Leia Organa is one of the major heroes of the Star Wars franchise. First appearing in Episode IV: A New Hope, she was the Princess of the planet Alderaan and one of the leading members of the Rebel Alliance, fighting to liberate the galaxy from the tyrannical reign of the Galactic Empire. Over time, she would learn of her true heritage as one of the twin children of Anakin Skywalker and learn to wield the power of the Force under the tutelage of her brother Luke. After the fall of the Empire, Leia would continue to fight for freedom when the First Order arose to threaten the galaxy. She has been portrayed throughout the franchise by Carrie Fisher.
Birth and childhood
Leia was one of the twin children born from the union of the former Queen of Naboo Padme Amidala and the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. Her mother would die in childbirth and she would never know her, and her father would be seduced by the dark side of the Force, becoming the Sith lord Darth Vader. Leia and her twin brother Luke would be separated after their birth in order to hide them from Vader and his master Darth Sidious, who would surely consider the children of the galaxy's most powerful Jedi a threat. Luke would be taken to Tatooine to be raised by his aunt and uncle on their moisture farm while Leia was adopted by Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan.
Leia lived a life of considerable comfort with the Organa family and was given a royal upbringing, though she found the life of a princess to be tedious. Her adoptive parents taught her etiquette and also the importance of Alderaan's workers and how their efforts should be appreciated. At the same time, the princess would also train in martial arts, learning how to defend herself rather than rely on bodyguards as well as relieving the tension she developed over the course of her royal duties.
As she grew up, Leia would follow in her adoptive father's footsteps and become a politician and humanitarian, eventually taking her father's seat in the Imperial Senate. During this period, she would meet with a number of figures in the Senate who were opposed to the totalitarian rule of Emperor Palpatine and sympathized with them, agreeing to work with them in establishing a rebel movement against the Empire.
A New Hope
In 0 ABY, the Rebel Alliance scored their first major victory against the Empire after raiding the Imperial base on Scarif, from which they stole the plans to the planet-killing Death Star battlestation. Princess Leia's Blockade Runner was pursued and soon captured by a Star Destroyer under the command of Darth Vader. Before her capture, Leia recorded a message for Obi-Wan Kenobi, a former Jedi and hero of the Clone Wars, and assigned the astromech droid R2-D2 to deliver the message to him on Tatooine. While Leia was taken prisoner, R2-D2 and the protocol droid C-3PO were ejected in an escape pod.
Leia was taken to the Death Star where she was interrogated by Vader, but she refused to give up the location of the Alliance's stronghold. Some time later, all of the Death Star's systems were made fully operational and Grand Moff Tarkin decided to persuade the captive princess by threatening to destroy her homeworld of Alderaan. Leia informed Tarkin that the Rebel base was located on the remote world of Dantooine, though this was not entirely true; the Rebels had once been stationed there but had abandoned it some time ago. Tarkin appeared to be satisfied with the princess' answer, but ordered Alderaan destroyed anyway. Leia was forced to watch in horror as the Death Star's superlaser reduced her world to a cloud of stellar debris.
Not long after Alderaan's annihilation, the princess faced execution as the Imperials had discovered her lie. However, a Corellian freighter had recently been caught in the Death Star's tractor beam and its crew had infiltrated the station. Little did Leia know that one of the ship's passengers was none other than her own twin brother, though she would not learn the truth until years later.
Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca would enter the station's detention level, blasting their way past the guards to the princess' cell. Freed from her cell, Leia proceeded to lead her rescuers out of the detention level, through a garbage compactor and back towards the main hangar, all the while bickering with Han about his seemingly clumsy and brash methods. The group ultimately succeeded in returning to the Millennium Falcon, but not before witnessing the death of Obi-Wan at Darth Vader's hands.
While the Millennium Falcon escaped from the Death Star, Leia correctly deduced that the ship had been allowed to escape and was being tracked. Soon, the group arrived at the Alliance base on Yavin 4 and Leia immediately got to work along with the other Alliance commanders in analyzing the Death Star schematics to plan an attack on the station. Luke would stay with the Rebels to help them in their fight, but Han and Chewbacca left with their reward money, much to Luke and Leia's disappointment.
As the Death Star approached Yavin 4, two Rebel fighter squadrons made their attack, intent on targeting the thermal exhaust port in the station's equatorial trench. Leia watched the battle unfold from the base's command centre, her hope dwindling with each Rebel fighter that was shot down. In the end, Luke was the only one left to make the killing shot. As a squad of TIE fighters closed in on him, they were suddenly blasted away by none other than the Millennium Falcon. Thanks to Han's miraculous intervention, Luke was able to fire his proton torpedoes down the Death Star's exhaust port and hit the main reactor, destroying the station.
