Leia Organa was a politician and military leader most famous for her role in the Rebel Alliance. Raised as the Princess of Alderaan, she served as a galactic senator under the Empire and the New Republic. Leia fought as a military commander with the Rebel Alliance and the Resistance. This article takes us through her journey from a young and sheltered princess to the leader who restored peace to the galaxy.
Ever since her young years, Leia Organa had been a rebel. She constantly worried her parents by sneaking out and going on adventures despite their express disapproval.
Leia Organa possessed excellent mediation and leadership skills. Her assertive nature helped her break deadlocks and take risks that often paid off. Leia Organa embraced Alderaan’s pacifist values, but she firmly believed in the right to self-defense.
Leia Organa is Force-sensitive. She had many visions of her mother as a child. Throughout her life, Leia felt different disturbances in the Force during tragic events.
Back in Alderaan, Leia received extensive self-defense training. She was a good marksman, particularly with blasters. Organa also knew how to fly ships in both cruise and combat situations.
After defeating the Empire, Luke Skywalker trained her in lightsaber combat. Leia initially struggled, but she was a fast learner and became a skilled fighter before abandoning her training.
Leia Organa was born 19 years before the Battle of Yavin, in a base on the asteroid field of Polis Massa. She was the daughter of Galactic Senator Padmé Amidala and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and had a twin brother. Leia’s mother died during childbirth. She was part of a group of Jedi and politicians who had fled Coruscant after the fall of the Galactic Republic.
Because of their complicated origins, the survivors separated the twins to ensure the Empire would be unable to track them down. Senator Bail Organa and Queen Breha of Alderaan adopted Leia, which made her eligible to be the crown princess of the planet. The Alderaan royals were open about Leia’s past as an adopted orphan. Obi-Wan Kenobi took her brother to their father’s homeworld of Tatooine.
The royal upbringing in Alderaan was strict. The family and its entourage constantly attempted to mold Leia into the perfect princess, destined to find a husband worthy of the people of Alderaan. While she loved her relatives, she did not share their vision for her future. When Leia was nine years old, she ran away from the royal palace and spent a week in the woods by herself until the guards found her.
In her early teenage years, Leia took up competitive shooting and riding. She enjoyed these activities far more than the regal training and events. At the age of fourteen, inspired in part by stories from her mother Breha of how Padmé Amidala fought for freedom before her passing, Leia became a junior legislator in the Imperial Senate.
Imperial Senator and Rebel
As a junior senator in the Apprentice Legislature, Leia often participated in humanitarian missions. She made it her mission to discover more about the destruction of Calderos Station. The investigation led her to the planet of Crait, where insurgents apprehended her entourage and took them to a secret camp. To Leia’s shock, this was a rebel base commanded by Bail Organa. After swearing to secrecy, the Princess of Alderaan became increasingly involved in her parents’ activities against the Galactic Empire.
After graduating from the Apprentice Legislature, Leia Organa took her father’s seat in the Imperial Senate. She was the youngest senator ever elected. After her inauguration ceremony, Leia met Emperor Palpatine and his right-hand man Darth Vader. She felt deeply uneasy around the imperial ruler. Leia quickly became disillusioned with the Galactic Senate. There was no significant reformist or opposition movement that could oppose the will of Emperor Palpatine.
Leia secretly joined the Alliance to Restore the Republic, a coalition of resistance groups. Her father and Senator Mon Mothma led the so-called Rebel Alliance. The movement operated as a guerrilla, fighting a war of attrition against the Empire.
The Death Star Plans
The Rebel Alliance waged a battle against the Empire on the moon of Scarif. A rebel special forces detachment sacrificed itself to deliver crucial technical data about the Death Star, a secret superweapon created to instill fear in the galaxy. Leia volunteered to bring the plans to the rebel base in Yavin 4 aboard her ship. Bail Organa said she should seek the help of General Obi-Wan Kenobi in Tatooine to accomplish her mission. The Empire boarded the MC75 Star Cruiser carrying her delegation as it attempted to escape from Scarif.
Leia and her crew managed to leave the cruiser aboard a CR90 corvette, the Tantive IV. The ship managed to dash away from the Empire’s star destroyers towards the Tatooine system, but a faulty motivator took it out of hyperspace and forced it to continue the journey at sublight speeds.
