Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Novelization Reveals More Of Leia’s Jedi Training

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One of the most interesting moments of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was seeing a brief glimpse of Leia’s Jedi training. It was a painfully short scene, but gave fans something they’d been imagining and theorizing about for years. And, even better, the CGI used to recreate Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher for it was near-flawless. It was, for perhaps the first time in the Sequel Trilogy, a moment that felt like it could have come from the Original Trilogy.

The official novelization of The Rise of Skywalker landed yesterday and has apparently been designed to plug a couple of the plot holes fans complained about in the movie. We know it sheds a little more light on Emperor Palpatine’s return and Kylo Ren’s motivations, and now we get an expanded look at how Luke trained Leia.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Leia had trained right here, in this very spot. She reached out and touched the tree trunk reverently. A large bole of bark had formed around an old wound. It was almost sealed shut.

Leia had been the one to damage the tree. She’d swung for Luke with her lightsaber and missed, slashing into the tree trunk instead. This tree had been healing itself for more than two decades.

Oh, Luke, I hope I’m doing this right, she thought. Leia was no Jedi Master, but she had learned from the best. And not just from Luke; over the years she’d occasionally heard the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi through the Force, and even more rarely, that of Yoda. Some days it had felt as though she’d learned from the Force itself. She was first and foremost a politician and a general, but she had accepted her Jedi legacy and embraced it as best she could.”

I feel like once again I should chip in with a comment that the film probably should’ve included this stuff, but in this instance I’m prepared to cut J.J. Abrams some slack. After all, they were clearly working within very tight constraints on what they could do with Leia due to Carrie Fisher’s death. Would it have been better to recast the role? Maybe. Would audiences have accepted that? Probably not (and it’d be a brave actor who’d accept the part).

Later in the book, we get a more fleshed out peek at Luke’s training style. Like Yoda, he seems to have decided that being a smug asshole is the best way to teach.

“Many years ago, not long after the Battle of Endor, she’d discovered the meditative power of sound. She and Luke had stolen away for some training, and somehow she’d ended up standing on her hands while Luke slung good-natured taunts her way. Even with help from the Force, her shoulders had started to burn, her arms wobble. They’d already spent the last hour sparring with their lightsabers, and her body was exhausted.

‘You know,’ Luke had said, his voice smug, ‘when I did this on Dagobah, Yoda was sitting on my feet.’

He said that a lot back then. When I did this on Dagobah…It was obnoxious and completely unhelpful. So Leia reminded him, ‘You’re being obnoxious and completely unhelpful.’

‘I also did it one-handed,’ he added

He was trying to provoke her, to teach her a lesson about anger and impatience, and all that nonsense. Luke had forgotten that his student was a superb strategist who’d already benefited from a royal education. Leia would not be provoked.”

Jeez, I’m starting to sympathize with Kylo Ren a bit here…