After the battle, Leia congratulated Luke and Han for their bravery. Against all odds, these unlikely heroes had saved the Rebel Alliance from certain doom and brought a glimmer of hope to the galaxy. Though the battle had been won, the war against the Empire was far from over...
The Empire Strikes Back
After the Battle of Yavin, the Alliance had moved its headquarters to the frozen planet of Hoth. From there, they continued to launch strike after strike at various Imperial facilities across the galaxy, with Leia overseeing the planning of each operation. However in 3 ABY, the Empire finally discovered the location of the Rebels' base and launched a ground assault. During the battle, the majority of the Rebel forces were able to escape and rendezvous with the main Alliance fleet, though Leia wound up on the Millennium Falcon with Han, Chewbacca and C-3PO while the ship was in a state of disrepair.
The Falcon was able to leave Hoth, but its hyperdrive was damaged and the ship could not jump to lightspeed for an easy escape. Darth Vader's fleet pursued the Falcon into the Hoth Asteroid Belt where the ship hid within the hollows of one of the larger asteroids. Whilst the Falcon was confined in the asteroid cavern, Leia and Han attempted to repair what they could, but would constantly argue and fight with one another. However, this behaviour belied a mutual attraction between the two, an attraction that surfaced when Han and Leia unexpectedly shared a kiss while they were bickering.
After the Millennium Falcon left the asteroid cavern (which turned out to be the mouth of a colossal space slug), it once again evaded Imperial forces and made its way to Bespin to make repairs. Arriving at Cloud City, Leia, Han, Chewbacca and Threepio met with the city's governor, Lando Calrissian. Though the group were initially treated as guests, Lando had actually sold them out to Darth Vader who had arrived before they had. Vader's troops took the heroes prisoner with the intention of using them as bait for Luke Skywalker, whom Vader and the Emperor had taken a special interest in.
Later, after a session of brutal torture, Han was taken to a carbon-freezing facility where he was encased in carbonite. Leia and Chewie were forced to watch and Leia confessed her love for Han as he was lowered into the freezing chamber. After Han was frozen, the bounty hunter Boba Fett took him away while Lando was ordered to escort Leia, Chewie and the partially disassembled C-3PO to Vader's ship. However, Lando's own security force ambushed the stormtrooper escort in a corridor, taking the soldiers prisoner while Lando freed Leia and Chewbacca. Chewbacca almost throttled Lando to death, but Lando convinced he and Leia that there was still a chance to save Han. He led them to the landing platform where Fett's ship, Slave 1, was waiting. By the time they got there, however, Slave 1 had just taken off and there was nothing the heroes could do to stop it.
Leia, Chewie and Lando were attacked by stormtroopers as they made their way to the landing platform where the Millennium Falcon was waiting. Joined by R2-D2, who had been seperated from Luke shortly after he had landed, the group returned to the Falcon and took off. While in flight, Leia suddenly urged Lando to turn the ship around, having inexplicably sensed where Luke was located. What she hadn't yet realised was that Luke had called out to her through the Force after being defeated by Vader. Following Luke's voice through the Force, Leia commanded Lando to take the Falcon beneath Cloud City. On the underside of the city, they found Luke dangling from an antenna and managed to safely retrieve him.
After escaping Bespin, the Millennium Falcon regrouped with the Alliance fleet where the Falcon was fully repaired and Luke recieved a cybernetic hand to replace the one he had lost in his duel with Vader. Leia and Luke remained with the fleet while Lando and Chewbacca took the Millennium Falcon to Tatooine on a mission to rescue Han from the crime lord Jabba the Hutt.
Return of the Jedi
In 4 ABY, Leia, Luke and Lando executed a plan to rescue Han from Jabba's palace on Tatooine. First, Luke sent C-3PO and R2-D2 into the palace with a message for Jabba as well as a gift: themselves. Jabba, however, would not trade the still-frozen Solo and simply took the droids. Later, disguised as an alien bounty hunter, Leia brought Chewbacca before Jabba, supposedly to claim his bounty. After dark, while Jabba's court members were all asleep, Leia snuck into the main chamber and thawed Han out of his block of carbonite. Suffering from hibernation sickness, Han was left temporarily blind and was unaware of his surroundings. Leia then removed her mask, speaking in her own voice and assuring Han that he was with someone who loved him.
