Princess Leia Organa Solo of Alderaan (born Leia Amidala Skywalker) is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe. She is portrayed by actress Carrie Fisher in A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, as well as The Star Wars Holiday Special. Aiden Barton appeared as an infant Leia in Revenge of the Sith. Ann Sachs provided the voice of Leia in the 1980s radio dramas of the original trilogy.
She is one of the main protagonists of the original Star Wars trilogy. In Return of the Jedi, it is revealed that she is the twin sister of Luke Skywalker, and thus the daughter of Darth Vader. In the Star Wars prequel films, her mother is identified as Padmé Amidala.
By the fictional chronology, Leia first appears in Revenge of the Sith, when Padmé gives birth to her and Luke at Polis Massa. (In an apparent plothole, Leia is able to recall in Return of the Jedi- set 23 years later- that her mother was "beautiful, kind, but sad", despite the fact that Padmé dies only minutes after Leia is born. The official Star Wars website clearly states in its "Q & A" section that Leia was, in fact, remembering Padmé. )
After Padmé's death, Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda decide that they must hide the Skywalker children from their father, former Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, who had recently turned to the dark side and became the Sith Lord Darth Vader. Leia is sent to Alderaan with the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO with her adoptive parents, Bail and Breha Organa, so she would not be found by the Empire.
At the age of 18, Leia becomes the youngest member of the Imperial Senate and becomes good friends with Senator Pooja Naberrie of Naboo, her maternal cousin. She also becomes one of the driving forces behind the Rebel Alliance, the New Republic and even later, the Galactic Alliance. She serves the Senate until Emperor Palpatine dissolves it.
In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Darth Vader captures her onboard the ship Tantive IV, where she is acting as a spy for the Rebellion. He accuses her of being a traitor and demands to know the location of the secret technical plans of the Death Star, the Empire's newest and most powerful weapon. Unknown to him, the young senator has hidden the plans inside an Astromech droid, R2-D2, and has sent it to find Obi-Wan Kenobi on the nearby planet of Tatooine. Later, Vader has her tortured, but she resists telling him anything. Still believing she could be useful, the Death Star's commander, Grand Moff Tarkin, threatens to destroy Alderaan with the superweapon unless she reveals the location of the hidden Rebel base. She still does not give in and lies to them, as Tarkin orders Alderaan to be destroyed anyway. She is finally rescued by unlikely heroes: Luke Skywalker, an elderly Obi-Wan Kenobi, the cocky smuggler Han Solo, the Wookiee Chewbacca, and the two droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO. When they finally escape, at the expense of Obi-Wan's life (sacrificed in a duel with Vader), they take part in the Battle of Yavin. Luke, in his one-man X-wing fighter, destroys the Death Star. In the Massassi Temple at the hidden Rebel base on Yavin 4, the radiant Princess Leia Organa presents the Alderaanian Medal of Freedom to her rescuers and the heroes of the battle.
In Return of the Jedi, Leia, Chewbacca, Lando, Luke (now nearly a Jedi Knight), and the droids go to Tatooine to try to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt. Leia's part of the plan consists of posing as the Ubese bounty hunter Boushh, who will turn Chewbacca over to Jabba. Her ruthless bargaining as Boushh, negotiating the price for Chewbacca at the end of a thermal detonator, impresses Jabba and Boba Fett enough to allow her quarters in the palace for the night. The Huttese gangster eventually discovers her real identity, captures her, makes her his new slave girl, and forces her to wear her now iconic metal bikini after she frees Han from the carbonite. After Luke kills the Rancor, Jabba sentences Luke and Han to be fed to the Sarlacc. Just as all seems lost, Lando, disguised as a guard, helps Luke and Han overpower their captors. Leia seizes the moment to kill Jabba by strangling him with the very chain that bound her. R2-D2 cuts her loose, and after Luke boards the sailbarge, he rescues Leia. With Leia's help, Luke uses a deck cannon to blow up his barge as they swing to safety.
