- "And just then, in my head, a vision of my aunt Celly rose as clear as if she were standing in front of me. She smiled. Patience, Leia. Illumination comes like the sunrise. Slowly. Then all at once."
- ―Leia Organa, thinking of her dead aunt
Celly Organa was a Human female from Alderaan and a member of the House of Organa, one of the most famous and influential noble families of the galaxy. One of four children, she was the sister of Bail, Rouge, and Tia Organa. Although she was born into wealth and privilege on an idyllic planet, Organa did not remain idle; in the years leading up to the Clone Wars, she served as Chairwoman of the Refugee Relief Movement. Under her chairmanship, the movement established a new settlement on the site of Chianar, the cornerstone of which was laid in 22 BBY.
Three years later, Organa's brother Bail, then senator of the Alderaan sector, decided to adopt a baby daughter named Leia. Organa joined him in the upbringing of his adopted offspring. As a tutor, she could not hide her exasperation with her niece's tomboyish nature, but she loved her nonetheless. Ultimately, Leia turned out well and followed in her father's footsteps, succeeding him as senator to the Imperial Senate. In 0 BBY, Celly Organa died along with most of her compatriots when the Galactic Empire destroyed her homeworld with a shot from the superlaser of the planet-killing Death Star.
- "Aunt Rouge, Aunt Celly, and Aunt Tia… Father's sisters. They never stopped trying to turn me into what they called a Proper Princess—and marry me off to some brainless twerp from one of the other ancient ruling Houses…"
- ―Leia Organa, musing on her girlhood
Celly Organa was a Human female from Alderaan, a planet that many considered to be the galaxy's paradise and the heart of the Galactic Republic. A noblewoman, she was part of the princely House of Organa, whose origins could be traced as far back as the colonization of Alderaan in 27,500 BBY. Her father, the Viceroy Organa, had also begotten three other children: Tia, Rouge, and Bail Prestor, his only son. As the offspring of a wealthy, prominent, and popular noble house, Organa enjoyed a privileged and comfortable life from the day she drew her first breath. When she reached the age of seventeen, she became an adult in the eyes of the Alderaanian law. Due to her heritage, she was a princess in her own right and was part of the High Court of Alderaan, which presided over the planet's High Council. Eventually, she found a groom of suitable lineage and started a family of her own. Her only brother, Bail Prestor, went on to become the representative of the Alderaan sector to the Galactic Senate, the Viceroy and First Chairman of the Alderaan system and the husband of Queen Breha Organa, née Antilles.
In the last decades of the Republic, the number of people living below the poverty line on Coruscant, the capital world of the galactic government, was increasing. In an effort to counter that trend, the Refugee Relief Movement—or RRM for short—was founded. When the movement evolved into a resettlement agency, various new branches were established on several planets, and Organa was appointed Chairwoman of the RRM. In the third month of the year 22 BBY, Alderaan loosened its immigration laws to allow thousands of refugees to find shelter, and the government donated one hundred hectares of plains on the site of Chianar to be transformed into a new village. Organa supervised the construction commencement ceremony and greeted the first five hundred new settlers. The Alderaanian diplomat Liana Merian and the former Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum also participated in the ceremony. On that occasion, a journalist interviewed Organa for an article to be published in the forty-ninth issue of the HoloNet News CoCo District Edition's 531st volume. In the interview, Organa advocated for more solidarity, stating that the worlds still aligned with the Republic had enough room to accommodate the shelterless who had been forced to abandon their home planets.
Bringing up Leia Organa
- "A girl can only take so much primping and posturing. I know my father and aunts mean well, but I didn't ask to be the Princess of the Royal House of Alderaan."
