Star Wars : Leïa is not Luke's sister (2200 words)
EDIT : I wrote and published this article without knowing anything about Carrie Fisher's heart attack or death. Rest in Peace Carrie Fisher.
(Short version of this article)
(If you want to skip the introduction go straight to "let's start")
I saw Rogue One a few days ago and the film surprised me quite a lot, not exactly with its quality, I trusted Gareth Edwards to at least make a pleasant film, but with its depth. I’ve never been a great admirer of the Star Wars franchise but I might just have become one.
Star Wars could be called Sex Wars really. And is it that surprising, when you think of it, that one of the most famous and popular cinematic franchise of our times should more or less secretly be about gender roles and sexuality ?
At uni, I used to feel a bit hostile to teachers who would, a bit pedantly, state that everything in life is always about sex. I was scared by the idea. I was more of a Luke than a Han and I was growing tired of witnessing most girls I liked transform into my sister instead of my lover.
Since then, I’ve realised that these teachers weren’t exactly right and that they mainly wanted to look mature -sexually mature- when making these statements but that they weren’t truly wrong either. It’s just that such statements actually need to be explained and developed because they can mean a lot of different things.
My point is that I now can see that these films about monsters, tentacles, worms, toothy holes, robots, heros, spiritual forces, fascism, freedom, slavery and blood ties can easily predominantly revolve around sex and gender.
What impressed me so much in Rogue One that I rewatched the whole trilogy is that everything in this story is a masquerade set by the empire in order to bring the rebels to attack the Death Star and die thinking they can destroy it. It’s my next article in English I promise (Edit: well, I lied).
"I'm a good guy because I'm a robot who acts like a dick and although I used to work for the empire, I was reprogrammed... I promise."
Realizing that a Star Wars film could hide the truth so deep under the surface made me think that it could already have been the case in other movies of the franchise… and witnessing the alliance lie too made me think that the usually accepted version of the story could be seriously wrong.
I wondered if Darth Vador was truly Luke’s father… and yeah, I didn’t spot any reason why he shouldn’t be. But Leïa… suddenly I recalled the huge mistake in continuity there was between episode 3 and 6 when Leïa talks about her real mother who was beautiful, kind and sad and whom she actually cannot have known according to episode 3.
Anyway, let’s start.
I still have to rewatch the prequel trilogy but I have a strong hunch that Leïa is not Luke’s sister.
First, two things that I cannot explain if Leïa isn't Luke's sister: how can she feel that he needs her to go and fetch him at the end of Empire Strikes Back ? I don’t know. And how can she feel that he survived when the Death Star explodes in Return too ? I don’t know either, although I have an idea. Of course, what we think is that she is his twin sister, that the force runs in the family and that they thus all have some sort of mind geolocalisation. The thing is, this is contradicted by other elements.
When Luke tells Leïa that she is his sister, she answers something like “Somehow, I always knew.” I’m starting with this because it shows how questionable the characters’ declarations can be. Of course she never had an effin’ clue, she’s been flirting with him since episode 4. She kisses him something like five times, and the plot around Luke and Han’s rivalry is quite thick. Her first line to Luke is a sexual innuendo ("You sure are short for a stormtrooper"). Before Luke tells Leïa that she is his sister there is no indicator that she loves Han more. She loves Han, sure, but she loves Luke too. And she is stuck between the two of them.
She can feel that he is around at the end of Empire and she guesses that he’s not on the Death star when it explodes in Return, but nothing happens when she kisses him on the mouth ? Can’t they feel that there is something weird ? I’m not saying we should feel anything weird in real life when kissing a sibling, but it’s Star Wars, they guess a lot of other things thanks to the force, but not this ? And don’t tell me they mistake their spiritual-twin-bond with attraction. There’s clearly nothing ambiguous in how they feel.
Also, Luke brings the piece of news to her in a weird way:
Leïa: You have a power I don’t understand and could never have.
Luke: You’re wrong Leïa. You have that power too, you’ll learn to use it as I have. The force is strong in my family. My father has it, I have it and… my sister has it… yes… it’s you Leïa.
Leïa: I know, somehow, I’ve always known.
And then, they part like two lovers who will never see each other again would: Luke kisses Leïa on the mouth, she holds his hand as long as possible. Han witnesses the scene and what does he very logically think ? That they’re together.
"ah ah ah, of course I love him, he's my brother you idiot ! Ah ah ah, how could you not see the obvious !?!" "Uh. You're being a stupid bitch Leïa. I've never met a girl who would kiss her own brother on the mouth extremely sensually just in order to make me jealous !" "Ah come on... never !?!" "No, never."