While preparing for a last battle with the Empire on Endor, Luke reveals to a stunned Leia that she is, in fact, his twin sister, and that Vader is their father. Initially reluctant to believe him, Leia realizes that Luke speaks the truth and joins Han Solo in leading the Rebels in battle on Endor as the Rebel Fleet battle the second Death Star. Leia is injured in the battle, but the Rebels, allied with the Ewoks, are victorious over the Empire.
Leia briefly appears in the 1978 TV movie The Star Wars Holiday Special, where she is once again portrayed by Fisher. In the show, Leia is a leader and administrator of the new Rebel Alliance base. She is accompanied by C-3PO when contacting Chewbacca's wife, Mallatobuck, for assistance in finding Chewbacca and Han. She also appears in the cartoon segment at a different Rebel Base, located in an asteroid field, and at the Life Day ceremony at the end of the film.
Leia also appeared in and hosted the November 18, 1978 episode of Saturday Night Live that aired one day after the holiday special. The Summer 1983 issue of Rolling Stone magazine poked fun at this appearance.
After a near-disastrous courtship in which Prince Isolder vies for Leia's affections, she marries Han. As described in The Courtship of Princess Leia, Han kidnaps Leia and takes her to a planet he had won in a game of sabacc named Dathomir. There they encounter the Nightsisters, whose attempt to escape eventually leads to the demise of the Warlord Zsinj and his empire, equal rival at this time to both the Imperial Remnant and the New Republic.
At first, Leia does not want to have children, fearing they would succumb to the dark side as her father had done. In the novel Tatooine Ghost, however, she begins to understand what happened to her father to bring him to the dark side. When she and Han go on a mission to Tatooine to retrieve the Alderaanian moss-painting Killik Twilight and the Rebel code hidden within it, Leia discovers her grandmother Shmi Skywalker's diary and, with the help of her father's childhood friends Kitster and Wald, discovers her father wasn't the evil man she thought he was. By the end of the book, she learns to forgive him.
In the Thrawn trilogy, Grand Admiral Thrawn, who had formed an alliance with Joruus C'Baoth, orders Noghri commandos to kidnap Leia, who is pregnant. C'Baoth intends to warp Leia and Luke to the dark side, and plans to corrupt also the two unborn twins. To avoid capture, she hides on the planet Kashyyyk, but her would-be kidnappers track her down. She later learns that Vader once landed on the Noghri home-planet Honoghr and tricked the Noghri into serving the Empire by promising to help their planet recover from the ecological disaster that it suffered during the Clone Wars. Because of this, they are fiercely loyal to Vader. Leia is able to leverage her biological relationship to Vader to persuade a Noghri assassin to travel with her to Honoghr and help convince the Noghri of the Empire's deception. Leia shows an assembly of Noghri matriarchs that the droids which the Empire demanded are actively poisoning the land and slowing down the reconstruction. They leave the service of the Empire after one of their assassins (and Thrawn's personal bodyguard), Rukh, kills Thrawn during the Battle of Bilbringi and becomes allies of New Republic. For her efforts, Leia is known as "Lady Vader" among the Noghri, and she and her family become revered figures in their society.
In Empire's End, Leia gives birth to a second son, whom she names Anakin in honor of her father's redemption (See Solo family.) Along with a Jedi named Jen, she defeats Palpatine's second-in-command, a Dark Jedi assassin. Palpatine is soon reborn in his last remaining clone body, which is quickly deteriorating, due to sabotage by Carnor Jax and one of the Emperor's Hands. Leia is forced to flee to Onderon to hide Anakin from Palpatine, who intends to transfer his spirit into the young infant. The Emperor did eventually find her, but Han accidentally shoots him in the back just as he is about to possess the baby. A sacrifice by a dying Jedi named Empatojayos Brand saves them both from Palpatine's wrath, and incapacitates Palpatine's malignant spirit forever.
