Disney’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi is currently out in theaters, enjoying the second highest opening weekend in box office history, only behind 2015’s The Force Awakens. Director Rian Johnson and the cast have all been out doing press to promote the movie and answer the burning questions that Star Wars fans have about the movie. One particular scene that stands out and has become quite controversial for many fans, is why Johnson gave a certain character Force Powers after they had never used them before on the big screen before. Major SPOILERS for The Last Jedi ahead, read on at your own risk.
Okay, it’s been a few days and most of us have seen The Last Jedi at least once and for those of us that have seen it more than once, one scene just sticks out like a sore thumb. The scene is obviously when General Organa uses her Force Powers to fly through space and back into safety like Leia Poppins. It looks bizarre, it feels bizarre, and it’s just flat out weird and unexpected. Now, Rian Johnson has broken his silence on the subject and revealed his reasoning behind the decision.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rian Johnson explained that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy was the inspiration for Leia using her Force Powers. Kennedy’s argument was easy, Leia is a Skywalker like Luke, who uses The Force, let’s see her use her powers as well. And as weird as it looks, Johnson had a completely logical way of explaining how it happened. He had this to say.
“She kept asking, ‘Leia’s a Skywalker, Luke gave her this speech in Jedi and told her basically, ‘You have this potential, too.’ It seemed to me it would be a really emotionally impactful thing to see her use it. I liked the idea it would be an instinctual thing. This would be more like stories you hear about parents of toddlers who get caught under cars and they get Hulk strength and lift the car up. It would be something in these final moments to show that she’s not done with the fight. And like a drowning person pulling herself back, that’s how it manifests itself for the first time in her.”
Regardless of how weird the scene looked, Rian Johnson’s explanation makes perfect sense. However, it could have been pulled off a little bit better to keep certain fans in the audience from laughing during the serious and emotional scene. Carrie Fisher has never portrayed Leia with Force Powers like that before. Up until then, it was talking with Luke telepathically and that was about it. It has been assumed that Leia ignored that part of her to separate herself from Luke and to rise in the ranks to become a general of the Resistance. But this is not the first time that Leia’s Force Powers have been examined in Star Wars canon.
The novels that took place after Return if the Jedi showcased Leia using her Force Powers as a way to feel Ben Solo’s presence while he was in the womb. It makes sense that Leia would tap into her Force Powers unconsciously and as a means for survival. General Organa is a tough character and even getting blown out into outer space was going to stop her like it did Admiral Ackbar. Anyway, if you’d like to read more about what Rian Johnson had to say in regard to Leia and her Force Powers, check out Entertainment Weekly.