Still about the way Luke brings things to her => He doesn’t say “You’re my sister !” He says “I’m Darth Vador’s son and guess who you are ?”
If Leïa had begged the question he wouldn’t have told her anything :
Luke: I have it… and my sister has it…
Leïa: Oh great, we need to find her. Where is she ?
Luke: I don’t know.
Do you see what I mean ? Luke is not telling Leïa that she is his sister, he is unconsciously/indirectly asking her to pretend she is; because it is going to be a very important asset during his fight against Darth Vador and the emperor.
So, coming back to how Leïa always guess if Luke is alive or in danger. How come Darth Vador always spot Luke and not Leïa ? When they all fly to Endor, Darth feels Luke’s presence on the undercover ship of the rebels and later tells the emperor about it. Nothing is said about Leïa. And sure, she might not be as marked by the force as Luke is but if she was Anakin’s daughter there would necessarily be some signifiers of it at some point. A New Hope starts with Darth Vador chasing her in a rather small spaceship and there isn’t the smallest hint at their blood relation. If she were his daughter, Darth Vador would feel something. One of the movies would feature an element put there in order to incarnate the idea that Vador is Leïa’s father and to be recognised as such after you’ve learnt about the fact. But, as far as I’m aware of, there’s no such “in retrospect” element. In episode 1, Qui Gon Jin smells eight years old Anakin several kilometers away. The boy has no Jedi training and Qui Gon hasn't even met him once in his life.
Also, Leïa doesn’t seem so moved when she learns about her "father"'s identity. “Ah ok, I’m Darth Vador’s daughter. Well that doesn’t change anything to the matters at hand does it ?” She expresses zero emotion. If she was Darth Vador’s daughter, there would be a scene where she tells Han so that we can see how she feels about it… and also because it would be a poignant one. The emotional impact on her is never developed… or the emotional impact of Anakin’s death. And also… can she see the Jedis when Luke is looking at them at the end of Return ? No.
What happened of “You have that power too, you’ll learn to use it as I have” in The Force Awakens ? I know, it’s not an episode that people take too seriously but I believe that with franchises like Star Wars if there’s a secret like “Leïa isn’t Luke’s sister” or “The T-Rex has a perfectly normal vision,” screenwriters pass it on to each other. So, how come Leïa isn’t a Jedi in episode 7 ? It’s even more surprising as Luke has tried to train more of them like Yoda had told him “the force runs strong in your family, pass on what you have learned. There is another Skywalker.”
But if Leïa isn’t Luke’s sister, why was the whole thing made up ?
Well, as I suggested earlier, on a metaphorical level, Luke is the kind of guy who is going to get friendzoned or brotherzoned in favour of a… well… of a dick.
On a more literal one, it is part of the “you shouldn’t have left Yoda and abandoned your training” plot. I’m sure there is a lot to be unveiled about the whole story by rethinking everything through the “What if Luke had stayed on dagoba” lens.
But he didn’t stay and learnt that Vador was his father and now he knows that he is fucked (“I can’t do it Ben […] I can’t kill my own father.”) Yoda tells him so:
Luke: Is darth vador my father ?
Yoda: Rest I need, yes. Rest.
Luke: Yoda, I must know.
Yoda: Your father he is. Told you did he ?
Yoda: Unexpected this is. And unfortunate.
Luke: Unfortunate that I know the truth ?
Yoda: No. Unfortunate that you rushed to face him, that incomplete was your training, that not ready for the burden were you. Screwed you are, Luke !
When I was a child, I used to feel relieved that although things seemed not to go very well, the good guys won in the end. Now I know that all of this plot cannot have been developed without building up to something more than a bit of tension before the heroes eventually win.
Right now, I’d say that if Luke hadn’t left dagoba at the end of Empire, he’d be the one to end up with Leïa.
And that’s actually in the scene following his last conversation with Yoda that he decides that she is his sister. Both Obiwan and Yoda keep repeating him that he has a sister… and we know these two are cunning => “So, what I told you was true from a certain point of view.” They want him to kill Darth Vador and Luke knows he can’t kill his own father. Ben states that, in this case, the emperor has already won. That’s when Luke asks about the other hope Yoda talked about and Ben explains that it’s his twin sister. Notice that if Yoda hadn’t told Luke about his sister, Obiwan wouldn’t have said anything. Just before they chat about the twin sister, he firmly states “You were our only hope.”
