Warning: spoilers follow for Leia: Princess of Alderaan. Proceed at your own risk.
I will never say no to an opportunity to learn more about Leia Organa, princess, senator, general. She's a Star Wars character with a rich history. If a story about her also happens to include more of Alderaan and Breha (Queen!) and Bail Organa, it's icing on the jogan fruit cake. Claudia Gray's Leia: Princess of Alderaan is set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Leia is 16 years old and learning about the existence of the rebellion and the roles her parents play in it.
As if the exploration of Leia at that time period isn't enough, the novel is part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi publishing program. Titles in this series have connections to Episode III in ways big and small. Leia: Princess of Alderaan has two elements that could add more depth to The Last Jedi.
The mineral world of Crait is a safe haven for the Resistance in The Last Jedi. The salt-covered planet with bright red soil is important to Leia's past. In the novel, she started to become curious about her parents' odd behavior. She traced shipments to Crait and took it upon herself to travel to the planet in secret. But she got busted and captured. When she demanded the mysterious individuals take her to their leader, she was shocked to learn their leader was her father.
Crait is more than a former outpost for the Rebel Alliance. It was where Leia first learned of Bail's involvement with rebel activities. This excursion was a pivotal point for Leia's development.
Amilyn Holdo, played by Laura Dern in The Last Jedi, was a pal of Leia's way back when. They were part of the Apprentice Legislature at the same time. Amilyn is from the planet Gatalenta, and she is the Luna Lovegood of the Star Wars universe. Her hair changed colors throughout the book, she put glitter on things, and she was kind of spacey. She talked so abstractly that Leia called it Holdo-speak. On her homeworld, Amilyn stood out as different.
But like Luna, Amilyn was there when things got serious. She was fascinated by dangerous situations and never hesitated to put herself by Leia's side, regardless of the risk. Amilyn learned valuable secrets about the rebellion against the Empire alongside Leia. Their friendship was forged in the most risky circumstances possible.
When we get to The Last Jedi, Leia is a general and Amilyn is a vice admiral. They're both working with the Resistance, but their relationship could be strained. Episode VIII director and writer Rian Johnson told Entertainment Weekly, "Everybody is put in a pressure cooker right away, and relationships crack and strain under that pressure. That was really interesting to me, the notion of putting this small army under a lot of external pressure and showing some of the results within the Resistance itself."
One more minor thing. Leia mentions citizens of Gatalenta often dress plainly “except for those scarlet cloaks.” Lucasfilm and Disney released a series of posters that featured The Last Jedi characters with scarlet overlays on their outfits. It was visually striking and different, sure, but maybe (emphasis on maybe) it could be a hint about Gatalenta. Or they all roll around in Crait's dirt.
Have you read Leia: Princess of Alderaan? Head to the comments and let me know your thoughts about the book.
Images: Disney Lucasfilm Press, Lucasfilm, Disney
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