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Leia's Role in the Rebellion

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Somewhat inspired by another thread...

At the beginning of A New Hope, Leia is some kind of big-shot courier in the Rebellion. She's aboard the Tantive IV with the Death Star plans, evidently both as custodian of those plans and to provide the ship with consular (or higher) immunity. She seems to be the spokesperson for her father, a high muckity-muck in the Rebellion from the beginning; Alderaan probably supplies a lot of the funds and materiel for the Rebellion. She's also an Imperial Senator, giving her a certain amount of access on Coruscant. She's a little bit Benjamin Franklin, a little bit Benedict Arnold, and a little bit Jefferson Davis.

Fast-forward to the time of Empire Strikes Back. Alderaan has been destroyed, and the influence of its people in the Rebellion marginalized. There's an Alderaanian diaspora throughout the galaxy, but Leia isn't organizing that. (Note she retains her HRH style throughout the Trilogy; someone else in the Royal Family outranks her.) The Emperor has probably maneuvered one of his lackeys onto the Alderaanian throne. The Imperial Senate has been dissolved. Leia has been outed as a Rebel. She can no longer act as an open courier, no longer has access to most of Alderaan's power, no longer has access on Coruscant.

So why do they keep her around? She's got a pretty face, but she doesn't put out. She can shoot, but she doesn't go on missions. She confuses and angers the civilian contractors. My guess is, she's still valuable to the Alderaanian cells of the Alliance for propaganda reasons. That's why she's schlepped from Yavin IV to Echo Base. So she can make encouraging videotapes to be played on the Holonet equivalent of YouTube. Look at the warrior-princess soldiering on at the front lines. But she's not important to the Alliance as a whole; that's why she's not enjoying the good life with Mon Mothma on the Calamarian fleet.

Of course, things changed by Return of the Jedi. She was an undercover special forces operator. And Han and Lando were generals, and the Falcon was a starfighter, and so forth and so on. The less said about that, the better.
"It's the stoned movie you don't have to be stoned for." -- Tom Shales on Star Wars
Scruffy's gonna die the way he lived.
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Having no idea what went on between Yavin IV and Hoth (I know nothing about any EU), I can't say that she was of no substantive use to the Rebellion (she proved herself a darn good shot with a blaster on the Death Star). I like that she might (also) have provided some nifty PR benefits via her patented hologram-communication style guaranteed to elicit sympathetic action.


Come to think of it, though, I have no idea whatsoever what could have possibly happened in the ranks of the retarded rebellion to have the likes of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian promoted to generals. Not lieutenants, mind you, not majors. Freaking Generals. What in the universe could have happened between ESB and RoTJ to have Han Solo promoted from captain to general?

So don't get me started on ladder-climbing within the heirarchy of the Rebel forces. It seems to make no sense whatsoever, except to appeal to prepubescent fanboys. For all I know, they kept Leia around for the pretty face alone (though I heard she begged to be taken to the planet full of white powdery stuff, and was pretty pissed off when it turned out to be snow).
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I suppose Leia was kept around because for symbolic and emotional reasons. Having her represent the rebellion is a strong reminder of the destruction the Empire was capable of doing.
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Originally posted by: Obi Jeewhyen
What in the universe could have happened between ESB and RoTJ to have Han Solo promoted from captain to general?

Helping to destroy one of the galaxy's most notorious gangsters.
I am fluent in over six million forms of procrastination.
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Rebellions are not always about combat. For it to be successful, a rebellion needs allies. Some allies are easy to come by, others are not.

She was known as an excellent diplomat. Its hardly canon, but in the game Star Wars: Rebellion she is quite possibly the best diplomat in the game.
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Originally posted by: ADigitalMan
Helping to destroy one of the galaxy's most notorious gangsters.

How does that help the rebellion?

If helping to destroy the Death Star didn't get Solo a single promotion (or rather got him officially ranked as the Captain he already was), how does helping to destroy a non-combatant - no matter how criminal - affect his rebel ranking?