Anyway, to be able to face his father and not give in to the dark side, Luke needs something, or someone, to keep him on the “good” side, a strong blood bound, and thus =>
Luke: Leïa, Leïa’s my sister.
Obiwan: Your insight serves you well.
Ben answering : “Your insights serves you well” instead of “Yes” is enough to say that Leïa isn’t Luke’s sister. Obiwan Kenobi, the guy whose death itself is a manipulation => he wants Luke to witness Darth Vador killing him so that Luke already hates his father when he learns the truth about him.
“Your insight serves you well” is just like saying “Ok Luke, you’re completely mistaken but I get why you would need to think right now that you are blood related to Leïa.”
At the end of episode 3, we can see Leïa being given to Bail Organa to be raised. In Rogue One, the same Bail is asked to send someone to his jedi friend (Obiwan), someone “he can trust.” Bail answers “I would trust her with my life.” He doesn’t say, “I’ll send Leïa.” If I understand well, he raised her didn’t he ? She’s called Leïa Organa isn’t she ? The way he puts it, his trust relies on her skills more than on their closeness. He is not saying "she won't betray us" but "she won't fail," we are introduced to a soldier not the daughter he's raised. Also, why choosing Leïa to trust her with the plan of the death star, if she is the f****g daughter of the maniac who is bound to chase her ?
If he was talking about the girl he raised, he wouldn’t be so vague, he wouldn’t say “I’ll trust her with my life” but “She’s my daughter.” Also, if Leïa isn’t his daughter… OH Damn ! That’s it ! I get it !
I had a problem with one thing, if Leïa wasn’t Luke’s sister then another female character needed to be developed to incarnate the true unknown Princess Leïa.
Right now I was about to talk about the fact that we never see Bail Organa again, he never acknowledges Leïa as his adopted child… but it’s because he dies when Alderaan is destroyed. And I realise that Leïa never cries any of her family members who are supposed to have died during the destruction of her birth planet, but more, I realise that if Luke had a sister, she was there. The true Princess Leïa is dead and her double is safe. (Remember how Padmé has a double in the Phantom Menace, how strange that Lucas felt the need to develop that kind of element in his prequel: a princess with a double to take risks instead of her).
Also, if Luke's sister was on Alderaan, Obiwan feels her death, which would make his "you were our last hope" to Luke an honest remark. Yoda would tell Luke about another Skywalker only because he doesn't know about her death.
And now that I think, ah ah, does "our Leïa" behave like an effin’ princess ? Isn’t it the whole cool thing about Leïa that she isn’t a princess ? She shoots, she kills, she kisses one guy, she kisses another guy, she can take torture, she takes decisions, she takes initiatives, she sacrifices herself => when the stormtroopers miraculously set their weapons to "stun" in IV, she was actually committing suicide/seriously risking her life in order to protect the plans etc… she is everything but what you’d expect from a princess, because she never was one in the first place.
If Leila never behaves as stupidly in the whole trilogy as here, it is because she does it on purpose. She wants to be captured or killed in order to protect R2-D2's escape. More, it makes her look more like a princess to get caught idiotically.
Fiou. Now George Lucas you can send me a big check for not taking you for an idiot. (because of the continuity problem between 3 and 6)
Edit: and now that I think, as Leïa isn't Luke's sister, Kylo Ren, her son, isn't a Skywalker. He has no blood tie with Anakin or Luke and it is therefore understandable that he is shit when it comes to the force.
And Rey could be a hidden daughter of Luke's true sister (who in this case wasn't on Alderaan when it blew up), grand-daughter of Darth Vador. Which would explain how strong the force is with her. Or, what an idiot I am, I've just written a whole article saying Leïa and Luke are not brother and sister. Rey is their daughter ! (Ah but no ! JJ Abrahams said Rey's parents weren't in episode 7)
Edit edit : I've just rewatched Episode 7 and it is stated in the introduction that Luke is Leïa's brother. Han says, talking about Kylo Ren "There's too much Vador in him" and what else, I can't remember... anyway, it is the only episode that actually seems to take it for granted that Luke is Leïa's brother. The thing is, Luke is also a legend, and Han too and the Jedis etc... there is some sort of reconstruction of the saga as a myth and Leïa being Luke's sister is part of that... but she still isn't a Jedi. So I believe that it could actually be a very interesting move from the screenwriters, going from something very naïve and childish to "take reality in your face !" Just like we are told that Luke's father is dead in episode 4.