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As fans eagerly await Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and one of Carrie Fisher's final performances as Leia Organa, it's worth remembering it's preceded by a shocking twist for her character. Leia gave fans a start in Star Wars: The Last Jedi with her unique command of the Force that allowed her to go rocketing through space after being sucked out of the ship back to safety using only her abilities. Leia escaped sure death, which some fans were certainly happy about, although the way she did it caused a "great disturbance" for some.
Even today the scene is still incredibly divisive amongst franchise fans, with some praising the move, and others wishing it was retconned entirely or not acknowledged any further. To be fair, it was one of the most impressive things a character has done with the Force in Star Wars, and it happened with someone who wasn't known for being a proficient student of the Force.
The controversy had to be quite the pickle for Star Wars decision makers ahead of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and fans still haven't learned how it will be addressed. Did the franchise give in to complaints and tone down Leia's force connection in Episode IX, or will the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga show General Organa exhibit her controller of the Force yet again? Here are some things to consider ahead of the film that may show it's happening, and why that's OK.
Carrie Fisher Died Before Filming The Rise of Skywalker, But She Still Has Scenes
While Leia Organa was shown alive and well at the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, fans know that Carrie Fisher died before the film arrived in theaters. Filming on The Rise of Skywalker had not yet begun, but when it did, Disney announced that Fisher would not be CGI'd and that footage of her in the film would be tied to previously un-seen footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The good news is that we'll get genuine footage of Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. With that being said, it's a big question mark whether or not this footage can be manipulated to somehow build on the events of The Last Jedi, or if it's just a generic scene meant to give Leia a presence in the film and build toward a fitting farewell.
Just to throw it out there though, it wouldn't be all that hard to film a scene where Leia uses the force again, even if that wasn't the original intention of the footage. The Empire Strikes Back showed Yoda lift a Y-Wing by closing his eyes and extending his hand, and the same effect could be achieved by just keeping the shot tight on Leia's face if her eyes are closed. One would think it wouldn't be hard to incorporate Leia's force powers, even if Fisher's upcoming scenes were filmed ahead of The Last Jedi.
Leia's Command Of The Force Was Evident Before The Last Jedi
Admittedly, I was shocked when I saw Leia send herself sailing back to the ship through use of the Force, but I really shouldn't have been. No Star Wars fans should've, as Leia's connection to the Force has been well documented throughout previously existing Legends canon as well as the current official canon.
Leia had always been in tune with the Force, it just wasn't ever as apparent on screen as it was in The Last Jedi. Official novelizations of the original trilogy made clearer references to the fact Leia was in tune with the Force, and fans may remember there was even a hint that Leia's Force abilities had heightened in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Remember when Han was killed by Kylo Ren? Leia sensed that singular death amongst all the many and was absolutely leveled by it. Obviously, emotion had something to do with it, but Leia's ability to sense the tragedy was a skill only exhibited by some talented Force users like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. Point being, Leia's force flight wasn't just a fluke or blindside that ignores canon, fans should've known she could do something like that.
Especially when considering she's a twin to Luke Skywalker, who displayed otherworldly Force powers in The Last Jedi's final scenes. It's only natural she'd grow further in tune with the Force in the years following the original trilogy, and be able to achieve some impressive feats of her own. It's even possible there were initially clear signs of that in The Force Awakens, scenes that could have ended up getting cut to make room for others. Now, with Leia's command of the force more plainly stated, the scene would make more sense in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Showing Leia's Force Abilities In The Rise Of Skywalker Would Help Justify The Last Jedi
Leia's Force flight scene may never stop being jarring to audiences, but that doesn't mean it can't be jarring in a good way. If Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker can make Leia's command of the force relevant, the shocking scene will ultimately serve as a foreshadowing to future generations.
As far as what Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker can do to justify that point, we have to be realistic. I don't think it would be too crazy to think Leia could play a role in part of Rey's training, even if she may already have had the best Force teacher in Luke Skywalker. It's not like a Jedi in training can only have just one person teaching them things, and Leia could at least observe Rey and her progress.
Also, remember when Rey was just inherently good at wielding a lightsaber and had solid command of the Force? It was a gripe of The Force Awakens that's since faded in recent years, but it almost seemed as though Rey had some force training ahead of her showdown with Kylo Ren. Hypothetically speaking, what if there was a scene in which Leia trained Rey in the Force, that was later cut due to time? Seems like something that could still fit in The Rise of Skywalker and advance the story of Leia in a way J.J. Abrams realized he could.
Again though, these are a lot of questions and this is merely speculation on why Episode IX may and should use its final Leia scenes further establishing her force powers. Obviously I have no clue if that's going to actually happen, or how much screen time Leia will have in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Regardless of what is shown, we can all hope it will be a fitting send off for one of the key actresses that made Star Wars so great.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters Friday, December 20. Stick with CinemaBlend in the meantime for continued coverage and specualtion on the final film in the Skywalker saga, and for the latest and greatest news in television and movies.