Leia and Han's reunion was interrupted by Jabba, who had apparently been aware of Leia's deception the entire time. His guards took Han and locked him up along with Chewbacca while Leia was forced to become Jabba's new slave girl, dressed in a skimpy outfit and chained to Jabba's throne.
Later, Luke arrived at Jabba's palace and urged the obese gangster to free his friends. Jabba laughed and simply dropped the young Jedi down a pit to be consumed by his pet rancor. However, Luke managed to kill the beast, enraging Jabba. The insidious Hutt then demanded that Luke and his friends all be put to death by being fed to the colossal Sarlacc beast nesting in the Pit of Carkoon.
At the Pit of Carkoon, Luke's escape plan was set in motion. Having retrieved his lightsaber from Artoo, Luke freed himself, Han and Chewbacca and battle broke out. Meanwhile, Leia was aboard Jabba's sail barge, unable to do anything but watch as the battle unfolded. Artoo would eventually come to Leia's aid, using his arc welder to break the chain that bound her to Jabba. Leia then took the length of chain and used it to strangle Jabba, killing the bloated Hutt. As her friends commandeered one of Jabba's air skiffs, Leia aimed the sail barge's main blaster turret at the deck and set it to fire, causing catastrophic damage. She boarded the skiff with Luke which then sped away as the barge exploded.
After leaving Tatooine, Luke took off for Dagobah while Leia and the others went to rendezvous with the Alliance fleet near Sullust. The Alliance was ready to begin its greatest offensive yet: attacking the second Death Star being constructed above the forest moon of Endor. Leia would join Han's commando team on the ground that were tasked with destroying the bunker projecting the battlestation's energy shield. Luke would return in time to join them, but when Leia greeted him, she sensed something was wrong. Luke merely told her to ask him about it another time.
Using a stolen Imperial shuttle, Han and his team passed the Imperial blockade and landed on Endor. It wasn't long before they ran into complications as Imperial scouts discovered them, fleeing on speeder bikes to warn the main force protecting the shield bunker. Luke and Leia chased after them, but during the pursuit, Leia was knocked off her speeder and rendered unconscious. When she awoke a while later, she was not alone. A small, furry creature known as Wicket, one of the native Ewoks, was prodding her with his spear. Leia assured the Ewok that she was no threat, offering him some of her rations. The two were spotted by a lone Imperial scout who fired at them, but Leia returned fire and killed the scout. Afterwards, Wicket led Leia back to his treetop village to meet the rest of his tribe.
Later, at the Ewoks' village, Leia was astonished to see that the Ewoks had captured her friends and were worshipping C-3PO as some kind of deity. She pleaded with Threepio to convince the Ewoks to release the others, though it was only after some trickery with the Force from Luke that the creatures finally complied. After Threepio explained the Rebels' story to them, the Ewoks welcomed the group into their tribe. That night, Luke decided to talk with Leia about what he had learned from Obi-Wan's ghost and how his presence was endangering their mission. When she heard the revelation that she and Luke were really siblings, she reacted with surprise: surprise that she somehow already knew the truth. She tried to tell Luke to leave and go into hiding, but Luke was adamant that he had to face Darth Vader, their father, once more and try and turn him back to the light side of the Force.
The following day, the Rebels and their new Ewok allies began their attack on the shield generator. At first, the Imperial troops with their advanced weapons and resources seemed to have the advantage, but they had no idea how vastly outnumbered they truly were. Though the Ewoks had no advanced technology, their numbers were great and they knew Endor's terrain. Using several traps located in the woods surrounding the bunker, the Ewoks were able to take the Imperials off-guard and the Rebels managed to seize the bunker. Though Leia was wounded during the fighting, she survived to witness the success of their mission. Not long after the bunker was destroyed, the Death Star exploded in the skies above Endor. Through the Force, Leia sensed that Luke was still alive after the station's destruction. Han asked if Leia loved Luke, but Leia told Han that Luke was her brother and, with a kiss, assured the smuggler that she still loved him. That night, the Rebels celebrated their victory with their Ewok friends. With the loss of their Emperor and their mightiest weapon, the Empire had been dealt a crippling blow, but there was still work yet to be done before freedom could be restored to the galaxy.
Jedi training, motherhood and return to politics
The Galactic Civil War would continue for another year following the Battle of Endor. During this time, Leia married Han Solo and the two would concieve a child together. She would also undertake Jedi training under the tutelage of her brother Luke, learning how to effectively wield the Force as well as constructing her own lightsaber. However, Leia would ultimately give up her training; she experienced a vision of a future where her unborn child would die if she carried on her training to its conclusion. In light of this vision, as well as her political and military responsibilities to the fledgling New Republic, Leia would terminate her training, but would always treasure the time she spent with Luke.
