Fortunately, an upcoming novel by Beth Revis titled The Princess and the Scoundrel takes a much deeper dive into the mind of Princess Leia in the aftermath of Return of the Jedi, finally unpacking her very complicated feelings about what the truth about her parentage means for her future with the Rebellion and the soon-to-be New Republic.
It’s while on her honeymoon with Han Solo — we learn in the book the two stubborn heroes finally tied the knot on Endor just hours after Return of the Jedi — that she has actual time to think about how her familial ties to one of the most feared villains the galaxy has ever known threatens her career.
“Once the galaxy knows my secret, people will see me differently,” Leia tells Han in a new excerpt from the book published on StarWars.com. “It will limit what I’ll be able to do to help others; they’ll question, at the very least, my motives…But also, I know I will no longer be trusted if…once people know. If I have a position in the new government, it will be recalled. Any work I’ve done will be criticized, possibly dismantled. I’ll lose everything.”
In other words, Leia knows her days as a hero of the Rebellion and as a leader of the New Republic could be numbered once the galaxy discovers the truth. Which is why Leia feels she needs to do as much as she can now while the secret is still hidden. In the case of The Princess and the Scoundrel, she’s referring to helping free the moon she’s visiting with Han from a secret Imperial presence (at least that’s what Leia suspects is happening there).
“I have to do as much as I can, while I can,” Leia tells Han. “A secret like this, it cannot be hidden forever. So if there’s something I can do, I have to do it. Now. I can’t stop doing my job…I can’t stop helping others. I can’t just quit being myself. And part of it is because this is the way I believe I should live my life. This is the work I love.”
This long-awaited moment of reflection not only serves as an unseen continuation of Leia’s story from Return of the Jedi but also as a bit of foreshadowing for what’s to come decades down the line. After all, we learned in the 2016 novel Bloodline by Claudia Gray that the truth did eventually come out about 24 years after the end of the Original Trilogy, completely destroying Leia’s candidacy for First Senator of the New Republic. It was a First Order spy who manipulated the events that led to the stunning revelation on the Galactic Senate floor, which also set up Leia’s exit from politics to form the Resistance that would go on to fight this new Empire in the Sequel Trilogy.