Over the weekend, the internet promptly freaked out when it rediscovered that George Lucas described part of Princess Leia’s backstory for the first Star Wars movie as someone who “got her PhD at nineteen.” But, in all honesty, why should we be so surprised to learn that she’s Dr. Leia Organa, PhD?
When you think about it, the detail—which comes from a director’s commentary on the 2004 DVD re-release of the Star Wars trilogy—isn’t surprising in the slightest.
After all, the Leia we meet in A New Hope is presented as someone who extremely has their shit together. She’s a member of the Galactic Senate. She’s running around in charge of her own spaceship, balancing senatorial duties with helping to lead the Rebellion, using her intelligence and wits to put her life on the line. And she’s nineteen, at that. Why wouldn’t we also assume that she’s smart and capable to the point she has a best-in-class education, too?
Speaking of which, it also helps to remember that her adoptive family is supremely well off. Her father is a prestigious political figure on both his homeworld and on the galactic scene. Her mother is the goddamn Queen of Alderaan. Those are parents who not only have access to the best education they can get for their beloved daughter, but the sort of people who are totally going to push her to get it when they realize her aptitude, too. I mean, come on, does Bail Organa look like the sort of dude who’d go “No daughter of mine is going to Coruscant without a degree in space politics”?
Hell yeah he does.
So yes, not only is Dr. Princess General Organa totally a thing in the Star Wars galaxy, it’s frankly a little weird that we’re all so surprised by it. Still, it kind of makes me a bit miffed that we’re getting a Han Solo spinoff movie instead of something about teen Leia balancing university studies with, you know, the whole “running a galactic insurgency against a fascist dictatorship” thing. That’d be interesting to see.