I’ve watched The Last Jedi over twenty times now and during my latest viewing of the film one of the scenes that surprisingly struck me was in fact one of the quietest moments in the movie and that was when Leia was sitting by herself in the cruiser, Ninka. Throughout Leia’s involvement in Star Wars we haven’t seen her grieve a lot even though she has experienced so much loss. She lost nearly her entire crew aboard the ship, Tantative IV, to Darth Vader and his stormtroopers. Then she had to watch her home planet of Alderaan get obliterated before her very eyes (and her mother and father along with it.) She had to endure seeing Han Solo getting frozen in carbonite, nearly dying in the process. And then even after the Rebellion defeated the Empire the hardships she would face were far from over.
When we see Leia again thirty years after the end of the Imperial war the struggles that she has faced can be plainly seen on her face. From the political obstacles she had to face during the creation and rise of the New Republic to the new war that was on the brink of the horizon with the meager Resistance against the mighty First Order. There’s also the more personal losses she has had to deal with as well along the way with the sudden and total absence of her beloved brother, Luke Skywalker, the agony of knowing that her very son, Ben Solo, was a First Order leader and dark side fanatic, and the depressing separation between her and the man she loves in Han Solo.
Leia has not had an easy life, in fact she’s had if not the hardest, one of the toughest journeys in Star Wars and this is really apparent in The Last Jedi.
When she’s sitting in that room aboard Ninka the quiet sorrow on her face tells it all. She has to constantly put on a brave face for the Resistance but in this intimate moment we see the weight of everything bad that has happened in her life resting its ugly grip on her shoulders. I mean, can you imagine what she was going through?
She had just recently lost Han Solo who was murdered not by any random First Order patron but rather by the hand of her own son, Luke was missing not just from the galaxy but from within her mind as well (because he cut himself off from the Force) which left an even deeper void within her, and her son, Kylo Ren had become a monster she could’ve never imagined him to be. And yet even with all of that sorrow and grief she was feeling she was able to still lead the Resistance without a single tear in her eye or a slight quiver in her voice. That’s how incredibly strong she is. And that brings me to my next point.
When Leia was blown out of the bridge on the cruiser she could’ve easily let herself die. She had seemingly lost everything she loved, the Resistance was pretty much doomed considering the situation that they were in, what did she have left to fight for? But Leia isn’t one to just give up that easily and that’s why she’s such an inspiring character. She found the strength to use the Force to save herself which speaks to that heroism she has constantly displayed since A New Hope. She has never needed a man or anybody to rescue her. She has always saved her own skin and it’s why she’s still one of the greatest heroines of all time.
To see her use the Force in that moment was powerful and really speaks to the awesomeness of her character whom I have watched and loved since I was a young girl. The Last Jedi had its flaws, yes, but Rian Johnson did understand on a deep level the incredible moments that would make these original characters’ stories extend into an even deeper realm of awesomeness.
Leia, time and time again, has continued to surprise me with her unyielding heroism and this scene deeply touched me the last time I watched it. Carrie Fisher might’ve passed away in December of 2016 but her role as the iconic Princess and then General Leia will always stay with me as long as I live. Thank you Carrie Fisher for making me so happy and continuing to bring me so much joy.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a fabulous day. May the Force be with you.