As far as I was aware, although Princess Leia was Force sensitive, she hadn't undergone any training to put these powers to use and/or couldn't use any Force powers.

However, when part of the ship she's on is attacked, she is blown into space. She then uses (I assume) the Force to keep herself alive while in space, and pull herself back to the ship.

If that's right, how did she manage to do all this? Before now, she hasn't done anything but 'feel' the Force and people connected to it.

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    Why is this a spoiler? Is it a big secret that Star Wars takes place in space, or that there are dangerous situations for the main characters? The title is still obnoxiously vague: it doesn't tell a person whether they're interested in clicking to read. It doesn't even succeed at its goal of preventing spoilification, because there's no way a person could know this question is about a situation in the new movie by reading the title.
    – jscs
    Dec 16, 2017 at 1:38
  • The Force is with her and she used it.
    – MmmHmm
    Dec 17, 2017 at 23:05
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    @JoshCaswell It is a spoiler because it tells you something that happens in a film that you may not have seen. I respect the OPs discretion here, especially considering the second sentence. Dec 22, 2017 at 16:20
  • I didn’t make it a spoiler. Someone else edited it and I assumed that was how it was meant to be being new to this site. Sorry if that’s not how it is meant to be.
    – Albzi
    Dec 23, 2017 at 0:43
  • See also scifi.stackexchange.com/q/177409/4918 "How did Princess Leia survive this?" on Sci Fi SE
    – b_jonas
    Dec 27, 2017 at 22:10

4 Answers 4


Leia used the force, brought out by her survival instinct.

Survival in space is something that seems within the grasp of Jedi to do, as is evidenced by Plo Koon in The Clone Wars

I can withstand the pressure for some time

While it's unclear whether or not this is a skill specific to the Jedi, it seems to be with their grasp. Although Leia is not a Jedi, she is evidently force-capable and may have been able to use the force to keep herself alive.

Rian Johnson confirms that this is something to do with the force, related to a survival instinct, like Luke in ESB

I liked the idea that it’s not Luke concentrating, reaching for the lightsaber; it’s an instinctual survival thing, like when you hear stories of a parent whose toddler is caught under a car and they get superhuman strength, or a drowning person clawing their way to the surface. It’s basically just her not being done with the fight yet.

I wanted it to happen [for Carrie] and I knew it was going to be a stretch. It’s a big moment, and I’m sure it will land different ways for different people, but for me it felt like a really emotionally satisfying thing to see.
Inverse - ‘Last Jedi’ Director Explains All the New Force Powers (and the Leia Scene)

This is re-confirmed in an interview with IGN:

“This is a reflex action on her part,” Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson explained. “It’s the equivalent in my head of when you hear about parents, toddlers are caught under cars, and they suddenly get Hulk strength and can lift it up. Or a drowning person climbing their way to the surface." ...

“It’s instinctual, her use of it. It’s the opposite of when Luke Force-pulls the saber in Hoth. It isn’t like, ‘I’m going to try and do this.’ For her it’s just an instinctual thing of, ‘I’m not done yet. I’m not giving up. I’m pulling myself back in.’”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Director explains Leia's relationship to the Force.

Creatures such as the Purrgil were able to survive the vacuum of space even though they weren't Force-Sensitive, how they could isn't clear, but they were also able to jump into hyperspace.


After Carrie Fisher's untimely death, Kathleen Kennedy and Rian Johnson had discussed changing the scene to make it so that Leia died "drowned in moonlight" as she had so famously wished for, however they had decided not to change the scenes and to leave the survival intact.

“We were a little ways into postproduction when she passed away, and so we had it mostly put together,” Johnson said. “We didn’t really end up changing it. And that includes adding lines back in that we had cut out or anything like that.”
Vanity Fair - Star Wars: The Last Jedi—What Happened to Leia?

The decision to not make the death so in-line with Fisher's iconic quote may have changed the beauty of the scene out-of-universe, but Fisher still had a role to play In-Universe. It also makes it clear that as beautiful as the parallel is, it’s not certain that this was the intention of the scene, as it had been filmed before her death.

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    Great Answer! when I heard Master Plo say "I can withstand the pressure for some time", I assumed it was because his race had that ability - it's definitely possible that it's an advanced Jedi skill that Leia figured out on her own. In the face of death, I'm not surprised the daughter of Vader can do some amazing things.
    – LevenTrek
    Dec 17, 2017 at 13:24
  • @LevenTech I'd always thought it was because of his face mask. Dec 17, 2017 at 13:43
  • I thought that too at first - but a face mask wouldn't keep you or me from dying in space. He must be different somehow - either race-wise or force-wise...
    – LevenTrek
    Dec 17, 2017 at 15:04
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    I wish they changed it. They had a great oppurtunity to kill Leia in a graceful and meotional way. Then they destroy that moment by this completely ridiculous scene, which not only makes no sense whatsoever, but is also never mentioned at all throughout the movie.
    – Dulkan
    Dec 21, 2017 at 10:56
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    Always annoys me when people say "Leia had no Force training." Luke could easily have given her a few tips during the intervening 30 years.
    – Tim
    Dec 28, 2017 at 22:40

Short answer: We don't know

Long answer: That scene was more of tribute to Carrie Fisher's joke about her wishful death. From vanityfair:

The image can’t help but recall the late Fisher’s famous wish for her obituary, from her one-woman show Wishful Drinking. Recalling how Star Wars director George Lucas requested she go bra-less in the original trilogy, Fisher once joked:

George comes up to me the first day of filming and he takes one look at the dress and says, “You can't wear a bra under that dress.” So, I say, “Okay, I’ll bite. Why?” And he says, “Because . . . there’s no underwear in space.” What happens is you go to space and you become weightless. So far so good, right? But then your body expands??? But your bra doesn’t—so you get strangled by your own bra. Now I think that this would make for a fantastic obit—so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.

But they later decided to keep her alive. From same source:

But director Rian Johnson and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy eventually decided to leave Fisher’s role in The Last Jedi untouched. “We were a little ways into postproduction when she passed away, and so we had it mostly put together,” Johnson said. “We didn’t really end up changing it. And that includes adding lines back in that we had cut out or anything like that.”

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    I found that article earlier, but couldn't conclude anything from it. Nice work there.
    – A J
    Dec 15, 2017 at 10:37

As far as I was aware, although Princess Leia was Force sensitive, she hadn't undergone any training to put these powers to use and/or couldn't use any Force powers.

There are about thirty years of time which we were not shown, in which her brother created a Jedi academy, she had a child, her child went to the academy, destroyed the academy and Luke went into exile. That's an uncountable amount of moments and interactions between characters that none of us are aware of, detail-wise.

Seeing as how in episode #6 he and she both came to know that they were siblings with a powerful inherited lineage in the force, it seems as likely as not that Luke would have shared at least some of that knowledge with his sister in the decades between their father's death and Luke's voluntary exile. A time when his mission in life was to teach the ways of the Force to others.


So I have an outrageously hidden possibility. What if Ben, as he didn't take the shot at the main bay of the ship, was taken aback that someone else did and used his own force powers to secure Leia and escort her safely back to the ship, untouched? It seems as if ideas of Leia having a last-ditch highly force sensitive move up her sleeve she didn't know about is far-fetched. I would bet money that Leia even knows Ben did that for her, and is further restored that Ben might still come out as an okay guy. Thoughts?

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    She was holding her hand out toward the ship, which is what she would have been doing if she was using the force. If she wasn't doing it herself, I think she might have looked a little more surprised when she started floating towards it. Dec 22, 2017 at 16:38

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