The Imperial Navy was quick to catch the struggling corvette. After damaging its engines, it drew the Tantive IV into its hangar using a tractor beam. A boarding party of stormtroopers quickly killed most of the ship’s security detail and captured the rest. As they combed the ship, Leia Organa hid in an access corridor. She inserted the data disk into astromech droid R2-D2 and recorded a holographic message. The Princess asked Obi-Wan Kenobi to take R2-D2 and the plans within him to Bail Organa in Alderaan. The astromech droid and protocol droid C-3PO entered an escape pod and left towards the surface of Tatooine.
Princess Leia attempted to fight her way out of the Tantive IV with her blaster, but she was stunned and fell captive. The stormtroopers took Leia to Darth Vader for interrogation. She denied the accusations leveled at her by the Sith Lord. The imperial enforcer knew she had been working with the Rebellion after witnessing the Tantive IV depart from a Rebel ship over Scarif.
Leia became a prisoner of the Empire aboard the Death Star. In the aftermath of the battle of Scarif and the escape attempt, Emperor Palpatine dissolved the Imperial Senate, revoking Organa’s diplomatic immunity as a senator.
The Empire put the Princess through multiple rounds of interrogation, attempting to extract from her the location of the main rebel base. She refused to surrender the information, so Grand Moff Tarkin sentenced her to death.
Before the scheduled execution, the imperial leader brought Leia to the command bridge of the Death Star as it traveled in the Alderaan system. Tarkin offered the Princess one last chance to confess. Left without choice, with her planet under threat, Leia lied and said the rebel base was in Dantooine, its previous location. Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader believed her but revealed there was no deal on the table.
The station’s commander ordered his subordinates to fire at Alderaan with the superlaser. Her planet, family, and friends disintegrated right before Leia’s eyes, leaving her shocked. Imperial troops escorted the Princess back to her cell, where she was to await execution. Sometime after the destruction of Alderaan, a stormtrooper busted into her cell. Leia thought it was another routine check and mocked the soldier for his height. However, this trooper revealed his face and introduced himself as Luke Skywalker, a man working with Obi-Wan Kenobi on a mission to rescue her.
Leia joined Skywalker, the smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca as they fought their way out of the prison block. When imperial reinforcements arrived, Leia helped them escape through the trash chute, which led to them narrowly avoiding death by the compactor. After sneaking through the Death Star’s many corridors, they reached the hangar housing the Millennium Falcon. When they arrived on the ship, Obi-Wan Kenobi sacrificed himself in a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader to allow them to depart into hyperspace.
Battle of Yavin
Under Leia Organa’s instructions, Han Solo and Chewbacca flew the Millennium Falcon to the moon of Yavin 4, where the Rebel Alliance had set up its new base. She rushed to unload the Death Star technical data hidden in R2-D2 and helped oversee the plans to attack it. The Rebellion quickly drafted Luke Skywalker into its starfighter corps. The Death Star appeared in the Yavin system after following the Millennium Falcon.
Leia oversaw the battle of Yavin from the Rebel Alliance’s headquarters in Yavin IV. Despite suffering heavy losses, the Rebels destroyed the Death Star. The Princess awarded all surviving pilots before the evacuation of the base.
On the Run
After destroying the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance scattered across the galaxy until they could find a secluded site for a new base. Leia Organa worked with other rebels, including the trio that rescued her from the space station, to find a suitable place. They also performed many raids and reconnaissance missions on Imperial territory, as the Rebellion could stop its operations.
Three years on, the Rebel Alliance settled on the ice planet of Hoth. Engineers built a massive base inside a glacier, codenamed Echo Base. The construction and regular operations in Hoth were arduous due to the extreme temperatures on the planet’s surface. After the base’s completion, Han Solo said he was leaving the Rebellion to settle his debts with Jabba the Hutt. Leia tried to persuade him but did not share her feelings for him, which angered the smuggler.
Thanks to data from a Viper probe droid, the Empire discovered Echo Base’s location shortly after it had become operational. Aware that an attack was imminent, rebel commanders issued an evacuation order. Leia coordinated part of the evacuation and ordered pilots on their departure order and rendezvous coordinates.
