As the adopted daughter of Bail and Breha Organo of Alderann, a Princess and a member of the Imperial Senate, Leia has all the qualities required to be the ultimate leader within the Star Wars world.
Within the three movies that she stars most prominently within (A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, and the Empire Strikes Back) Leia spends her time as the leader of the resistance and politician, involving herself at all levels from fighting Stormtroopers, leading the Resistance to transporting secret plans.
1. Thinks on her feetShe finds solutions to difficult problems. Leia is as quick thinking as she is fast on foot. No problem is insurmountable and indeed she appears far more adept at problem solving than Luke or Han . When Stormtroopers engage them on the forest world of Endor, Leia is the first to use the stormtroopers own speeders to catch them.
2. She accepts responsibilityShe accepts and moreover embraces the responsibilities placed upon her, both as a resistance leader, a politician and a princess. The responsibilities placed upon her are countless, with all three positions demanding of her time and effort. Unlike her companion Han Solo, she never complains about what is being asked of her, and indeed, seems happy to make decisions that could have implications for the entire galaxy.
3. Stays coolLeia has the ability to keep her cool in some very demanding situations. During a New Hope she is captured and tortured by Darth Vader but manages to resist giving away the location of the rebel base. As revenge, Vader has her home planet of Alderaan destroyed using the superlaser despite there being no strategic reason for it. Leia refuses to buckle and even manages to quip to Luke that he is “a little short for a Stormtrooper” during the latter’s successful rescue attempt a short while later.
4. She exudes authorityWhile this may stem from her upbringing, there is no doubt that she is naturally authoritative. We see examples of her authority in all three of the original franchise, happy to make decisions even above the head of her more forceful companions, Han and Luke. As a Senator she is one of the youngest ever elected, and does so through the good will of the people of her home planet. While acting as a Senator she is committed to change and reform for the good of all.
5. Stays true to her convictionsAs a Skywalker she is sensitive to the Force, and there remained the possibility throughout the three original movies that she could be subjected to pressure to succumb to the Dark Side. Moreover, she remains a very solid character throughout the franchise who can be relied upon by viewers and fans. This contrasts with the her two main male allies, Han; who can be flaky and throughout the three movies is always looking for an escape route before miraculously returning in the nick of time; and Luke who’s focus is constantly drawn to how he can master the Force to become the ultimate Jedi.
The contrasts with her brother, Luke are self-evident. Oblivious to the importance of his family name, Luke begins life as a simple farm boy and very nearly missed his calling when his uncle came close to purchasing the wrong droid, before finally settling on R2-D2. Almost as soon as he becomes a resistance fighter he sets his heart on becoming a Jedi, finally becoming one of the most powerful in the Empire. Luke has a strong sense of duty, exemplified by his saving of Han from Jabba, and he takes time to step out of the long shadow of his father (that would be Darth Vader!), Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda to become his own man.
By the time of the Empire Strikes Back he is confident of his power, walking into Jabba’s lair alone, and finally surrendering himself to Darth and the Emperor, confident that he can turn his father back to the light side of the force in time to save both him and the Resistance.
At no stage throughout the franchise could Luke be called a great leader, because at virtually every passage he is acting on his own regard, single minded that the actions he takes alone will be far more reaching than the collective resistance.
Han SoloThough with far more potential than Luke, Leia also illustrates far more leadership qualities than Han Solo. Han is perhaps the most “human” of all the characters in Star Wars, displaying traits such as jealousy, sarcasm and cynicism. He is a reluctant hero, perhaps underestimating his own importance to the cause, though fortunately for fans, he has a knack for turning up just in the nick of time to save the day. As a smuggler he begins the franchise as a materialist individual, only concerned with where his next payday is coming from, though as the character develops, we see he has a very definite conscience. While Han has the potential to be a leader through his strong actions, his self-doubt (hence the cynicism and sarcasm) means he never takes up the mantle.
Obi-Wan KenobiWithout question, Leia is also far more competent than the third major figure from the trilogy, the aged Obi-Wan Kenobi. In fact, should you wake up tomorrow on Tatooine, I would advise to take any advice from this old sage with a pinch of salt! Obi-Wan is described as being one of the greatest Jedi to have lived, having killed a Sith Lord (Darth Maul) and served on the Jedi Council. However, this is surely overshadowed by his inept decision making skills that have resulted in calamities for both him and the Resistance. Despite being rejected by the Jedi Council, he first decides to train the young Padawan, Anakin Skywalker on the dying words of his own master, Qui-Gon Jinn. Failing to keep the young Jedi apprentice on a tighter leash results in their final showdown and Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side of the Force.
In short, the galaxy was extremely lucky to have a character who could exhibit the traits of compassion, quick thinking, conviction and strength of character that Leia could. There is no doubt that without her Luke would never have succeeded in becoming a Jedi, and the galaxy would have been at the mercy of the Emperor.
What do you think, would you have had Leia in your corner for her leadership qualities, or are there other lesser known characters that could have done equally well had they had the chance?