Leia would become an important political figure in the New Republic, helping to establish the new Galactic Senate and organizing the liberation of a number of Imperial-occupied worlds. On the final day of the civil war, she would give birth to her son, who would be named Ben Solo. As Ben grew over the years, so too did his Force sensitivity. However, it became clear to Leia that her son was struggling with the dark side of the Force. With great reluctance, she and Han made the decision to send their son away to train as a Jedi under his uncle Luke, hoping that Luke's teachings would help settle Ben's obsessions. Sadly, this decision also had a profound impact on Leia and Han's marriage.
Over the next several years, Leia would throw herself into her political work, striving to protect the New Republic from external and internal threats. She made a bid for First Senator of the New Republic Senate, hoping that her influence would bridge the divide between her Populist movement and the more extreme Centrists. However, Leia was betrayed by some of her closest political allies who were, in fact, secretly working for a rising militant faction known as the First Order. This betrayal came in the form of the very public revelation that Leia was the daughter of Darth Vader, a figure universally hated by the galaxy at large. The exposure of her true parentage ultimately destroyed Leia's political career.
Though forced to exit from the political stage, Leia was determined to defend the New Republic by whatever means necessary. The Senate did not believe that the First Order posed a significant threat, but Leia was convinced that another galactic war was inevitable. She contacted all of her former Alliance comrades and as many like-minded military figures as she could, gathering whatever resources were available in order to form the Resistance: an unsanctioned militant organization determined to preserve the peace that the Alliance had fought so hard to achieve.
Sadly, personal tragedy would cause Leia to withdraw into her work, leading to her marriage with Han completely breaking down. As the First Order continued to rise to prominence, Leia's son Ben would be swayed towards the dark side of the Force by Supreme Leader Snoke. Ben would destroy Luke's Jedi temple and murder his Padawan learners before joining Snoke's side under the name Kylo Ren. Emotionally broken by the loss of her son, Leia focused all of her energies on managing the Resistance and distanced herself from Han. Han, equally devastated, would attempt to find solace by returning to his old life as a smuggler with Chewbacca at his side.
The Force Awakens
In 34 ABY, the war between the First Order and the Resistance would commence with an apocalypse as the First Order used their Starkiller Base hyperspace weapon to completely annihilate the Hosnian system, decapitating the New Republic's leadership and wiping out its star fleet in a single motion.
Following the Hosnian cataclysm, the Resistance fleet is dispatched from its home base on D'Qar under the command of General Leia Organa. Thanks to C-3PO's droid communications network, Leia's forces discovered the location of the astromech droid BB-8 which was carrying a map leading to the hiding place of Leia's brother Luke. Arriving at the planet Takodana, the Resistance fought off a First Order force attacking Maz Kanata's castle, saving BB-8, who happened to be in the care of Leia's own husband Han and his partner Chewbacca.
Following the Battle of Takodana, the Resistance organized an operation to attack Starkiller Base and rescue the captured scavenger Rey, who was being interrogated by Kylo Ren. Former stormtrooper Finn would provide the Resistance with information on the base, including its weaknesses and the best point to infiltrate. Han volunteered to take part in the mission, both to help the Resistance, but also to try and convince his and Leia's son to come back with him.
From the Resistance base, Leia oversaw the operation to attack Starkiller Base. During the operation, however, she was overcome by a tremendous disturbance in the Force as she sensed Han's death at their son's hands. Han's sacrifice would not be in vain, however, as the Resistance would succeed in saving Rey and destroying Starkiller Base. After the battle, Rey would meet with Leia and, after obtaining BB-8's completed star map, promised the general that she would find Luke and bring him back into the fold. Rey then embraced Leia sympathetically before departing in an X-Wing for Ahch-To where Luke was living in self-imposed exile.
The Last Jedi
After Rey had departed to Ahch-To, the Resistance began their evacuation from D'Qar. As the First Order fleet approached the planet, a squadron of Resistance bombers intercepted them, keeping them occupied until the bulk of the Resistance fleet could escape into hyperspace. However, the First Order were capable of tracking ships through hyperspace and were able to catch up to the Resistance fleet. The Mega Star Destroyer Supremacy began bombarding the nearest ships while TIE squadrons were deployed to intercept the vessels further ahead.