The Imperial Army deployed a large assault force against Echo Base while the Navy blockaded the planet. Leia had planned to leave aboard a transport ship, but imperial troops had overrun the rebel defensive lines by then. Han Solo and Chewbacca helped her and her two droids onto the Millennium Falcon.
The smuggler intended to outrun the Empire by jumping to lightspeed, but a damaged hyperdrive thwarted his plans. Confined to sublight speeds, the Millennium Falcon had to dash into an asteroid field in hopes of losing its pursuers. The crew initially believed they had found a cave where they could conduct repairs, but this turned out to be the stomach of an exogorth space slug. Before this realization, Leia and Han Solo shared a passionate kiss inside the Millennium Falcon.
Exiting the asteroid put the ship in the Empire’s sights again. Out of options, Han Solo crafted a plan based on his knowledge from years in the Imperial Navy. The star destroyers always empty the garbage chute before jumping to hyperspace. Solo performed a feint attack against a star destroyer and then landed on the rear of its bridge, inside its blind spot. Once the imperial vessel performed its scheduled garbage dump, he detached the Millennium Falcon and floated away with the debris undetected. The trick successfully lost his imperial pursuers, but bounty hunter Boba Fett had anticipated such a move and tailed the ship from a distance.
Leia was reluctant to trust Han Solo’s plan to seek refuge and repairs with an old acquaintance at Cloud City, a mining colony on the planet of Bespin. She nonetheless agreed, having no other option. Lando Calrissian greeted them on arrival and allowed his new guests to stay temporarily.
Losing Han Solo
Unfortunately, Leia was right about her reservations. Led by Boba Fett, Darth Vader tracked the Millennium Falcon to Cloud City and arrived there earlier. The Sith Lord forced Lando Calrissian to hand over his incoming guests in exchange for non-interference in Bespin’s domestic affairs.
Darth Vader and Boba Fett ambushed Leia and her companions at a reception banquet. Han Solo attempted to resist, but stormtroopers quickly restrained him and the rest of the party. Leia felt heartbroken after Imperial troops tortured Solo in a cell. The princess tended to him to the best she could but felt powerless during the ordeal.
After tormenting his prisoners, Darth Vader dragged Han Solo to the carbonite freezing pit in Bespin, with Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO as witnesses. The imperial enforcer wanted to test the survivability of the process on Solo before using it on Luke Skywalker to take him to Emperor Palpatine. Before Solo’s captors activated the machine, Leia confessed that she loved him. The smuggler replied that he knew as the carbonite engulfed him. The experience traumatized Leia, but she was relieved that Han’s vital signs were acceptable and that he had survived the process.
Following the devastating loss of Han Solo, Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO were forcibly marched to an imperial shuttle on Darth Vader’s orders. Leia spotted Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 hiding in a corridor. She tried to warn the young Jedi, but her captors ushered her away.
Before the stormtroopers could reach the ship, security guards from Cloud City ambushed and disarmed the squad, freeing Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO. The princess and the Wookiee were furious at Calrissian for betraying them to the Empire but agreed to set their differences asides to rescue Han Solo. R2-D2 joined them after a trapdoor separated him from Luke Skywalker.
They picked up the weapons from the stormtroopers escorting them. Lando led them to the East Platform where Boba Fett’s ship was. The group fought their way but arrived too late, just in time to see the bounty hunter taking off with Han Solo aboard.
Saving Han Solo was now impossible, so they made their way to the Millennium Falcon. On Lando Calrissian’s orders, mechanics in Cloud City had repaired the ship’s damaged hyperdrive beforehand. Lando was familiar with the Millennium Falcon as its previous owner. Chewbacca took on the co-pilot role, and Leia Organa became the mission commander.
The crew prepared to leave Bespin after taking off, but the Princess ordered them to turn around. She had sensed that Luke Skywalker was in danger and needed their help. They found a wounded Luke holding onto a weather scanner vane over the clouds, with his right hand severed. Leia helped him aboard the Millennium Falcon and tended to his wounds while Lando and Chewbacca fended off TIE fighters and a star destroyer chasing them. R2-D2 successfully brought the hyperdrive online, allowing them to make the jump to hyperspace.