- ―Extract from Leia Organa's youth diary
Two months after the inauguration of the Chianar settlement, the Republic went to war with the Confederacy of Independent Systems, a separatist movement led by Count Dooku of Serenno. After the end of the devastating three-year conflict known as the Clone Wars, the then-senator Bail Organa decided to adopt Leia, the baby girl of his late colleague Padmé Amidala. Meanwhile, the former Supreme Chancellor Palpatine had shown his true colors, carving an authoritarian Galactic Empire from the corpse of the old Republic and bestowing the title of Emperor upon himself. Celly Organa and her sisters came to live at the Royal Palace of Aldera to help their brother raise his foster daughter. By that point, Organa had become a widow, holding the title of dowager.
The Princess Organa and her sisters were tasked with drilling the young Leia into a respectable, high-ranking lady. However, baby Leia grew into a tomboyish girl with a fiery temperament. Wishing to tame their passionate niece, Organa and her sisters taught her the arcana of court etiquette. Additionally, they hired other tutors, including the strict Madame Vesta, the Headmistress of the Alderaan Select Academy for Young Ladies. For his part, the Viceroy worked in the shadows, contributing to the foundation of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, a gathering of factions opposed to the tyranny of Palpatine's Empire. The attempt at bridling their adopted niece was not entirely successful; when the ten-year-old princess performed the "Dance of the Twi'lek Slave Girl" during a performance at the Select Academy, the Organa sisters were collectively appalled. A few years later, they were further disappointed when a teenaged Leia refused to enter the Court marriage market before she could do so as a senator in her own right.
As time passed, Organa witnessed her niece coming of age and succeeding her father as representative of the Alderaan sector in the Imperial Senate. In 1 BBY, on the occasion of Leia's nomination as senator, Organa, Rouge, and Tia accompanied Leia to an official levee organized by the Emperor on Coruscant, now renamed Imperial Center. When the young Senator noticed the presence of jeweled Imperial concubines and asked about them, Organa took her aside and briefed her about the court's intrigues. Although the three sisters were still bent on marrying Leia off at the time of her first levee, the Princess was secretly going out with young men, although none the dowagers would approve of. Organa and her siblings were also unaware that, years before, Leia had sneaked out with the young noble Raal Panteer under the cover of the night to swim in the reflecting pools of Aldera, and they had exchanged their first kiss.
A planet's demise
- "Millions of lives vaporized. My father, my best friend Winter, my aunts, my teachers, my friends. All gone. An entire civilization vanished from the galaxy in an instant of heat, of light."
- ―Leia Organa
In 0 BBY, Wilhuff Tarkin, one of Palpatine's Grand Moffs, chose to demonstrate the full power of the Death Star, a brand-new moon-sized battlestation equipped with a planet-destroying superlaser. Since the Empire had grown suspicious of Bail Organa's true allegiance, Tarkin had the entire planet of Alderaan destroyed by the Death Star, with a captive Leia being forced to watch. On a warm evening late in the spring, Celly Organa, a proud daughter of the House of Organa, died in the destruction of her homeworld, along with more than a billion other beings.
- "So I lay down in my bunk, and I thought about Alderaan. I couldn't think about Father or my aunts—that hurt too much. So I thought about the green fields and the blue flowers, and my favorite walk through the hills."
- ―Leia Organa
Despite the clear differences of opinion they had on many issues, Leia immediately realized how much she would miss her Aunt Celly, her recommendations, and her annoying riddle games. During one of her first private conversations with the Tatooinian farm boy Luke Skywalker—who was in fact her estranged twin brother—Leia started daydreaming about her aunt advising her to be patient like she used to. Even sixteen years later, when Leia had become the Chief of State of a democratic New Republic, she remembered her conversation with her aunt on the Imperial Court's intrigues while meeting again with Roganda Ismaren, a former concubine of the Emperor.
Personality and traits
- "Coruscant's getting even more crowded each day. There's plenty of elbow room in the Republic, as long as worlds are willing to share."