Shenanigans!

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I don't know if the EU agrees or disagrees with me, but my reasoning is the following:
My guess for Solo is that he was given the rank of General for the operation of destroying the shield generator. He was the most qualified for the operation, so he was made general.
As for Leia, her father was one of the founders of the rebellion. She has been involved in it since she was a child, more than likely, and has done many things, not just a courier. So she is a very high ranking offical in the rebellion, and has done many things for them before ANH.
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It was Leia's foresight (force-sight?) that saved the DS plans from falling back into the hands of the Empire and brought Obi-Wan and Luke (who saved the rebellion) into the equation. Plus what Sluggo said.

As far as Lando goes, someone must've told them about his little maneuver at the battle of Tanaab.
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Originally posted by: Number20
He [Solo]was the most qualified for the operation, so he was made general.

Huh? That's exactly it - - generals DO NOT act as operatives on missions. They are not the ones in battle or infiltration situations, even if commanding others. As a matter of fact, Captain is the proper rank for a military officer in such a situation, perhaps a lieutenant. Anything above that would be a person overseeing operations from afar. The General rank for him and Lando and any other freaking person the fans happened to like was just about the gayest thing in a movie full of gay.


You're right about Leia though, and I see no problem with her continued high-ranking participation in the rebellion (though, at the rate they were going, I'm surprised they didn't make her an admiral).

The only problem I had regarding her was her unfathomable bad mood in Empire. I'm glad she cheered up by the time of Jedi. Maybe she was happy to see all her pals get such lavish promotions!



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Originally posted by: Obi Jeewhyen
Originally posted by: ADigitalMan
Helping to destroy one of the galaxy's most notorious gangsters.

How does that help the rebellion?

If helping to destroy the Death Star didn't get Solo a single promotion (or rather got him officially ranked as the Captain he already was), how does helping to destroy a non-combatant - no matter how criminal - affect his rebel ranking?

Shenanigans!


Besides, it was mostly through Luke's actions that Jabba was killed anyway. Solo was being rescued. But you didn't see Luke getting any more promotions, huh?

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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To be fair, Luke was no longer officially affiliated with the Rebellion. But why didn't Leia get a promotion? In fact, why was she not ranked at all? Was it her diplomatic status? Does the EU address the non-military nature of her rebel participation?

She certainly sacrified a lot during the Jabba mission to rescue Solo. There's a pretty big gap between her capture and her stoic, subdued appearance at Jabba's side in the slave gear that we in the audience know nothing about. Something must have happened between the giant slug and Slave Leia offscreen.







(And by "giant slug" I may or may not mean (all of) Jabba the Hut.)



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When did Luke become no longer officially associated with the Rebellion?

There is no lingerie in space...

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don't exist... then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks... and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming... Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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She certainly sacrified a lot during the Jabba mission to rescue Solo. There's a pretty big gap between her capture and her stoic, subdued appearance at Jabba's side in the slave gear that we in the audience know nothing about. Something must have happened between the giant slug and Slave Leia offscreen.


Dude, that's just wrong.
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Originally posted by: Gaffer Tape
When did Luke become no longer officially associated with the Rebellion?


I could be wrong, but I got the distinct impression that, as a full-fledged Jedi, he was more of a free agent. At the service of the Rebels, but not really part of their organization. Sort of how the Jedi of old were at the service of the Republic, but they were not members of the government.

But, it's just an impression I got. Maybe that black outfit was a rebel uniform that I just didn't recognize. Of course, if Luke was still part of the official Rebel personnel roster and he didn't get promoted to at least General - - I call Triple Shenanigans!

Yet, I never heard "General Skywalker" mentioned once in Return of the Jedi. I think Luke was freelancing.



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Some thoughts. Apologies for not attributing quotes, but you know who you are....

