In a little over forty years, the most epic sci-fi franchise has seen its fair share of death. In the recent Skywalker Saga, fans endured the deaths of the most beloved characters in the franchise. Each film in the new trilogy featured a Star Wars death of original characters, beginning with Harrison Ford’s Han Solo in The Force Awakens followed by Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi. With that being said, Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia’s death in the third and last installment, The Rise of Skywalker felt significantly more emotional given the late actresses’ prior death. With the final episode in the Star Wars sequel trilogy nearing the three-year mark since release, new concept art now shows the unforgettable death of Princess Leia in an entirely different manner. See the artwork for it below.
Phil Saunders, the concept artist who worked on The Rise of Skywalker shared some new concept art with his Instagram followers yesterday. While his social account is entirely catered to share his various art, the new post went viral for its big reveal. The artwork depicted the Star War hero’s death in a much different manner. Onboard the Tantive IV, the concept art portrayed Leia on her death bed with only the company of a single droid. Saunders captioned the never-before-seen images of the Star Wars death scene with the following: “Another concept from #starwarstheriseofskywalker. An earlier version of the script placed #leia’s death in her stateroom on the #tantiveiv in transit. At the moment of her passing a comet was supposed to streak past her window. I shaped the stateroom to telegraph it’s location in the Blockade Runner, just under the cockpit in the hammerhead. ”
While superfans may recognize the ship in question, others may not know the significance of the Tantive IV in the alternate scenes artwork. The Tantive IV served as not only the first spacecraft ever seen in a Star Wars film but also as the ship Leia Organa first appeared on in the entire franchise. While the reasoning behind changing the scene remains unknown, the significance surely would have been impactful on screen.
While the story remained the same, Leia’s tragic Star Wars death scene featured in the Rise of Skywalker was quite different than that in the concept art. The death scene in The Rise of Skywalker found Leia’s death scene on Ajan Kloss, the jungle moon which served as the Resistance’s base in the film. Already weakened from the aftermath seen in The Last Jedi following a starcruiser takeover by the First Order, the writers went with a more memorable departure for the fiery Resistance Leader, who was surrounded by people she inspired over her time as Princess and General. The reasoning for her demise remains the same between footage and the newly released concept art: the fortifying of a mentor-and-mentee relationship with Rey. While Rey takes on Kylo Ren at the time of her death, Leia makes one last stand through the force. Using the force to reach out to her son, Leia is able to distract Kylo long enough for Rey to get the advantage in the duel before peacefully passing.
While the differing Star Wars death concepts set up an entirely different environment, it’s hard to say whether or not the alternate ending to the iconic character would have made the death more or less impactful. On one side, the idea of including the Tantive IV depicts a full-circle story arc for the heroic princess. However, seeing the beloved character pass away surrounded by the Resistance’s newcomers detailed Leia’s enormous character development from being the cunning Princess to a force-wielding bonafide badass.