Last month we learned that Princess Leia has undergone a name change. Name AND title, actually, in that in the new movies she will be known as General Leia Organa Solo. As cool as that is, it still begs the question, why is Leia a general and not a Jedi? Once she learned that she comes from a Force-friendly family, why didn’t she pursue that path? In an interview with IGN, J.J. Abrams says that’s actually something he and his team spent a long time talking about. A common answer that’s been thrown around the last few decades is that Leia was simply too old to start training by the time she found out she had the ability. Abrams, though, says that’s not the case.
It’s funny because, in talking about this, even with George Lucas, the question of, at what age can someone learn the Force, and become a Jedi. And I would like to think that there really isn’t much of a ticking clock, and it’s never too late.
Instead, it was a more personal choice.
It was a great question, and one that we talked about a lot — even with Carrie [Fisher] — if there was another, why did she not take advantage of this natural Force strength that she’s got. One of the answers was that it was simply a choice that she made. That her decision to run the rebellion and ultimately, this resistance, and consider herself a general as opposed to a Jedi, it was simply a choice that she took. Not that there’s any regret that she could have and didn’t.
While I’m sure a lot of fans would love to see Leia harness the Force of her family, this at least doesn’t feel like they’re weakening the character or depriving her of anything. The Force Awakens has done a pretty good job of assuring us our hopes of commanding, complex, and straight-up kickass female characters are not going to go unsatisfied. Plus, Abrams drops a major hint that maybe we’ll get a taste of Force Leia anyway.
But clearly we’ve seen, and we do again, that she still is Force strong. And it’s something that I think is an intrinsic piece of her character.