Come to think of it, though, I have no idea whatsoever what could have possibly happened in the ranks of the retarded rebellion to have the likes of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian promoted to generals. Not lieutenants, mind you, not majors. Freaking Generals. What in the universe could have happened between ESB and RoTJ to have Han Solo promoted from captain to general?

I've tried to justify that in my head, and it's very difficult. Best I can come up with is Lando bought his commission. He probably still had pull in the tibanna gas trade after losing Cloud City, and the EU says spin-sealed tibanna gas is a vital component of blaster technology. A few million liters of that stuff, and you get nominal command in an attack -- of course, they put you in a broken-down hot-rodded freighter with a copilot who doesn't even speak English

I'm still trying to figure out Han's commission. I think he was addressed as "Captain Solo" in ESB because he was skipper of the Millennium Falcon; he seems to report directly to General Rieekan, which supports the idea that he's a highly-stationed civilian contractor and not a military captain. How'd he become a general? Probably Leia has some sort of commissioning authority from Alderaan, and she made him a general in the Alderaanian Armed Forces to shut him up about what went down in the south passage. The Alliance forces used that as a courtesy title, but continued treating him like the civilian ship-driver he was. (In any case, he and Chewie needed some kind of rank for the Endor mission, or they could've been shot as spies. Instead of Rebels.)

(Solo was commissioned for h)elping to destroy one of the galaxy's most notorious gangsters.

Elliot Ness took down Al Capone, but they didn't pin stars on his shoulders. A single operation, no matter how elegantly planned, doesn't demonstrate one has the managerial and operational skills necessary to be a successful general officer. (And Solo was frozen in carbonite when that operation was planned.)

Military rank isn't handed out as a reward for instances of merit; rank comes with responsibility and authority, and one must demonstrate that they can fulfill their responsibilities before assuming a rank. We never saw anyone do anything that would merit a promotion to general; probably because generalship doesn't make for good action-adventure movies.

Rebellions are not always about combat. For it to be successful, a rebellion needs allies. Some allies are easy to come by, others are not. She was known as an excellent diplomat.

If she was a diplomat, how come she was billeted with the combat forces at Echo Base*? She should've been on the Mon Calamari fleet with Mon Mothma, planning strategic alliances, visiting potential allies, and showing them the strong face of the Rebellion. Lurking in an ice cavern, feeding tauntauns, that doesn't get diplomacy done.

My guess for Solo is that he was given the rank of General for the operation of destroying the shield generator. He was the most qualified for the operation, so he was made general.


Was Solo in command of that operation? I thought he was in command of the shuttle, and General Madine led the actual operators on the ground. I don't know what possessed the shuttle command crew to leave their craft behind and go sneaking through the woods like they did. I can see Luke wanting to go because he's a Jedi with a destiny, and Chewie would want to go to protect Luke and because he likes trees. Of course Han would have to go with Chewie, and Leia would want to go with Han because she loves him. Artoo would follow Luke, and Threepio still belongs to either Luke or Leia, which means ... I guess I answered my own question. In any case, you don't need a general to fly a shuttle, even if it's on an important mission and carrying another general.

As for Leia, her father was one of the founders of the rebellion. She has been involved in it since she was a child, more than likely, and has done many things, not just a courier. So she is a very high ranking offical in the rebellion, and has done many things for them before ANH.


Yes, she has done many important things for the Alliance in the past. Then her homeworld when kablooie, her father became atoms, and she got downsized out of her job on Coruscant. That makes her quite unlikely to do important things for the Alliance in the future. That is unromantic and realpolitik, but, well, the first syllable in realpolitik is real. The scions of monarchs of disestablished realms rarely have much political or social power. Do you see King Constantine of the Hellenes rallying many Greeks to his cause? What about the heirs of the Romanovs? The son of the Shah? As right as these people may be on whatever moral issues they may favor, as much authority as they may have had in the past or today if things had gone differently ... they are quite politically impotent, now. As was Leia was once everything she stood for and the bases of all her power went away.

