The Real Reason Why Leia Was Classed As A Princess in 'Star Wars'
The Princess Has A Complicated Family History
"The General? To me, she's royalty."
-Lor San Tekka to Poe Dameron (The Force Awakens)
In the Star Wars film that started it all, A New Hope, Princess Leia Organa is one of the first few characters we are introduced to. Throughout the movie, we learn that she is from the planet Alderaan and a closet member of the Rebel Alliance, fighting against the Galactic Empire. Our other heroes are brought into the story trying to help her by getting a pair of droids carrying sensitive information about the Death Star delivered safely to Alderaan, until it is destroyed by the Death Star.
Although it is not fleshed out in A New Hope, nor subsequent original trilogy movies, we have, of course, since learned through expanded universe materials that she was the adopted daughter of the royal family of Alderaan, which explains her title. We have also learned from other expanded universe materials that, at the time of A New Hope, she also served as a Senator in the Imperial Senate, which is soon dissolved by the Emperor.
Despite the death of her family and the destruction of Alderaan in A New Hope, Leia is still referred to by her honorific throughout the rest of the original trilogy, likely out of a sense of respect by other members of the Rebel Alliance for her, as well as the tragic loss of Alderaan, whose people and royal family were sympathetic to the Alliance.
With Return of the Jedi and the subsequent introduction of the prequel trilogy, Leia's backstory was fleshed out further, although the road to getting the title of "Princess" is not quite as clear-cut as it might seem. One of the first characters we are introduced to in The Phantom Menace is the teenaged girl who would become Leia's mother, Queen Padme Amidala, the ruler of the planet Naboo in the film.
So, the first logical leap that most of us (myself included) made is that Leia becomes a Princess by virtue of being Padme Amidala's daughter. However, subsequent prequel trilogy movies muddy those waters by having her step down from her initial (elected) role as Queen and begin representing Naboo in the Galactic Senate. Ultimately, at the conclusion of Revenge of the Sith, with Leia's father, Anakin Skywalker, having turned to the dark side and Padme having died giving birth to her and Luke, it is decided by Jedi Masters Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi that the twins be separated for their own safety, which was alluded to in Return of the Jedi. Luke is delivered to family members on Tatooine and Leia is brought to Alderaan by her adoptive father, Senator Bail Organa, who served as Prince Consort to the Queen of Alderaan, establishing Leia's own royal lineage that continues throughout the original trilogy.
Further confusing things in terms of continuity, however, is that, in Return of the Jedi, Leia recounts to Luke memories of her mother as being "very beautiful, but sad." Of further note is that Luke, who is undoubtedly stronger in the Force than Leia at that point in time, doesn't remember their mother at all. With the continuity established in Revenge of the Sith that Padme died delivering them, it seems improbable that Leia was remembering Padme. Various explanations have been offered for that discontinuity, albeit none that seem particularly compelling.
In the sequel trilogy, set several decades after Return of the Jedi, following her break with the New Republic over her concerns about the growing threat posed by the shadowy First Order, Leia sheds her title of Princess and becomes "General Organa". As the leader of the breakaway Resistance, she leads the group throughout most of the sequel trilogy, scoring a major victory over the First Order by destroying Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens and leads the remnants of the Resistance to safety in The Last Jedi. However, to old-timers like Lor San Tekka and Star Wars fans everywhere, Leia, and the actress portraying her, Carrie Fisher, will always be remembered and cherished as our Princess.
Written by Mara Butler
Syndicated from Culture Slate