Bail Organa is, in every way, the ultimate father figure in Star Wars. There’s a warmth to Jimmy Smits’ portrayal of the character from the moment he enters the story, and when he and Breha adopt Leia at the end of Revenge of the Sith, you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that she’s in good hands. We’d know this even if we didn’t have proof through adult Leia’s storyline before the prequels because the innate goodness that we see cements what we’re supposed to understand from day one.
Thus, as much as the majority of the series centers around establishing the bond between Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Bail and Leia’s conversation in the first episode is an anchor throughout, showcasing how and why the princess will grow into the leader we know and love.
Where genetics run a specifically intricate course in a galaxy far, far away, we don’t talk nearly enough about how the adoptive parents are the true heroes in every form. They are where the compass always points. They are the anchors. Without the adult figures who raised them, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa would not be the legendary characters they are. And in this scene especially, it’s clear as day where Leia gets so much of her drive from. She was destined for much because of who her biological parents are, sure, but it’s imperative to acknowledge the fact that she would’ve never gotten to where she does without the grace Bail and Breha raise her with.
There’s a reason Leia never changed her last name, and thank the stars for that because she is, in every way, an Organa. She is the love and laughter that her parents have poured into her. She is her father bending down to meet her at eye level because the respect he’s had for her has been boundless since the moment they held her in their arms. She is a fighter and a force to be reckoned with because her parents rightfully fuel the fire in her. Bail never wanted Leia to be anything but herself—fire, ice, and everything in between. As this conversation between Bail and Leia showcases, his support anchors her ambitions. Knowing that her father believes in her is a light that drives Leia like the Force.
Bail and Breha’s support is unceasing, and Leia knows this. She feels it. Leia can stand up to her bully cousins because she feels confident enough to fight back despite their claims that she isn’t an Organa. She affirms it in the final episode with Obi-Wan as well, not needing to know about her birth parents because of the parents she’ll be going home to. Additionally, the conversation in episode one proves how alike father and daughter really are. The same fire and need for adventure that runs through her once upon a time governed him too. It’s why Bail can understand what she needs and when, which he exhibits with words and actions how she is an Organa in every way.
Bail and Breha both support their daughter through everything, and while this is more transparent in the final episode, this moment in the beginning reveals the safe space Leia’s always been in. She might constantly run away to chase adventure, but she is ultimately running toward her father and mother. She is running towards the pinky promises she makes and the laughter she finds with them. She’s kind to droids because they’re kind to droids. She’s warm and wild because there’s a fire just as bright in them.
If we got nothing else with Leia throughout the series, this scene would’ve been enough to show us why she led with love. It would’ve been enough to show us that the woman we all adored growing up was just as adored when she was young. It’s enough to showcase that when adults respect and believe in kids with every fiber of their beings, there’s nothing those kids aren’t capable of accomplishing. And it makes future tragedies much more heartbreaking, knowing that we lose the people and the place with endless light.
There are many ways to lead, but the people we choose to honor become the anchors we always carry with us. And with everything she did and every decision she made, nothing is more apparent today that Leia Organa ceaselessly honored Bail and Breha’s legacy and the lasting love they sprinkled into her life growing up.