Lando Calrissian felt reluctant to head to the Rebellion with the Empire chasing them, but Leia overruled his concerns and took the ship to Rendezvous Point Delta-Three. They boarded a large rebel ship, where Luke Skywalker received a new bionic right hand. Leia felt angry at Lando for working with the Empire but still saw him and Chewbacca off as the two set off to Tatooine aboard the Millennium Falcon to rescue Han Solo.
While waiting for Chewbacca and Lando to track Solo down, Leia embarked on missions to aid the Rebellion. Once the pair in Tatooine had gathered the necessary intelligence, she set off to the desert planet with Luke Skywalker.
The advance party had pinpointed Han Solo’s location in a palace in Mos Espa owned by local crime lord Jabba the Hutt. Lando Calrissian infiltrated as a guard to map out its security. Luke Skywalker sent R2-D2 and C-3PO as gifts to Jabba the Hutt. In exchange, he asked the crime lord to consider freeing Han Solo. Jabba refused but kept the droids.
Left without choice, Leia Organa infiltrated the palace. Disguised as the bounty hunter Boushh, she brought Chewbacca to Jabba the Hutt to collect the bounty for him. The crime lord was delighted to have finally captured the Wookiee and offered 25000 credits in exchange, with C-3PO acting as interpreter for both sides. Leia countered with 50000 credits and threatened Jabba and his guests with a thermal detonator. The boldness impressed the Hutt, and they settled on 35000. Palace guards dragged Chewbacca to a cage in the palace, while Jabba invited Leia to stay for the party.
That night, Leia sneaked into Jabba’s throne room and triggered the release of Han Solo from the carbonite. The imprisonment temporarily blinded him, but he recognized Leia’s voice. They shared a passionate kiss and planned to escape, but Jabba’s guards caught them immediately. The minions sent the disoriented Solo to the same cell as Chewbacca, while Jabba the Hutt made Leia his throne girl.
Organa had to wear a revealing bikini, chained to Jabba’s throne by the neck. She had to endure days in captivity, sleeping next to the sleazy criminal. One night, the majordomo Bib Fortuna woke Jabba and Leia to announce the arrival of a guest. Luke Skywalker had used a Jedi mind trick to make his way into the palace.
The Jedi attempted to bargain with Jabba, but the latter threw him into the rancor pit. After Luke defeated Jabba’s monstrous pet, the Hutt lost his patience. He ordered Luke, Han, and Chewbacca to be executed but spared Leia.
Leia accompanied Jabba and his entourage to the Sarlacc pit. Her friends on death row rode along on a skiff. Jabba forced Leia to share a drink with him, remarking that she would learn to appreciate him. Once Skywalker retrieved his new lightsaber from R2-D2 and challenged the Hutt’s cronies, the princess leaped behind him and used the throne’s chain to choke him. The astromech droid cut the chain to free her.
Leia met up with Luke on top of the barge after the droids had made it onto the skiff and helped him critically damage the luxury vessel before evacuating it. Having dispatched the criminals, the group of rebels flew away back to the Millennium Falcon.
Defeating the Empire
Under Leia’s leadership, the Millennium Falcon flew to the Rebel Alliance’s assembly point in the Sullust system. Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 stopped at Dagobah but joined them later. The Rebellion planned its most daring raid yet. Thanks to intelligence obtained from spies, they discovered the location where the Empire was building an improved version of the Death Star.
The incomplete station orbited a forest moon in the Endor system. Rebel Alliance commanders drafted a two-stage attack plan. A special forces team under the leadership of Han Solo would disable the shield. After that, a strike with starfighters and capital ships would destroy the second Death Star.
Leia Organa immediately volunteered to join Solo in the mission, joined by Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, and R2-D2. Lando Calrissian stayed to temporarily man the Millennium Falcon in the main attack against the new Death Star.
The strike group infiltrated the forest moon aboard a captured Imperial shuttle. When scouting an outpost, they alerted a group of scout troopers. Leia and Luke chased them aboard speeder bikes to prevent them from reporting the rebel presence on the moon. Leia fell off her bike and lost consciousness. An Ewok by the name of Wicket woke her up. The two became fast friends and dispatched troopers they came across on their way to the Ewok village. The locals gave Organa local garments to change into from her rebel pathfinder uniform.
