Leia (apparently) dies when Ren is stabbed,

she doesn't

become a force ghost


Ben becomes a ghost,

much later. Why not?

  • 2
    When Luke gave Rey Leia's lightsaber he said something like "At the end of her Jedi career she foresaw the death of her son". It is similar to Luke at the end of The Last Jedi. IMHO she saved Ben from the physical fall and helped him up the cliff.
    – L.T.Smash
    Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 12:44

2 Answers 2


We'll probably get something more explicit from the director soon, but based on the movie, it is because she is helping "kill" Kylo Ren and turn Ben back from the Dark Side.

As Maz says, what Leia is doing will kill her. From the Force skills we've seen her demonstrate, including the fact that we've seen she and Ren connect to each other earlier in the trilogy without much effort, it seems improbable that her saying "Ben" is as much as she could achieve before dying. Likely she is still with him; she doesn't move on to become a Force ghost until he does after his redemption with Rey, because Leia's connected to him and helping him.

  • But Kylo Ren had already turned to the light side when Leia became one with the Force. He actually turns shortly after Leia's physical body died; her body was lying for nearly the entire third part. Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 6:27
  • 1
    My belief is that we are shown explicitly that she didn't become a Force ghost yet to indicate that she didn't "finish the job" until the same time as he passed on.
    – Mr Nick
    Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 21:46

There's not an explicit or canon-related explanation, but thematically, Leia had not "let go" of her interests in the material world -- in this case, ensuring that Ben has turned away from the dark side. To quote Yoda, "If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny." Once Ben was dead, his destiny -- and the chance he could turn back to the dark side -- was over.

This also mirrors the end of "Return of the Jedi," when Anakin's Force ghost doesn't appear next to Obi-Wan and Yoda until Vader's body is burned in his armor.

  • The last part is incorrect - Vader's armour was already burnt. Luke was at the Ewok party already, so the pyre had already happened. Anakin appears while Luke is already there smiling at Obi-Wan and Yoda
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 16:30

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