The most delightful surprise thus far about Obi-Wan Kenobi has been as young Princess Leia Organa. Despite the trailers all making us think the show would focus more on young Luke, so far it’s been all about the little rebellious royal of Alderaan. But although actress Vivien Lyra Blair has stolen our hearts, it’s not all cuteness and sass with her. We believe there are at least two instances of her showing nascent Force abilities. And they totally line up with what we saw of Leia’s Force powers in the original trilogy.
In Episode I of Obi-Wan Kenobi, we saw young Leia have a tense interaction with her older cousin. Her snobby relation mocked her for being polite to droids, and even teased her for not “being a real Organa.” At least, he says, according to his father. After sizing him up for a moment, she unleashed an epic read on him, telling him the following:
“You’re scared of him. You want him to like you so you repeat what he says. Even though you don’t really know what it means. You think being like him will make people frightened of you, but really, you’re the one who’s scared. You’ve never made one decision for yourself in your life, and you never will. I may not have seen much, cousin, but I can see that.”
Later, in Episode II, Leia quickly guessed that Obi-Wan is really the one being targeted, not her. Again, a very astute observation from a kid. Our guess is that she read the truth from him. Or at least a partial truth. Her skills are just pure instinct at this point, and nothing honed or refined. Otherwise, she would have been able to tell he was one of the good guys.
We might chalk up Leia’s incredible insightfulness (especially for a ten-year-old) to just being that perceptive. Remember, children in the Star Wars galaxy are pretty advanced in their learning skills. Leia’s biological father Anakin Skywalker was building protocol droids at her age. And her mother Padme Amidala was an elected official on Naboo by age 14. Leia’s father Bail Organa states that he already has her on the fast track to university and junior senate. This means by age ten, Leia has completed what amounts to a high school education in the real world. That’s life growing up in the galaxy far, far away.
But given how much she knew just from a good look at someone, we believe Leia was using the Force without her knowledge. And it perfectly lined up with how her Jedi abilities manifested in the original trilogy. Yes, it’s likely George Lucas didn’t have Leia in mind as Luke’s twin sister when they were filming Star Wars in 1976. But in the third draft of the original script, he described Leia as having “the mind control powers of a witch.” Meaning, he meant Leia to exhibit some kind of Force-related power, Luke’s sibling or not. And we see it when Vader used interrogation droids on her to discover the location of the Rebel base.
Vader later tells Tarkin in A New Hope “her resistance to the mind probe is considerable.” How could Leia resist both Vader’s Force abilities and an interrogation droid? Her mental fortitude seemed like more than just a strong will. It felt like the first indication that she has incredible mental disciplines due to her natural ability with the Force, inherited from her father. Then there is her being able to mentally link up with Luke on Cloud City in Empire. Even her ability to recall images and feelings of her birth mother seemed Force-linked. There’s really no other explanation for it, given that Padme died moments after she was born.
As we’ve learned throughout the Saga, Force abilities come in two forms. There’s incredible fighting proficiency and outwardly physical skills. Luke displays this early on. Even before he meets Ob-Wan, he’s a great pilot (like his father). Without almost no training, he can best a training remote with a lightsaber. And he used the Force to retrieve his lightsaber, again, with no training. Luke was just adept at that kind of power.
Leia though, could do things he could not. We doubt Luke would have survived Vader’s torture droids and mind invasions. And as Luke told Leia in Return of the Jedi, he “has no memory of his mother.” While Leia seemingly can remember her. We think this is her abilities at play. After all, Yoda says “through the Force, other places you will see. The future. The past. Old friends, long gone.” Luke might be able to fight off hordes with a saber, but Leia used the Force in a way he struggled with. It’s only as adults, as we saw in The Rise of Skywalker flashback, that they are true equals in both Jedi disciplines.
So far, all of Leia’s perceived Force abilities are unconscious. Again, this is similar to how her father could just know things before they happened, making him an exceptional podracer. We wouldn’t be surprised if before Obi-Wan Kenobi ends, Leia does something with the Force that even shocks him. She might not even know she’s doing it, but Obi-Wan would recognize Anakin’s power in her. After all, as Luke said to Leia in Return of the Jedi, “the Force runs strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. And…my sister has it.”