Early in the evening, Leia felt surprised to see most of her friends arrive at the village as captives, while the Ewoks treated C-3PO as a deity. The locals intended to sacrifice the prisoners as offerings to their newfound god. Leia attempted to talk the Ewoks out of this, but they threatened her. Luke Skywalker intervened in the protocol droid’s name and got the locals to free the rebels.
Later that same day, Luke called Leia aside for a serious conversation while C-3PO retold the rebel struggle to the tribe. The Jedi revealed that Darth Vader was his father and Leia was his sister. The revelation briefly stunned her, but she acknowledged that she had felt it the entire time. Skywalker bode farewell to Organa and left to confront Darth Vader. Han Solo arrived after to comfort her.
In the morning, the rebel raiding party moved against the shield generator. Though their initial infiltration was successful, they fell into a trap set by Emperor Palpatine. Imperial reinforcements arrived and forced them to surrender. The rebels averted disaster thanks to a timely intervention by the Ewoks. Leia received a blaster wound to the arm, and Solo confessed his love for her. With the help of Chewbacca aboard an AT-ST walker, Leia and Han moved inside the shield generator and disabled it. The rebel fleet in the Endor orbit successfully destroyed the new Death Star.
During the celebrations on the ground, Solo told Organa that he would not get in the way of her and Luke. Leia laughed it off and told Han that Skywalker was his brother. The couple shared a passionate kiss. Members of the Alliance’s orbital strike team landed on the forest moon in the evening to join the party at the Ewok village.
With the Empire quickly collapsing, Leia took time to undergo Jedi training under her brother’s tutelage. Luke taught her lightsaber combat, meditation, and the ways of the Force. Leia was a quick learner and soon became a capable fighter with the blue lightsaber she had built. Despite making progress, she abandoned her training after a troubling vision forecasted the death of her unborn son.
The New Republic
With the Empire crumbling, Leia Organa and senior rebel leaders such as Mon Mothma worked to restore the Galactic Senate. They founded the New Republic as the ruling body across the galaxy. The princess took office as the representative for the Alderaan sector in the new senate. Now pregnant, she had a vision that her child would be a boy.
Leia and Han worked to end the Galactic Civil War, often separating to cover more ground at once. The pair were instrumental in backing Chancellor Mon Mothma during the battle of Jakku, where the Empire had concentrated its last forces. The New Republic forces crippled the Empire on the desert planet. Grand Vizier Mas Amedda, acting as the Empire’s figurehead, signed the Galactic Concordance to end the war. Leia gave birth to her son Ben Solo that same day. Motherhood did not stop Leia from performing her duties as a senator. When Ben Solo was ten years old, Leia and Han sent him to train with Luke Skywalker, who had been rebuilding the Jedi Order.
After Chancellor Mothma stepped down, tensions between factions within the senate threatened the integrity of the New Republic. Leia Organa was part of the Populists, who believed in autonomy for planets and systems. Centrists wished to see the strong New Republic that makes decisions on a centralized level. While senators squabbled at the senate floor, now relocated to Hosnian Prime, imperial remnants quietly worked to consolidate their military to strike again.
Disgruntled colleagues revealed Leia was Darth Vader’s daughter to the senate, which killed her political career and caused her son to become obsessed with his late grandfather. After withdrawing from her role as senator, Leia formed a paramilitary organization called the Resistance. This movement aimed to contain the lingering threat of the Empire in the face of republican impotence.
Resisting the First Order
As the leader of the Resistance, Leia Organa insisted on being called General instead of Princess. The new organization’s leadership included trusted officers Leia had worked with in her struggle against the Empire. Reinvigorated in her leadership role, she lost her son to the Dark Side. The fallout ruined Leia’s relationship with Han Solo, and the couple eventually separated. Luke Skywalker’s guilt over the incident pushed him to exile.
The New Republic remained functionally impotent, while the Resistance and the First Order continuously strengthened their forces. The collapse of the central government was only a matter of time. Leia believed Luke could help prevent a war from breaking out and began searching for him. She dispatched an operative to Jakku in search of more clues. The mission was almost a disaster until an intervention by a deserting stormtrooper, a scavenger, Han Solo and Chewbacca.
