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Major spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If you haven't seen the latest sequel, you may want to check out a different story.
It's been nearly a week since Star Wars: The Last Jedi has arrived in theaters, and fans are still reeling from Rian Johnson's mold breaker of a sequel. The most divisive Star Wars film in years, fan reaction has been split, despite the sequel doing very well critically. Johnson took a series of major risks, purposefully subverting fan expectations. And while some moments seem to have paid off, fans seem to be especially flabbergasted by General Leia's survival in space, and use of The Force early in the film's runtime. Johnson recently explained how he developed this controversial moment, and why it was so important to him.
That was something Kathy [Kennedy] was always asking: Why has this never manifested in Leia? She obviously made a choice, because in Return of the Jedi Luke tells her, 'You have that power too.' I liked the idea that it's not Luke concentrating, reaching for the lightsaber; it's an instinctual survival thing, like when you hear stories of a parent whose toddler is caught under a car and they get superhuman strength, or a drowning person clawing their way to the surface. It's basically just her not being done with the fight yet. I wanted it to happen [for Carrie] and I knew it was going to be a stretch. It's a big moment, and I'm sure it will land different ways for different people, but for me it felt like a really emotionally satisfying thing to see.
Rian Johnson's comments to the LA Times certainly helps to put Leia's showing of power during The Last Jedi's first act. Her strength is almost subconscious, with her body and abilities taking over in order to ensure her survival, and the future of The Resistance. While this moment seemingly changed the way fans will view The Force and the capabilities of its accompanying abilities, it may help to put the shocking scene into perspective for the many naysayers out there.
While much of The Last Jedi is up for debate, Leia floating through the vacuum of space seems to be the moment that has garnered the most eye rolls from both side of the aisle. The explosion of her ship was a shocking and horrifying moment, and it certainly looked like Leia had bitten the dust early in the film's runtime. And while fans were happy to see Carrie Fisher's character finally use The Force in a significant way, we've never seen a Jedi or Sith with the ability to survive in space. But perhaps this will be an ability unique to Leia in that exact moment. Like a mother lifting a car off of her child, she momentarily utilized a strength she didn't know she had.