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Star Wars: Does Leia Ever Forgive Darth Vader? The Answer Is Complicated

The original "Star Wars" trilogy focuses heavily on the relationship between Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) and his son Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and the way in which Luke is able to forgive his father and convert him back to the light side of the Force. But while the trilogy spends plenty of time exploring this tumultuous father-son dynamic, the series doesn't actually give us any resolution to the relationship between Vader and his daughter, Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher).

Although the films never show Leia forgiving or accepting her father, the canon novel "Bloodline" by Claudia Grey deals extensively with Leia's conflicted feelings about Darth Vader and all of the pain and suffering he caused. Near the end of the novel, Leia's friend and fellow senator Ransolm Casterfo is framed for a bombing and sentenced to execution. As Casterfo heads to prison, Leia starts to understand how Darth Vader first fell to the dark side. 

"Her rage could have driven her to kill others — innocents — just to make sure Ransolm Casterfo didn't have to needlessly die," the novel reads. "She'd always wondered what had led her father to turn to the dark side, to become Darth Vader ... Never had she considered that the turn might begin in a better place, out of the desire to save someone or to avenge a great wrong." Leia finally realizes Anakin Skywalker may have once been a good man who fell to temptation and considers the "goodness that must have survived in him through all the darkness."

Leia fully forgave Darth Vader in a non-canon Legends novel

Leia's revelation near the end of "Bloodline" is less about forgiving her father and more about opening up to the fact that Darth Vader still had some good left inside him before he died. As such, one could argue that Leia might have forgiven him at some point in the future, though she is still horrified by her true parentage throughout "Bloodline" and fights to keep it a secret from the rest of the Galactic Senate.

Although we never see Leia fully reconcile with the fact that Darth Vader is her father, it's worth noting she did actually forgive and accept the former Sith Lord in the non-canon Legends novel "Tatooine Ghost," by Troy Denning. "Tatooine Ghost" also centers around Leia's conflicted feelings toward her father and his evil legacy, and her fears that his evil connection to the dark side would impact her children down the line. In the end, Leia learns the truth about Darth Vader's past as the heroic Anakin Skywalker and finally forgives him for his fall to the dark side.

No longer fearing Vader's evil influence on her children, this non-canon version of Leia even names her third child after him, a future Jedi knight Legends fans know as Anakin Solo. While the canon version of Leia Organa never forgave Vader to the extent of her Legends counterpart, "Bloodline" shows her finally starting to reconcile with Vader's Jedi past — and perhaps we'll see her fully accept him as her father in future stories.