Who was Leia remembering during Return of the Jedi?


The Skywalker name was renowned throughout the galaxy. Leia was born a Skywalker, but how is it possible she remembered her birth mother, Padmé Amidala and Luke didn’t in Star Wars?

Leia Organa was born the daughter of Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala. She was also the twin sister of Luke Skywalker. Because of her family’s Force ties, Leia possessed the Force. Star Wars fans have wondered for years about who Leia was telling Luke about on Endor during Return of the Jedi.

However, Return of the Jedi opened new questions. Who was Luke and Leia’s mother and how did Leia remember her but Luke did not? Let’s look at Leia’s Force abilities first.

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Leia’s Force Abilities

In Canon, Leia doesn’t become a Jedi, though she can still use the Force. This first occurred during The Empire Strikes Back when Luke sub-consciously reaches out to her through the Force after his duel with Vader. Without realizing what she was experiencing, she told Lando were to go so they could retrieve Luke.

Now, what were Leia’s Force abilities? While we don’t see her using the Force to attack anybody, the way more prominent Force user would. Her abilities are empathetic and passive. She can sense people’s emotions and form images in her mind. This comes into play for our question. Was the princess remembering her birth mother or her adoptive mother?

From The Moment She Was Born

Revenge of the Sith revealed in which order Luke and Leia were born in. Luke was the eldest, followed by Leia. What makes the subject of this article into play is Padmé never interacted with Leia when she was born though she interacted with Luke. However, the senator’s eldest child has no memory of her.

Leia was facing away from Padmé when she was born as she was being held by a midwife droid. Meanwhile, Luke was in a similar position as he was being held by Obi-Wan. The reason Leia likely remembers Padmé is that she could sense her mother’s emotions at the time of the senator’s passing.

Luke didn’t possess the same ability as his sister and inherited their father’s Force potential. This links with Luke’s desire to follow Anakin’s Jedi path.

Remembering Padmé

Photo courtesy: Penguin Random House

Fans became confused when they saw Padmé interacting with Luke instead of Leia during Revenge of the Sith. While it comes down to George Lucas’s storytelling, he didn’t have it planned that it would be Leia who remembered Padmé and not Luke.

Though, why would Lucas have Padmé interact with Luke when he [Luke] wouldn’t remember her? Let’s examine it from an in-universe perspective. Luke’s Force abilities were strong while Leia’s abilities were used for passive purposes. Leia wouldn’t become a Jedi in Canon like she was in Legends.

Now to the out-of-universe explanation. Lucas didn’t have the whole mapped out beforehand he wrote each movie outline when the opportunity arose. He didn’t think he would return to the Star Wars universe after Return of the Jedi. However, it’s obvious he always thought Leia should be the one to remember Padmé and not Luke.

Honoring Breha

LAS VEGAS – MAY 29: Actress Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia Organa character from “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” is shown on screen while musicians perform during “Star Wars: In Concert” at the Orleans Arena May 29, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The traveling production features a full symphony orchestra and choir playing music from all six of John Williams’ Star Wars scores synchronized with footage from the films displayed on a three-story-tall, HD LED screen. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Some fans believed Leia was remembering her adoptive mother, Breha. Some sources before the Disney buyout of Lucasfilm, Bail Organa was believed to be a bachelor who had no interest in taking a wife. However, it was confirmed in Revenge of the Sith that Bail had a wife with whom wanted to adopt a child.

Some people believed it was Breha who Leia was remembering on Endor, thinking she was her biological mother. However, this didn’t end up being true as the prequels established Padmé as her (and Luke’s) mother. Sources also varied in whether Breha was alive or dead before the destruction of Alderaan. Some say she was alive before the Death Star blew up her home planet while others said she died when Leia was a little girl.

Recent comic books issues have revealed Breha survived to Leia’s adult years until Alderaan’s destruction. Breha and Bail were honored when Leia unveiled statues on the Yavin 4 Rebel base. There’s also a story about them in From a Certain Point of View.

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Conclusion – Remembering Who?

So, what’s the conclusion? Who was Leia remembering on Endor? The verdict leans towards Padmé. The evidence becomes overwhelming when Leia’s Force abilities come into play. If you sit back and consider the evidence, it’s clear who Leia was talking about.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this debate! Comment below!