general leia

Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) returned in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a general. She was mostly left on the sidelines during J.J. Abrams‘ sequel, but she still played a pivotal role in the film. The former princess was wiser and more confident, filled with grief and regret. Author Claudia Gray plans to explain that evolution in her book, Star Wars: Bloodline.

Read an excerpt from the novel below.

Star Wars: Bloodline is a follow-up to last year’s Star Wars: Aftermath, written by Chuck Wendig. Bloodline takes place years before The Force Awakens. In this story, Organa is a senator and leader in the New Republic, long after Vader and the Emperor’s deaths.

Speaking with USA Today, Gray explains her novel “isn’t fundamentally about Leia as a wife, sister or mom; this is about the role she’s created for herself since the fall of the Empire, and the one she takes up by the time of [The Force Awakens].” USA Today ran an excerpt from Star Wars: Bloodline, in which Leia is in a seemingly mundane meeting that is actually of great importance regarding the galaxy’s future:

An entire generation has prospered during an era of peace. The New Republic, governed by the Galactic Senate on Hosnian Prime, has held power for more than two decades. Yet conflict has begun to take shape within the Senate. As political gridlock threatens to cripple the fledgling democracy, the quarrels of the New Republic will soon radiate throughout the galaxy. . .

The conference building of the New Republic senatorial complex contained multiple rooms appropriate for every kind of auxiliary function imaginable, from memorial concerts to awards ceremonies. Leia Organa and Tai-Lin Garr headed toward one of the smallest banquet rooms. The breakfast meeting had been organized by Varish Vicly, who couldn’t imagine a bad time for a party.

Varish came loping toward them now on all fours. “There you are! I was worried you’d be late.”

“We’re still early,” Leia protested as both she and Tai-Lin were wrapped in quick, long-limbed hugs.

“Yes, but I worry. You know how these guys get.”

“Now come along and be introduced to everyone,” Varish insisted. Soon Leia found herself shaking hands and paws, murmuring greetings; thanks to some review holos Korr Sella had prepared for her, she recognized each senator in attendance and could even ask a few pertinent questions about their families and worlds.

Mark Hamill, from left, as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher
Mark Hamill, from left, as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa, and Harrison Ford as Hans Solo in the original 1977 “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” film. (Photo: 20th Century Fox)

They entered the banquet hall together, the entire group walking two by two. Leia knew the seat at the far end of the table would be hers, guest of honor as counterpart to the host. So she walked the length of the room, attentive to the senator at her side, before glancing down at the arrangements — sumptuous even by Varish’s standards, with a velvet runner stretching along the table and delicate paper streamers lying across the tables, beneath elaborately folded napkins. Leia had to laugh. “Honestly, Varish. For breakfast?” In other words, Leia thought as she listened to someone cheerfully talk about his grandchildren, this is going wonderfully for everyone but me.

This won good-natured chuckles from the room; Varish Vicly’s lavish tastes were well known, a foible she herself joked about. Today, however, she shrugged. “I didn’t request this. Maybe the serving staff heard my name and assumed that meant to go all out.” Varish smiled as she took her seat. “If that’s my reputation . . . you know, I can live with it.”

Leia settled into her chair, picked up her napkin — and stopped.

Something was written on the paper streamer on her plate. Actual writing. Virtually nobody wrote any longer; it had been years since Leia had seen actual words handwritten in ink on anything but historical documents.

But today, someone had left this message on her plate, only one word long:

RUN.

You can find out how the scene ends over at USA Today. If you want to learn more about General Organa’s backstory, you may want to check out Star Wars: Bloodline when it hits shelves May 3.

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