Leia had sent a mission to rescue them from Maz Kanata’s castle in Takodana. As she planned the operation, news reached her that the First Order had used a new superweapon to destroy all bodies in the Hosnian system, effectively ending the New Republic. The battle in Takodana ended, with the First Order kidnapping the scavenger, Rey. Leia joined Resistance troops on the surface and had an emotional reunion with her estranged husband. She interrogated the deserting stormtrooper by the name of Finn, searching for intelligence about Starkiller base.
The group returned to the main Resistance base. Leia found it hard to be around Han, but the two found the time to talk about their son. Solo comforted her and promised to try and bring Ben, now using the identity of Kylo Ren, back from Starkiller base. The Resistance launched a full-scale attack on the superweapon. The mission was a success but at a great sacrifice. Leia felt a great disturbance in the Force when her son killed Han Solo.
Following the victory in Ilum, Leia ordered the Resistance to evacuate its base in D’Qar. Most of the transports successfully left the system, but with unacceptable losses after Poe Dameron disobeyed General Organa’s orders. Leia demoted him to Captain as a result. The First Order tracked the Resistance fleet through hyperspace. Leia was on the bridge of the cruiser Raddus when a TIE fighter destroyed its enclosing. She survived thanks to the Force but suffered severe exposure injuries.
Thanks to the ultimate sacrifice by Leia’s old friend Amilyn Holdo, the Resistance managed to escape the ambush and retreat to an abandoned rebel base in Crait built by her father, Bail Organa. As the First Order launched a ground assault against it, Leia reconnected with her brother, Luke. He sacrificed himself to allow the Resistance to escape once again.
Final Moments and Legacy
Due to the losses suffered in Crait, the Resistance was a spent force. General Organa remained calm as the survivors evacuated aboard the Millennium Falcon, as she believed they had everything needed to rebuild. She scattered the organization’s survivors across the galaxy to recruit former allies of the Republic and Rebellion to fight against the First Order. She also trained Rey in the ways of the Force, despite secretly knowing her grandfather was Emperor Palpatine.
The Resistance learned from First Order General Armitage Hux that Darth Sidious had returned with the help of Sith cultists and was preparing to take over the galaxy again. General Organa dispatched Rey to track down the planet of Exegol, where the enemy forces assembled. Once she sensed her son’s attempt to strike down Rey on the moon of Kef Bir, Leia used the Force to reach out to Ben and save the aspiring Jedi. Her body was weak from the exposure to outer space and gave out after this.
Leia’s death took a severe toll on the remaining Resistance members, particularly Poe Dameron, Rey, and Chewbacca. Lando Calrissian reminded them of previous rebel victories against impossible odds. Rey took the lightsabers of Leia and Luke with her to confront Palpatine in Exogol. Ben Solo joined her. The pair successfully defeated the Sith Lord at the cost of Solo’s life. Leia and Ben became one with the Force.
Question: Why is Leia’s surname Organa and not Skywalker?
Answer: A royal couple of Alderaan, Bail and Queen Breha Organa, adopted and raised Leia. Adopting orphans from the clone wars was common in Alderaan.
Question: Why is Leia not a Jedi?
Answer: Leia Organa started Jedi training with Luke Skywalker but discontinued it after having troubling visions about her son, Ben Solo.
Question: Where did Luke and Leia train?
Answer: Luke trained his sister in the jungle moon of Ajan Kloss, in the Cademimu sector.
Question: How old was Princess Leia when she died?
Answer: Leia passed away aged 54 years old.
Question: How much older is Han Solo than Leia Organa?
Answer: Han Solo is ten years older than Leia. Han Solo was 29 years old, and Leia was 19 when the couple met.
When we look at her service to the galaxy as a princess, a senator, and a general, it is not an exaggeration to say that Leia Organa is the most influential leader to rise after the fall of the Galactic Republic. She led the Rebel Alliance, the New Republic, and finally the Resistance in their struggle against forces led by the Dark Side and always succeeded in ridding the galaxy of existential threats. Like her biological mother, Leia became a symbol of the fight against galactic oppression, inspiring a whole generation.
And if you’re looking for more great female characters in Star Wars, check out the following bios: