Rian Johnson Confirms Leia Is Not A Jedi In Star Wars: The Last Jedi


At a recent BAFTA screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, star Daisy Ridley admitted to being somewhat confused about the difference between ‘Force sensitive people,’ and actual Jedi. The subject was raised with specific regard to the abilities demonstrated by General Leia Organa in the movie – and writer-director Rian Johnson respectfully clarified the matter for her.

During a question and answer session accompanying the screening, Ridley mused on the fact that she was still unclear about General Organa’s connection to the Force, saying:

“Because I wasn’t so knowledgeable of the Star Wars thing, I still have questions about what it all means. Like, when people talk about Jedi and stuff like that – I remember having a conversation with one of our executive producers on VII, Michelle [Rejwan], and I said, ‘But surely Leia’s a Jedi, because she’s Force sensitive and she’s challenged.’ She’s not challenged in the same ways as Luke, but like, she’s doing stuff for the good, and everything like that. I still don’t quite have my answer, like, is she a Jedi? I dunno.”

Rian Johnson then answered the question for her, simply stating:

“No, she’s not a Jedi.”

Daisy Ridley almost certainly raises an interesting point for those that may have seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi without being overly familiar with the overall mythology of the franchise – but there is a clear distinction to be made between Force Sensitivity and being a Jedi. While there are many characters across the franchise that have been revealed to be ‘Force Sensitive,’ they do not all become Jedi.

The Jedi is essentially a religious order – almost monastic in nature – with a strict ideology and lifestyle that encompasses charitable acts, citizenship, and upholding the value of knowledge and wisdom. This is why the Jedi once built temples, and indoctrinated children.

While the morality of the Jedi overlaps significantly with that of many non-Jedi individuals, the Jedi Order is a specific body into which only the most determined and dedicated may enter. While Force Sensitivity is needed for the Jedi, not everyone with Force Sensitivity joins the Jedi.

Leia is a Rebel leader. She’s Force Sensitive though because she’s also a Skywalker – but she has chosen a different path to that taken by her father, her brother and her son. While she’s able to connect to the Force, she’s never undertaken Jedi training, and has instead dedicated her life to the Rebellion. While the Jedi and the Rebellion are, broadly speaking, allies, they are separate entities.

Rey – the character played by Daisy Ridley – spent Star Wars: The Force Awakens demonstrating that she’s highly Force Sensitive, but it was not until Star Wars: The Last Jedi that she became a Jedi herself (and, indeed, the Last Jedi, at that). That’s when she undertook Jedi training with Luke Skywalker, as Luke once did with Yoda.

This is what gives the final scene of Johnson’s film such gravity. Apart from the fact that it’s the last of Carrie Fisher’s Star Wars scenes, it’s also a scene in which Rey sits with Leia and asks for reassurance, because the Rebellion is greatly depleted. Leia replies, “We have everything we need,” because the scene presents a renewed coalition between Jedi and Rebellion – allies united in opposition to an authoritarian regime.