George Lucas revealed that Leia had earned her Ph.D. in the 2004 commentary for A New Hope, but the internet is apparently just getting woke to the fact now. Leia Organa could have gone by Doctor Leia Organa, but chose to go by Princess/General Leia for reasons only known to George Lucas and possibly Carrie Fisher. As it turns out, Leia was more qualified to become a general before Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, but the Star Wars universe was apparently a man's universe back then.
The fact that Carrie Fisher's Leia had her Ph.D. was brought into the public conscious when Doctor Becca Harrison mentioned her discovery in a Twitter post. Harrison's Twitter post featured a lengthy quote from Star Wars creator George Lucas' commentary on 1977's A New Hope, which was released in 2004. The commentary paints a very strong picture of young Leia and Lucas says that he needed a strong, young actress to pull off the role. Lucas explains.
"In A New Hope Leia is young, nineteen, the same age as what Luke was supposed to be, but instead of being kind of an idealistic naïve farm boy from the far reaches of the Netherlands, she's like a very sophisticated, urbanized ruler, a Senator, so she's a politician, she's accomplished, she's graduated, got her Ph.D. at nineteen and she rules people and she's in charge. (I needed an actress) who could be young and play with a lot of authority ... and push the guys around."
Now that the information has become common knowledge, many are wondering where the Princess Organa prequel movie is. Maybe Disney and Lucasfilm can make some sort of a Doogie Howser reboot, but instead the show will star Princess Leia as a young advanced girl earning her Ph.D. at an incredibly young age. It seems like the perfect show for this particular point in time and as one Twitter user mentioned: "Somehow having a Ph.D. at 19 is actually the most fanciful element of Star Wars."
This is not news to a lot of Star Wars fans who have studied the material inside and out, but nevertheless, it's pretty interesting to see the information break into the mainstream consciousness at this time. Everybody new that Princess Leia was a tough and strong character with a quick wit, but now it has become common knowledge that in her backstory she was even more accomplished than previously thought before. The Star Wars universe is even bigger thanks to the internet and even casual fans have a wealth of information at their fingertips, which wasn't as easy to acquire back in 2004.
Princess Leia's story is expected to come to a close with the release of Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi, which is set to hit theaters on December 15th, 2017. Co-star John Boyega has said that the movie, "sends her off in an amazing, amazing way" while also stating, "She's still kept alive in this franchise and that's the beauty of it. She lives forever in a sense." We'll have to wait until the release of The Last Jedi to see the tribute to Carrie Fisher and Leia, but that leaves time for casual fans to dig deeper into the Star Wars universe to learn more about these beloved characters.