Princess Leia was trained in the Force, but never became a true Jedi
Star Wars is one of the most beloved franchises of all time and quickly became a worldwide pop-culture phenomenon after George Lucas created it. The franchise has been expanded into a multitude of other media, including video games, television series, comic books, novels, and theme park attractions. With a total estimated value of $70 billion, it is currently the fifth-highest grossing franchise of all time.
The story takes place “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” where wielders of the Force, a mysterious energy that intertwines between all life in the galaxy, exist. According to Obi-Wan Kenobi, a notable Jedi, “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” The original three movies – A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi – follow Luke Skywalker, a young, soon-to-be Jedi who is thrown into the middle of an intergalactic war between the Jedi and the Sith, an ancient order of force-wielders devoted to the Dark Side.
However, while Luke Skywalker is the main protagonist, another notable protagonist is Leia, a princess of the planet Alderaan, who was a strong proponent of the Rebel Alliance. She is known for her cinnamon-bun hairstyle and metal bikini, which she donned in Return of the Jedi (although the actress who played her, Carrie Fisher, admitted the bikini itself was quite uncomfortable).
While Leia was a strong, formidable character, she wasn’t depicted using the Force as Luke Skywalker was. So why was she never trained in the Force? Well, the short answer is that she technically did train to be a Jedi. However, she is never trained as a true Jedi, despite being just as capable as Luke and force-sensitive. While in the later movies, it is revealed that Leia did train in the Force, she quit because she sensed her son’s death at the end of her Jedi path.
But why wasn’t she trained in the Force in the original movies? Indeed, the Star Wars saga would have been very different if she had been chosen to wield it instead of Luke Skywalker. Star Wars tie-ins have revealed that Yoda, the legendary Jedi master who trained Luke, originally wanted to train Leia. However, there are multiple reasons why Leia wasn’t originally trained.
One is that if she had been taught, it is possible she would have used the dark side of the Force. After the Empire destroyed her home planet, Leia channeled her grief and rage to become an influential figure in the Rebel Alliance. She recognized that she’d used the dark side, so Obi-Wan, another Jedi Master, would have had serious concerns about her being trained due to the righteous anger that burned inside her. Another reason is that she recognized that wielding the Force was Luke’s duty, while her duty lay in protecting the galaxy through being a leader of the Resistance.
Since Leia is a virtuous and honorable character, these reasons alone were enough to keep her from wielding the Force. And despite never becoming a true Jedi, she is arguably just important as Luke Skywalker when it comes to liberating the galaxy from the sinister Empire.