Star Wars truly wouldn't be the franchise that it is without the bravery, wit, and wile of Leia Organa, a princess and a bona fide badass Resistance leader. As you may know, Carrie Fisher tragically passed away in December 2016 at the age of 60. By then, she had wrapped up filming for The Last Jedi, which came out a year later in 2017. Using unreleased footage from the previous two films in the Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker closes the chapter on this beloved character's arc. Ahead, we'll break down just how J.J. Abrams pulled it off. Yes, there are huge spoilers ahead, and we'd also like to warn you that you may need a tissue or two.
In The Last Jedi, General Organa has a brush with death when the First Order attacks a Resistance fleet. Leia is badly hurt and barely survives the movie. Between Han Solo and Luke, death is not absent in this trilogy, let alone this fandom. In the latest installment, Leia sadly perishes as well.
How does it all go down? Leia's death might remind you of Luke's in The Last Jedi. The Rise of Skywalker shows Leia and Rey fortifying a mentor-and-mentee relationship. When Rey (after learning she's a Palpatine) takes on Kylo Ren in a duel on the destroyed second Death Star, Leia reaches out to Kylo, uttering "Ben" and distracting her son long enough so that Rey can attack. Rey stabs Kylo, then immediately heals him and takes his ship. Using the Force to reach out to her son weakens Leia, who dies shortly after. In Ahch-To, Rey finds Luke, now a Force ghost, who gives her his old spacecraft and Leia's lightsaber so she can take on Palpatine.
Ready to cue the loudest mourning Wookiee wail? At the end of the movie, Ben Solo dies sacrificing himself to resurrect Rey after she defeats Palpatine. He and Leia then become one with the Force, their physical bodies vanishing. Leia and Luke later watch as Rey returns to Tatooine. In a winsome moment, the movie ends after Rey tells a local that her name is — wait for it — Rey Skywalker.