In Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker reveals to Leia Organa that they are siblings, and that Darth Vader is their father. This shocking revelation comes on the precipice of the Battle of Endor, and the movie ends with only the briefest of reunions between brother and sister amidst the celebration of victory.
But what happened between Luke and Leia in the moments after that? The upcoming novel The Princess and the Scoundrel, written by Beth Revis, will explore that and more.
The book is about Leia and Han Solo getting married and then going on their honeymoon, where of course they run into more trouble than expected. But the first excerpt from the book focuses more on Luke and Leia, in the immediate aftermath of the Rebellion’s victory at Endor. In the excerpt, Leia struggles to accept the fact that Vader was her father. Luke returns from having burned Vader’s body, and Leia tells him, “The whole galaxy celebrated while you mourned.” Luke wants to know how Leia is doing, and the truth is that she’s trying to grasp both her strength in the Force and her shocking lineage.
Luke begins to tell Leia about how Anakin Skywalker was redeemed and what his last words were (“tell your sister you were right”), but Leia doesn’t want to hear it. Her history with Vader, being personally tortured by him, makes it all the harder for her to hear or accept any of this. Luke asks her what she will do, and she recognizes that he’s waiting to decide his future before she decides hers. But, as the excerpt ends, though the future still hangs in the balance, Leia at least knows what her next step will be: marrying Han.
“Leia had no idea what would happen tomorrow or the next day or the next. But as she left Luke in the shadows and met Han on the bridge, she knew exactly what would happen tonight.”
This is great and is a story that feels like a significant moment in the franchise, with Luke and Leia processing what has happened and what is to come. Of course Leia would have a lot of trouble embracing this reality, far more even than Luke. Of course Luke, having personally seen Anakin redeemed, would want Leia to know it. Of course Leia would be conflicted about her future and whether to pursue the Jedi path. But what she’s not conflicted about is the decision to marry Han, something that happens right there on Endor.
This story, coming on the heels of Shadow of the Sith, is extremely welcome and is another example of a novel focused on the main heroes of the original trilogy in the period following the Battle of Endor. That has, in many ways, been one of the scarcest things to come by in Star Wars storytelling in recent years, primarily because of the desire to keep the options open and intrigue high with the sequel trilogy. That’s understandable, but nonetheless it has felt at times like the biggest thing the current canon was lacking that Legends had in spades were stories about these beloved heroes after Return of the Jedi. Now, with the sequel trilogy having been done for a few years, we’re starting to get some stories that feel important and significant, and I’m really hopeful it’s just the beginning of more to come.