Boarding his TIE Phantom, Kylo Ren led a squadron to intercept the Resistance flagship Raddus, knowing his mother was aboard. Leia, sensing her son approaching, reached out to him through the Force. Kylo's resolve seemed to waiver for a brief moment, but this did not stop his wingman from firing a volley of missiles at the Raddus' bridge. The missiles hit home and everyone on the bridge, including Leia, was suddenly blown out into space through the hull breach. While her comrades died instantly, Leia's connection to the Force allowed her to survive in vacuum long enough to swim through the empty void and re-board the Raddus, moving through the bridge and into an airlocked corridor.
Though incapacitated, Leia shared brief mental contact with Luke, who had reopened his previously closed connection to the Force, and she said her brother's name. Shortly thereafter, Leia awakened, seemingly recovered, but having previously been exposed to the hazards of outer space, she suffered from a lack of oxygen to her tissue and solar radiation. After discovering that Poe Dameron and some of the other crew members had revolted against Admiral Holdo and were holding her hostage in disapproval of her leadership, Leia neutralized Poe and joined the remainder of the Resistance forces, who were evacuating the Raddus as there was no chance to destroy the Supremacy. Holdo offered to stay behind, eventually sacrificing herself to ram the Raddus into the Supremacy at lightspeed, cleaving it in half and destroying much of its escort fleet instantly. The remaining Resistance forces escaped to an old Rebel Alliance base on the planet Crait, which was subsequently attacked by the First Order after Resistance fighters Finn and Rose Tico were betrayed by a slicer named DJ. During the battle, the Resistance broadcasted a distress signal to their allies, but received no response, with Leia lamenting that the galaxy had lost hope.
In that moment, she was reunited with her brother Luke via Force projection, during which she was comforted and given Han Solo's dice from the Millennium Falcon. Her brother reassured her that "no one's ever really gone" before engaging in combat with Kylo Ren, thus allowing Leia and the others to escape, leaving the dice on the floor of the base. Collapsing from the mental toil required to sustain such a lifelike illusion, Luke died on Ahch-To, becoming one with the Force. However, he died contented and at peace, which Leia sensed.
Search for allies
Following the escape from Crait, Leia attempted to contact as many allies from across the galaxy, calling for them to unite against the First Order. Very few Resistance cells were able to respond to this call due to most having already been hunted down and destroyed while the majority of sympathizers refused to answer out of fear of being discovered. Although the situation was bleak, Leia continued to hold on to hope that the war was not yet lost. When her forces rallied on Ajan Kloss, the general decided to continue Rey's Force training where Luke had left off. What Rey was not aware of was that Leia had discovered through the Force the truth behind the scavenger's past, but chose not to share this information.
In 35 ABY, the Resistance had still not received any answer to its rallying call. Much to their dread, an ominous transmission had been sent out across the galaxy, seemingly sent by the long-believed deceased Emperor Palpatine. The Dark Lord of the Sith had returned and announced that he would take a terrible vengeance upon the galaxy as the Sith would return to dominance once more.
The Rise of Skywalker
The Resistance would discover that Palpatine had indeed returned from the dead after receiving an encoded transmission from a spy within the First Order, revealing that the resurrected Emperor was amassing a fleet on the planet Exegol in the Unknown Regions. The Resistance did not know of Exegol's exact location, and so Leia allowed Rey, Finn, Poe, C-3PO and BB-8 to undertake a mission to find the mysterious Sith stronghold.
Rey's search for Exegol took her to the wreckage of the second Death Star on Endor's oceanic moon of Kef Bir, where she engaged in a duel with Kylo Ren. During the fight, Leia sensed the confrontation and realized what she must do to save her son, Ben Solo. Prior to that moment, Leia had kept a secret: unknown to anyone but herself, Leia's attempt to save herself from the vacuum of space during the attack on the Raddus had taken a heavy toll on her. In the intervening months, her health had continually deteriorated and she would constantly hear her brother's urging to let go and be one with the Force, an action she consistently resisted as she did not wish to leave Rey nor the rest of the Resistance without first preparing them adequately. Upon sensing the confrontation, however, Leia knew that it was time.
Organa used the last of her strength to reach out with the Force and call out Kylo's birth name to him. Upon calling for Ben through the Force, Organa collapsed and died, the last of her strength spent. The only witness to her death was R2-D2, who proved true loyalty to her at that moment, as he had also been present at her birth. Leia's final act helped to redeem her son, who eventually sacrificed himself to resurrect Rey after the latter died in the process of smiting her malevolent grandfather Palpatine at the battle of Exegol.