Why Princess Leia Doesn't Use The Force, According To J.J. Abrams

In Return of the Jedi it is revealed that Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia are brother and sister. Since we know that "the Force is strong" in that family, it follows that Leia herself has the potential to become a Jedi. If you were expecting to see Jedi Leia in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, however, you will be disappointed, as it seems that Leia made the decision not to train in the ways of the Force since she had much more important things to focus on.

The question of what path Leia took following Return of the Jedi was one that director J.J. Abrams and the other writers knew they would have to deal with. It was even something that they discussed with George Lucas. From the prequels, we know that that traditionally students were still children when they begin training. Yoda views Luke as too old in The Empire Strikes Back and Leia would have been that much older if she had begun training following Jedi. Abrams, for his part, doesn’t really think the age restriction is a big deal, but he tells IGN that the key was that Leia choose not to train when there was other, more important, work to be done.

It was a great question, and one that we talked about quite a bit, even with Carrie [Fisher]…Why did she not take advantage of this natural Force strength that this character had. And 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.

From a character standpoint this actually makes a lot of sense. Training with The Force is a fairly serious commitment and it’s unlikely Leia would have been able to work with the Resistance and train at the same time. From the moment we meet Leia in the first film, she is fighting against the Empire, a fight that is important to her. It’s hard to see her leaving it to others following the success the Rebellion has had at the end of the trilogy. When you’ve landed a major blow like that, you don’t let up.

We may still see General Leia showing some aspects of her innate ability however. J.J. Abrams goes on to say that we do see that she is "Force strong" in the new movie and calls her ability an "intrinsic piece of her character." While we probably won’t see Carrie Fisher swinging a lightsaber or moving objects with her mind, her ability to use The Force to "sense" things may be expanded upon. The end of Return of the Jedi implies Leia is able to sense that Luke is okay. It’s possible this ability will come into play again in regards to Luke and whatever part he actually plays in the movie. Check out the full clip below.

Were you looking forward to seeing Leia as Jedi or is the title of General the best fit for the character? Let us know what you think?

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.