The Last Jedi hit theaters in December, and since then the internet has been abuzz with conflicting opinions about the film. Some loved it, others hated it, but there was one scene in particular that had some scratching their heads. After being blown into space thanks to an attack from the First Order during Last Jedi, Leia uses the Force to pull herself back onto her ship. It’s a huge feat, and apart from her telepathic communications with Luke, this was the first time we’ve seen her use the Force. It was a bit confusing for some — even the cast of Star Wars themselves.
During a recent BAFTA Q&A session, Daisy Ridley was asked about Leia’s Force sensitivity and whether or not Leia is a Jedi. Ridley wasn’t too sure of the General’s Jedi status:
There has been a lot of time between Return of the Jedi and The Last Jedi, so Leia could have done a lot of Jedi extra-curricular activities if she wanted to. It has even been reported that George Lucas’ original idea for Episode VII through IX had Leia exploring her connection to the Force. But does that make her a Jedi? Short answer, no. (The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson said so himself during the panel.)
Leia is Force sensitive, but she’s not a Jedi. Think of her connection to the Force as a latent ability that can come out when challenged — like being hurled out into empty space because your murderous, petulant son and his fleet of evildoers try to blow you out of the sky, for instance.
Being a Jedi, however, isn’t just having a connection the Force. Heck, even that kid from Canto Bight that we see sweeping at the very end of The Last Jedi seems to have some connection to the Force (he DEFINITELY used the Force to bring that broom into his hands, right?), and he’s not a Jedi. Being a Jedi was a way of life and a practice, something that came from extensive training (and if you follow the Skywalker Jedi Method, it also means losing a hand — I’m pretty sure that’s not a requirement though).
So in theory, Leia’s Force-fueled space flight isn’t totally out of left field. If anything, it reminds the audience of her connection to the Force (which likely has grown since Return of the Jedi), and shows us that in addition to being a badass princess and General, she’d probably have made a killer Jedi had she chosen that life.