In Vector Prime, Chewbacca's death sends Han into a deep depression, causing a large rift between him and Leia, culminating in his walking out of the marriage after an argument. They patch things up after Leia is gravely wounded by Tsavong Lah at the Battle of Duro. Their troubles are not yet over, however; When the Vong unleash the deadly voxyn, Leia is targeted by a Voxyn master slayer who had already killed many Jedi. With the help of her Noghri bodyguards, she eliminates the assassin with her lightsaber.
In Star By Star, Leia and Han lose their youngest son, Anakin, during the Myrkr mission and the fall of Coruscant.
After Coruscant's fall, Han and Leia go to Hapes for Anakin's funeral, then on several missions to restore HoloNet communications to the Unknown Regions, including foiling a second attempt of the Ssi-ruuk to invade Bakura in the process. Leia helps the Pwecks to rebel on their masters during her confrontation face to face with the Imperium; her stand allowing several traitors to ambush the Imperium.
Near the end of the Yuuzhan Vong war, she and Han rescue Thorsh, a prisoner from the internment camps of planet Selvaris. Later, they enter with Jedi Master Kyp Durron, a Bothan secret agent named Wraw, and a few more allies on the planet Callulla. They find that Alpha Red is released on this world. During the battle with the Yuuzhan Vong warriors, she destroys a few Slayers and a Commander before being captured. The commando is eventually rescued by Lando Calrissian, Talon Karrde and Tendra, Lando's wife.
When Zonama Sekot makes its existence known near Coruscant in The Final Prophecy, Han and Leia travel there to be reunited with the rest of their family. While there, they meet Harrar, a Yuuzhan Vong priest. Leia, Han, and a few companions work with Harrar and a group of heretics to get inside the Well of the World Brain on Coruscant.
After the destruction of Shimrra and Supreme Overlord Onimi, Nom Anor travels with the Solo family across the labyrinth to espace the mighty war vessel of the Master Shaper. However, the executor turns on them and shoots his venom towards Han, but Jacen catches the poison, saving his father from certain death. Leia engages the Prefect before he can eliminate her husband and her elder son. She proves victorious and cuts off the rogue Nom Anor's arm. The princess and the former smuggler allow the executor to die on the mighty war vessel but do not witness his certain death.
Leia then gives up politics and becomes Han's copilot, a position she holds for the next five years.
In The Unseen Queen, R2-D2 suffers some severe malfunctions and shows Luke a holoclip of his father and a pregnant woman, whom Luke learns is his and Leia's real mother. In the holoclips, Anakin and Padmé are discussing a dream of Anakin's in which Padmé dies in childbirth. Before Luke can get more info out of R2, the droid has a meltdown, claiming he is protecting information. Frustrated, Luke contacts master slicer Ghent, who manages to recover one other holoclip from R2, this time featuring a scene in which Padmé is talking to Obi-Wan Kenobi about Anakin, which is displayed to both Luke and Leia. In The Swarm War, Luke and Leia finally see their mother's death. Also, Sebatyne tells Leia to construct a new lightsaber to show she is a true Jedi Knight.
Later on in the novel, she defeats the evil Joiner Alema Rar, a former Jedi knight. She defeats her and assumes that she is dead, although Alema was in fact still alive, but severely injured.
Leia and Han unknowingly become grandparents to Allana, Jacen's daughter, but they finally find out the truth as of Fury.
Princess Leia Organa is a driven, dedicated individual with a forceful—if not sometimes abrasive—personality. She is professional in all respects, but occasionally relaxes her guard to let her strong compassion and quirky sense of humor show. The "petite, fair-skinned human female" is known perhaps as the most beautiful and remembered woman in the Star Wars universe. Leia was a wanted woman for love. She was loved by Luke Skywalker (before their sibling relationship was discovered), Han Solo, Prince Xizor, Prince Isolder (before he met Tenejiel Djo) and other men who fell in love with the beautiful woman. In the Shadows of the Empire novels, Leia was seduced by the Crime Lord Xizor. He had the chance to even steal some kisses from the young princess: Having possessed her with pheromones, Xizor kissed her with passion—but Chewbacca managed to break the seduction, allowing Leia to defeat the Crime Lord.
