Leia’s arc as the Chosen One in Lucas’ sequel trilogy never made it to the big screen, but Rey was a better choice to bring balance to the Force.
George Lucas’ Star Wars sequel trilogy planned to feature Leia Organa as its protagonist and the trilogy’s Chosen One, but his plans were discarded after Disney purchased the franchise and opted to go in a different direction. While Leia’s scrapped arc may sound enticing to fans disillusioned with Disney’s sequel trilogy, Lucas’ plans for Leia would not have made for better sequels.
According to the book Star Wars Archives: Eps I-III: 1999-2005 by Paul Duncan, Lucas planned for the sequel trilogy to follow Leia in her quest to establish the New Republic, while crime lord Darth Maul would rise to power in the chaos of the post-Empire era and serve as the trilogy’s villain. Lucas also planned for Leia to fulfill the Chosen One prophecy in the sequels, saying: “We would have the renewal of the Republic, with Leia, Senator Organa, becoming the Supreme Chancellor in charge of everything. So she ended up being the chosen one.” In Disney’s sequel trilogy, Leia played an integral role in the Resistance’s battle against the First Order, but took a backseat to the sequel’s protagonists, Rey Skywalker and Kylo Ren.
Disney’s sequel trilogy had its shortcomings in execution, but Rey still makes more sense to bring balance to the Force than Leia. The Chosen One prophecy considers two criteria: the origin and mission of the character. Neither Rey nor Leia meet the criteria for being “born of no father” — Rey was the descendent of Emperor Palpatine, while Leia’s father was Anakin — but Rey’s destruction of the Sith aligns more closely with Anakin’s mission than Leia’s proposed sequel arc. By destroying Palpatine and carrying on Anakin’s mission to destroy the Sith in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Rey does not become the Chosen One but she still brings balance to the Force.
Rey also realizes the essence of the prophecy by forging a new, more balanced way forward for the flawed Jedi Order, implied by her yellow lightsaber at the film’s end. According to Lucas, Leia would have an entirely different objective, asserting the political control of the New Republic over crime lords like Maul rather than preventing the imbalance of the Sith. This arc would bring a new type of story to the big screen, but would not make Leia a better fit as the Chosen One.
Rey’s origins also make her a more compelling choice to bring balance to the Force than Leia, whose character is already established in the original trilogy. Rey’s perspective on her lineage changes in each of the films — from being a Jakku scavenger with unknown origins in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to her reveal as a nobody in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, to being the granddaughter of Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker — but each of those identities conflicts with the idea that she can bring balance to the Force and heightens the tension about whether Rey will succumb to the dark side. The background of Leia, who is already established as a decorated general and war hero in the Rebel Alliance in the original trilogy, would have worked in the exact opposite manner and would have given the sequels a less conflicted and compelling protagonist.
Leia’s arc as the Chosen One in Lucas’ sequel trilogy may sound enticing given how Disney’s trilogy was, but the change would not have led to a better set of Star Wars films. Disney’s sequel trilogy created a more fitting and compelling character to bring balance to the Force, while still giving Leia an impactful role on the Resistance’s victory and a fitting send-off.
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