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Leia's First Use Of The Force Was Earlier Than You Thought

The Force is strong with the Skywalker family.

At this point, it should not be a spoiler that Princess/General Leia is the estranged twin sister of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, and that she shares the family affinity for the Force. That tidbit was originally revealed in 1983's Return of the Jedi, and though Leia doesn't demonstrate much Force wrangling in the original trilogy, Disney is making every effort to write her power back into the new canon.

Since the release of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, the major vehicle for these new revelations about Leia's past has been Marvel's flagship Star Wars comic series. In previous issues, we learned that Han Solo was not the only victim of Darth Vader to be frozen in carbonite; Leia also shared her lover's fate, and it was that incident that led to her earliest canonical display of Force sensitivity.

In the fourth issue of the current Star Wars comic story from creators Charles Soule and Jesus Saiz, the carbonite-frozen Leia is being transported to an Imperial base for harsh interrogation (via ScreenRant). In order to facilitate a rescue, she taps into her Force powers to send a remote distress signal to Luke. Luke receives the message and flies to the rescue. The whole sequence is a bit of a head scratcher, since Leia has no reason to believe she has any Force powers, and neither she nor Luke even knows that they're siblings at this point in the series' continuity. It does, however, represent Leia's first clear and intentional use of the Force at any point in the Star Wars timeline.

Disney is invested in Leia's transformation from princess to warrior

We know what you're thinking: Leia displayed mastery of the Force on several occasions in the new Disney trilogy. (We knew that because we are Force-sensitive, as well. You should see our break room at lunchtime.) This is true enough, but the episode recorded in the recent issue of Star Wars happened during the timeline of the original trilogy, set 20 years before Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The current story arc running in Star Wars takes place between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, a time period previously covered by the popular Shadows of the Empire extended universe story.

Shadows of the Empire was written by Steve Perry (no, not that one) and originally published in 1996. That story was itself part of a multimedia effort to fill the time gap between Empire and Jedi, but it has since been relegated to the non-canonical Star Wars Legends bin.

The current story running in Star Wars essentially replaces Shadows of the Empire, since it features several key characters engaged in conflicting events. The new storyline is consistent with Disney's efforts to portray Leia as more of a fighter, and less of a princess (Disney has plenty of those). As for how Soule and Saiz plan to square this incident with the reveals in Return of the Jedi, we'll just have to wait and find out.