To be fair, Luke was no longer officially affiliated with the Rebellion. But why didn't Leia get a promotion? In fact, why was she not ranked at all? Was it her diplomatic status? Does the EU address the non-military nature of her rebel participation?


I'm not sure Luke was formally unaffiliated with the Rebellion. He had a lot of time in between ESB and RotJ to clarify his status with his superiors, and it wouldn't surprise me if he stayed on the rolls as a standby reservist or something like that. On the other hand, he might've resigned his commission as some sort of Jedi thing. (The EU says he continued as a starfighter officer, but was given liberal time off to do Jedi things.) But I agree, if Han and Lando are generals, Luke and Wedge at least need to be marshals.

As for Leia ... she probably enjoyed her civilian status. Even the free-wheeling nature of a Rebel fighter may have been too regimented for her. As a civilian, she could've placed herself above the entire military establishment by acting as "civilian oversight," like a civilian in the American military who thinks their GS paygrade is a rank. I don't see a career politician, formerly of high-ranking Imperial status, subordinating herself to the military establishment.

* Who really was stationed at Echo Base? All we really see is some equipment, some speeders, a few officers, and a bunch of animals. Was it a secure communications relay? A resupply waypoint for passing Rebel ships? Were they planning on mining the ice for potable water?
"It's the stoned movie you don't have to be stoned for." -- Tom Shales on Star Wars
Scruffy's gonna die the way he lived.
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I always concluded that Echo was the base of operations of the Rebel Alliance and their only base, at that.

It satisfies me to think that Leia remained Princess Leia Organa and never took a military rank. I do not think that this disqualifies her from being part of the leadership of Echo Base, as she clearly is. Look at the way General Rieekan relates to her.

I think it fits with her character to go and do a job which needs doing. As Scruffy has indicated, she would have been unable to continue the work she had been doing due to the Empire knowing she is part of the Alliance, the destruction of her homeworld and the impossibility of her continuing to use her role as a Senator for whatever purpose.

I don't see her as the sort of person who would boast to the Allaince of being "a career politician" or as someone who would see service of the cause as "subordinating herself to the military establishment". She strikes me as a much more practical and down-to-earth person than that.

I think her rank in the Rebellion, achieved through the years preceding ANH, would not have been lost due to the events in ANH. It would mean that she couldn't continue to do the same things that she had been doing, but it wouldn't mean that the Alliance would throw her aside, unless she was of no use to them. The fact that they didn't and she went on to be part of the leadership of the hidden Rebel base is testiment, I feel, to the fact that she was still of use as a leader in the Rebel Alliance.

I further feel that it is a bit of a guess to say that all the highest ranking people were with the fleet. We don't even know that the fleet had been assembled by the start of ESB. If my conclusion that Echo Base was the one and only base of operations that the Alliance had is correct, I think it follows that the leadership of that base would be key members of the Alliance.

I think that it works if we consider Leia as a member of the leadership of the Rebel Alliance, perhaps taking her father's place after his death.

Oooh... a thought for the 'What did the PT need?' thread...
Don't you call me a mindless philosopher...!
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As for Lando and Han being generals, it would be nice to think that it was the result of a pissing contest between the two of them. Han makes a big deal about Lando being a general and then Madine reveals that Han is a general too! Doesn't Lando give Han a sidelong glance at that point?

Besides, why would a general be in charge of ships? It doesn't make any sense!
Don't you call me a mindless philosopher...!
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I always concluded that Echo was the base of operations of the Rebel Alliance and their only base, at that.

They need at least one shipyard to maintain the fleet, logistical support areas, and even a conventional force fighting with the benefit of overmatch maintains multiple command posts. If I were designing a galactic rebellion, I'd divide it into cells based on political (rather than purely cartographic) boundaries, each with a cell CP and an alternate CP. Those cell CPs would report to a communications facility that would report to roving commands, i.e. top commanders and civilian command authorities on ships. We've seen that finding a ship that doesn't want to be found is nearly impossible, and the best Rebel ships can go toe-to-toe with the common Imperial Star Destroyer. In this scheme, "the Rebel base" -- be it on Dantooine, Yavin IV, or Hoth -- is an intermediary between the line forces and the "national" authorities. Because there's no reason for your authority to be based anywhere.

