And no, it isn’t her blaster, although that does come up.
There are a lot of similarities between the tales told in this week’s entries in Marvel’s ongoing Age of Resistance anthology series. Age of Resistance: Rey and Age of Resistance: Rose Tico, both penned by Tom Taylor, featuring art from Ramon Rosanas and Guru-eFX, and with lettering by Travis Lanham, set up the world around the films in the sequel trilogy.
They both star two of the sequel movie’s prominent female heroes, of course, in Rey and Rose (Rose, as her issue is a prequel set before The Last Jedi, is even joined by her sister Paige).
They’re both stories set in times when these heroes find themselves despondent and unsure of how to articulate the sea of emotions swirling within them.
Rey’s is set immediately in the wake of The Force Awakens, as she finds herself struggling to find hope in her quest to seek out Luke Skywalker amidst her despair over Han Solo’s murder.
Rose and Paige’s story, meanwhile, follows them all the way from childhood to finding their places in the Resistance, climaxing with the two being almost broken by the news that their homeworld, Hays Minor, has been obliterated by the First Order.
And they’re also both stories in which, in those moments of crushingly dark despair, a light emerges in the form of General Leia Organa.
Leia’s role in both the Rey and Rose stories is minor, but vital to their themes of resistance and rebellion.
For Rey, Leia acts as a grounding rod to help focus her grief over Han’s death. For Rose and Paige, Leia is initially a literal roadblock to them making a brash and incredibly stupid decision — stealing a Resistance Bomber, finding the biggest First Order target they could find, and dying in a blaze of glory to avenge the death of their home planet.
But, despite the stories taking place lightyears and months apart, Leia ties both Rey and Rose’s journeys together with a weapon more powerful than the Force or any fully-armed and operational battle stations could ever muster.
Hope. But most importantly above all, the need to carry on with that hope held in close to your chest, no matter the hits you take, no matter the times it feels like it’s hopeless — and absolutely no matter how bold or grand a heroic sacrifice might feel in the moment.
Hope, and a hope that persists instead of being thrown away in death, is what drags people through their struggle — and realising that also means knowing when to plant your feet in the ground and stand fast, and when to cut your chances to live and hope another day.
The message is extremely resonant — it is, after all, the crux of Leia’s entire arc in the Star Wars saga, from her accepting the hope of Jyn Erso’s sacrifice on Scarif in Rogue One, all the way up to the hope her brother embodies making his presence known to her and the remnants of the Resistance on Crait in The Last Jedi.
But it’s also a perfect use of the character in these comics, and a fitting tribute to the legacy the dearly-missed Carrie Fisher has left behind in the galaxy far, far away.
Leia’s hope and her guiding words become the catalyst for the next generation of rebellious heroines to forge their own paths with. The spirit of hope endures, and as Leia tells Rose and Paige in particular — there’s something fun in living long enough to make evil people very miserable.
That said, she does still like to think that it can be matched by a good blaster at your side, now and then.
It wouldn’t be Leia Organa if she didn’t, right?