Princess Leia

Princess Leia
Star Wars character
Princess Leia's characteristic hairstyle.jpg
Promotional photo of Fisher as Princess Leia for Star Wars (1977)
First appearance Star Wars (1977)
Created by George Lucas
Portrayed by
Voiced by
Information
Aliases Boushh (Return of the Jedi)
Gender Female
Affiliation
Title
Family
Spouse(s) Han Solo
Children
Relatives
Homeworld Alderaan (homeworld)
Polis Massa (birthplace)

Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, later known as General Leia Organa, is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise, portrayed in films by Carrie Fisher. Introduced in the original Star Wars film in 1977, Leia is princess of the planet Alderaan, a member of the Imperial Senate and an agent of the Rebel Alliance. She thwarts the sinister Sith Lord Darth Vader and helps bring about the destruction of the Empire's cataclysmic weapon, the Death Star. In The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Leia commands a Rebel base and evades Vader as she falls in love with the smuggler Han Solo. In Return of the Jedi (1983), Leia leads the operation to rescue Han from the crime lord Jabba the Hutt, and is revealed to be Vader's daughter and the twin sister of Luke Skywalker. The prequel film Revenge of the Sith (2005) establishes that the twins' mother is Senator (and former queen) Padmé Amidala of Naboo, who dies after childbirth. Leia is adopted by Senator Bail and Queen Breha Organa of Alderaan. In The Force Awakens (2015), Leia is the founder and General of the Resistance against the First Order and has a son with Han named Ben, who now goes by the name Kylo Ren.

In the original Star Wars expanded universe (1977–2014) of novels, comics and video games, which are set in an alternate continuity, Leia continues her adventures with Han and Luke after Return of the Jedi, fighting Imperial resurgences and new threats to the galaxy. She becomes the Chief of State of the New Republic and a Jedi Master, and is the mother to three children by Han: Jaina, Jacen and Anakin Solo.

One of the more popular Star Wars characters, Leia has been called a 1980s icon, a feminist hero and model for other adventure heroines. She has appeared in many derivative works and merchandising, and has been referenced or parodied in several TV shows and films. Her " cinnamon buns" hairstyle from Star Wars (1977) and metal bikini from Return of the Jedi have become cultural icons.

Creation and casting

Leia was created by Star Wars creator George Lucas. In 1999, Lucas explained his early development of Leia, Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi:

The first [version] talked about a princess and an old general. The second version involved a father, his son, and his daughter; the daughter was the heroine of the film. Now the daughter has become Luke, Mark Hamill's character. There was also the story of two brothers where I transformed one of them into a sister. The older brother was imprisoned, and the young sister had to rescue him and bring him back to their dad. [1]

Film historian Laurent Bouzereau notes in his 1997 book Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays that in the rough draft of Star Wars, Leia is the spoiled teenage daughter of King Kayos and Queen Breha of Aquilae, with two brothers, Biggs and Windy; Biggs returned to the fourth draft as a childhood friend of Luke. [2] According to Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas (1999), Luke Skywalker was originally Luke Starkiller and Leia was "the daughter of Owen Lars and his wife Beru and seems to be Luke's cousin–together they visit the grave of his mother, who perished with his father on a planet destroyed by the Death Star." [3] J. W. Rinzler explains in The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film (2007) that a later story synopsis establishes Leia as "Leia Antilles", the daughter of Bail Antilles from the peaceful world of Organa Major. In the fourth draft it was established that "Leia Organa" came instead from Alderaan. [4]

Fisher was 19 when she was cast as Princess Leia, [5] with actresses including Amy Irving, Cindy Williams and Jodie Foster also up for the role. [6] [7] In 2014, InkTank reported that the extended list of "more than two dozen actresses" who had auditioned for Leia included Glenn Close, Farrah Fawcett, Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek, Sigourney Weaver, Cybill Shepherd, Jane Seymour, Anjelica Huston, Kim Basinger, Kathleen Turner, Geena Davis and Meryl Streep. [8] [9] [10] Asked about Streep in 2015, Fisher said, "Bullshit! I've never heard that one. But Jodie Foster was up for it... that one I knew the most. Amy Irving and Jodie. And I got it." [11]

The second draft of the Return of the Jedi screenplay contained dialogue in which Obi-Wan tells Luke he has a twin sister. She and their mother were "sent to the protection of friends in a distant system. The mother died shortly thereafter, and Luke's sister was adopted by Ben's friends, the governor of Alderaan and his wife." [12] Fisher explained in 1983: "Leia's real father left her mother when she was pregnant, so her mother married this King Organa. I was adopted and grew up set apart from other people because I was a princess." [13]

Composer John Williams created a musical leitmotif for Leia which recurs throughout the Star Wars saga. "Princess Leia's Theme" was recorded as a concert suite (4:18 length) for the score of the 1977 film.