It satisfies me to think that Leia remained Princess Leia Organa and never took a military rank. I do not think that this disqualifies her from being part of the leadership of Echo Base, as she clearly is. Look at the way General Rieekan relates to her.

They seem cordial, but I don't think I saw anything indicating she was in his chain of command. I need to rewatch those scenes, though.

I further feel that it is a bit of a guess to say that all the highest ranking people were with the fleet. We don't even know that the fleet had been assembled by the start of ESB. If my conclusion that Echo Base was the one and only base of operations that the Alliance had is correct, I think it follows that the leadership of that base would be key members of the Alliance.


Perhaps I should have said navy instead of fleet? Anyway, the navy was necessary for the Rebellion's activities and ultimate victory, the leader of the navy flew his flag from Home One, therefore one of the highest-ranking members of the Rebellion was with the navy. Most of the general officers, flag officers, and obvious civilian authorities we've seen were meeting on a ship, not a planet or space station. The only deliberate attack we've seen was briefed on a ship. The Rebel Navy had the staying power, communications capability, carrying capacity, and mobility that both Rebel bases lacked, and was an ideal mobile command post for the Rebellion's leaders.

Besides, why would a general be in charge of ships? It doesn't make any sense!


General Solo commanded a small transport craft, and General Calrissian commanded starfighter groups. Both are traditionally appropriate for military (vice naval) ranks.
"It's the stoned movie you don't have to be stoned for." -- Tom Shales on Star Wars
Scruffy's gonna die the way he lived.
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The logistics necessary to conduct an actual rebellion are not the same as those needed for a movie-serial homage rebellion.

It's pretty clear in the original Star Wars that the Rebels have a single base, the destruction of which would crush the rebellion. If we don't want to accept the Star Wars universe as movie-simplistic, we are free to deal with some EU stuff ... which is good and fine, but I can't comment on it.

But the one-base idea presented in Star Wars implies in the sequel that Echo Base on Hoth is also a singular and unique rebel location ... likely so, just as planets in the Star Wars universe consist entirely of single ecological environments.


It's ridiculously simplistic, but it's Star Wars.




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Originally posted by: Obi Jeewhyen
Originally posted by: Gaffer Tape
When did Luke become no longer officially associated with the Rebellion?


I could be wrong, but I got the distinct impression that, as a full-fledged Jedi, he was more of a free agent. At the service of the Rebels, but not really part of their organization. Sort of how the Jedi of old were at the service of the Republic, but they were not members of the government.

But, it's just an impression I got. Maybe that black outfit was a rebel uniform that I just didn't recognize. Of course, if Luke was still part of the official Rebel personnel roster and he didn't get promoted to at least General - - I call Triple Shenanigans!

Yet, I never heard "General Skywalker" mentioned once in Return of the Jedi. I think Luke was freelancing.
I'm checking my information right now, but I believe he was a commissioned officer with the Rebellion during all 3 movies. According to the Wookieepedia, he obtained the rank of general and then resigned his commission 6 months later. It appears it was between 4 and 8 years after the Battle of Yavin. If he ever resigned it before then, and later chose to get reinstated, I can find nothing about it.
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Well, they do call him "Commander Skywalker" around Echo Base, FWIW.

Pink Floyd -- First in Space

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Originally posted by: auximenies
Well, they do call him "Commander Skywalker" around Echo Base, FWIW.
Yes, but I don't recall anyone using a rank with him throughout ROTJ. He may have resigned his commission at some point between the 2 movies then later gotten reinstatement OR there was never a time when he was addressed by a lower-ranking officer in the movie.