By the time fans were reintroduced to Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the princess had become a beloved and respected general within the Resistance. This didn’t come as too much of shock given that Leia was a well-known politician and Rebel Alliance leader during the Original Trilogy. However, as revealed through early concept art for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, this wasn’t always meant to be the case.
Newly unveiled art from The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (via Yahoo!) reveals that Leia transition was going to be somewhat difficult. According to Lucasfilm’s senior vice president of production, Kiri Hart, Michael Arndt’s original treatment would have revealed that Leia was ostracized after the fall of the Galactic Empire due to a certain familial connection. Hart was quoted in the book, saying:
Cast out of the thing that she cared about the most — re-establishing the Republic — Leia is then at a loss as to what her role should be. All of that is really interesting. It’s still conceivably stuff that we can use. I remember Michael saying at one point that Carrie is a survivor. And Leia is, as well, and that’s what we are saying about her. Tapping into what that actor can do, what feels real to her.
While it ultimately wasn’t explored in the film, Leia’s conflict with her status as Darth Vader’s daughter has been depicted in novels and comics. Having some of this play out in the films, though, would have been a bold move. As previously stated, Leia was well liked among her peers in the rebellion, so having someone take issue with her connection to Darth Vader may have thrown her for a loop. This also could have had some serious effects on her psyche that could have been great for the late Carrie Fisher to play out on the big screen.
Nevertheless, Leia Organa is definitely no stranger to tragedy. Having lost her birth father to the Dark Side and her mother to a premature death, she became an orphan at birth. She did manage to find a stable family with the Organas on Alderaan, but she would lose those two parental figures as well when the planet was destroyed by the Death Star.
Of course, we can’t forget the fact that she would eventually lose her own son, Ben Solo, to the Dark Side. Not only that, but her marriage to Han Solo would also suffer, with the two eventually becoming estranged.
A number of questions come to mind when wondering how Michael Arndt wanted this to factor into his story, but J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio seem to have had other ideas Still, any fans wanting to get a better grasp of this conflict can look at resources beyond the films.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now available on Digital HD and will be released on the DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD home media formats on March 31.