdeveloped.
Co-writer Chris Terrio sets the record straight about Leia’s death
In Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Leia seemingly gives her life to connect with her son, Kylo Ren aka Ben Solo (Adam Driver), during his climactic duel with Rey (Daisy Ridley). After this sacrifice, Kylo and Rey both feel Leia’s death through the Force. But unlike previous Jedi (including her brother), Leia doesn’t become one with the Force until Ben’s death.
The reason why isn’t made explicit in the film. But with The Rise of Skywalker now available on Blu-ray and digital platforms, fans are learning a bit more about what went into Leia’s story. On a feature-length behind-the-scenes documentary titled The Skywalker Legacy, Terrio spoke directly to the end of Leia’s story.
“Leia’s Jedi trial happens in Episode IX,” Terrio said. “The end of her path as a Jedi is fulfilled when her son turns back to the light.”
That statement in and of itself still doesn’t directly answer the mystery behind Leia’s delayed transference into the Force. But the truth lies in a key scene soon after Leia’s death.
Leia’s future vision is accurate “from a certain point of view”
For decades, Star Wars fans have wondered why Leia never became a Jedi, despite her obvious Force sensitivity. As a Force ghost, Luke appears to Rey and reveals the truth behind Leia’s interrupted Jedi training.
“It was the last night of her training,” Luke says. “Leia told me that she had sensed the death of her son at the end of her Jedi path. She surrendered her saber to me and said that one day it would be picked up again by someone who would finish her journey.”
But as Star Wars fans know, the future is difficult to see and always in motion. Leia believed that laying her saber down would spare her son. However, regardless, her prophecy still comes to pass. Her destiny as a Jedi is only fulfilled after Ben’s own death. That’s why her body doesn’t disappear until he does. And so another murky Star Wars mystery is solved.