Although she is depicted in the original Star Wars trilogy as having very little experience in the ways of the Force, Leia was actually very capable, both physically and spiritually, in her own right: Leia was an excellent marksman, missing rarely, if ever, with a blaster. She killed, among other villainous characters, the infamous Jabba the Hutt, choking him with the very chain that bound her to him; Leia is also responsible for Grand Admiral Thrawn's death, since she turned the Noghri against him. By redeeming her brother and disrupting the Dark Side of Palpatine, she also helped bring about the destruction of the Clone Emperor. She even killed a Dark Jedi named Kueller with a blaster rifle, right before he was about to deal a fatal blow to Luke.
Though initially hesitant about her Jedi training, Leia was later taught various Force techniques, and would become a very proficient Jedi Knight after finishing her training under Luke's guidance in 36 ABY. She eventually became a full-fledged member of the New Jedi Order, developing her lightsaber skills to the point where she could deflect blaster bolts back at attackers. Being the daughter of Anakin Skywalker, Leia's full Force potential could easily be the same as her brother Luke's.
Leia's well-known hairdo in A New Hope has been affectionately dubbed the "doughnut hairstyle", or "cinnamon buns", by many science fiction fans. Fisher herself has never commented directly on her character's hairstyle. Miss Piggy of Jim Henson's Muppet Babies copied the hairdo using doughnuts in a Star Wars-centric episode of the series. Also, in one scene from Mel Brooks' Spaceballs, Princess Vespa also appears to have the hairstyle, but reveals that she is actually merely wearing a large pair of headphones. In addition, in the parody film Thumb Wars, the role of Leia was filled by a character named Princess Bunhead, who, as the name implies, had two cinnamon rolls for hair. Finally, preceding all the other parodies, the short film Hardware Wars shows Chewchilla, the Wookiee Monster actually eating one of Princess Ann-Droid's cinnamon buns.
In reality, however, Leia's hairdo may not be as unique as it first appears. Young marriageable Hopi Indian women wear a very elaborate "Squash Blossom" hairdo that superficially resembles Princess Leia's. It takes a hairdresser nearly one hour to create. George Lucas has even admitted as such, saying: "In the 1977 film, I was working very hard to create something different that wasn't fashion, so I went with a kind of Southwestern Pancho Villa woman revolutionary look, which is what that is. The buns are basically from turn-of-the-century Mexico.".
In Europe, a similar hairstyle still persists in the Spanish region of Valencia, and can be seen during the Falles festival.
Leia's signature hairdo also inspired a recurring freshman gag at the U.S. Naval Academy. Along with "wildmans" and "assassinations," the "Princess Leia" is another popular method for freshmen (Plebes) to taunt their superiors. The freshman smears peanut butter on a pair of hamburger bun halves or English muffin halves, sneaks up behind an upperclassman in the dining hall, and sticks them on the upperclassman's ears. These dining hall pranks, however, have been discouraged in recent years.
It first appeared in A New Hope, heard when Princess Leia is captured by Darth Vader. Later, it plays as R2-D2 plays her holographic message to Obi-Wan Kenobi. The theme plays when Obi-Wan Kenobi is killed by Vader, even though Leia is not directly involved in this event. Finally, it plays in the end credits.
In The Empire Strikes Back, the theme is developed into "Han Solo and the Princess". "Princess Leia's Theme" plays as Han Solo tells Leia that he must leave to settle his debt with Jabba the Hutt. The only other time it plays is at the end of the movie, when Leia and Lando Calrissian rescue Luke Skywalker from Cloud City and Leia and Luke are reunited.
The theme was revived for the prequel trilogy. It appears in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, when Bail Organa has a conversation with Obi-Wan Kenobi about adopting her. It is then heard during the final montage of shots at the end of the film as her adoptive parents hold the newborn Leia. It reappears during the end credits.