- ―Celly Organa, Chairwoman of the Alderaanian RRM
In her last years, Celly Organa was a plump woman with a pink face. As was customary among Alderaanian adults, she had long hair that she would decorate with cut flowers. When her niece Leia first attended the Emperor's reception, Organa's hair was fading with age, but she would still display complicated—and somewhat antiquated—hairstyles that included twirls, pearls, and small garlands.
Although she was born into luxury and prosperity, with her family's wealth seemingly limitless, Organa had genuine concerns for those most in need. At the time she presided over the RRM, she publicly stated there was enough space in the Republic for everyone to live decently, on the condition that everyone agreed to share. Organa shared many things with her sisters, including a taste for iridescent earrings made from Old Republic bronze and her pleading for patience and reflection. Beside her undoubted qualities, she was also known for her personality quirks, such as indulging daily outbreaks of hypochondria—during which she would lie down in her chambers—and making riddles, a habit that usually greatly annoyed her niece.
Behind the scenes
- "It always bothered me slightly that in the original Star Wars (and I think of the films by their original titles), Leia sees her home—all her family, the place she grew up, everyone she knows—destroyed before her eyes, and then we just go on to the next thing. Who WERE these people that she lost? Who were her family?"
- ―Barbara Hambly
Celly Organa was first mentioned along with her sisters in Children of the Jedi, a 1995 novel written by Barbara Hambly and published by Bantam Spectra. In that book, the Organa sisters were introduced as the main caretakers of a teenaged Leia Organa. However, in the 1981 comic The Last Gift From Alderaan!, the fifty-third issue of the Star Wars series by Marvel Comics, Princess Leia wondered whether her father was alone or "with mother" when Alderaan was destroyed. That statement suggested that Breha Organa had remained alive until the very end of Alderaan. Yet, the Marvel series was deemed "Secondary Canon," which could be overridden or retconned by newer licensed sources considered "Continuity Canon." While prominent Star Wars Legends sources like Children of the Jedi established that the Organa sisters tutored their niece in the absence of a mother, the 2013 Topps Star Wars Illustrated: A New Hope trading card set released by Topps in 2013 showed that Queen Breha had indeed survived until the destruction of Alderaan.
When she saw Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Barbara Hambly was bothered by the rapidity with which the destruction of Alderaan was set aside. With the explosion of her homeworld, Princess Leia had lost everyone she knew and loved, but the action pressed on to the next part of the story. Hambly sought to put a human face on the Princess' grief, which prompted her to create new family members. The author came up with a group of aunts, since royal sisters would have been much more likely to stay close to the court than Bail Organa's potential brothers. Hambly also stated that, had her aunts survived the destruction of Alderaan, Leia Organa would have gotten to know them much better, learning to value each for her qualities.
Celly Organa was specifically mentioned by name five times throughout the narrative, which makes her the second most cited of Leia's aunts, the first one being Rouge. Hambly envisioned her as the "classic middle child," older than Tia and younger than Rouge. In creating her character, she sought to portray her as sweet-natured and understanding. At the time of Leia's upbringing, her Aunt Celly was single, "either through widowhood, possibly divorce, or her own choice."
In 1998, three years after the release of Children of the Jedi, Scholastic published Star Wars Journal: Captive to Evil, a Jude Watson novel retelling the events of Star Wars: Episode IV from Princess Leia's point of view. In this story, the author elaborated a little further on Organa's personality, mentioning her love of riddles.
In 2002, "Celly Organa" was erroneously mentioned as Alderaan's Minister of Education and Bail Organa's wife in sixty-seventh issue of The Official Star Wars Fact File. At the time The Official Fact File was published, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith had not been released yet, and the character of Breha Organa, née Antilles, had not yet been created. The same year, Bail Organa's sisters made their first pictorial appearance in "The Princess Leia Diaries," a short comic from the Star Wars Tales series that was written by Jason Hall and illustrated by Chris Brunner. Although the three aunts went nameless in the comic, only one matches the description of Organa as fair-haired.
The 2010 reference book Star Wars Blueprints: Rebel Edition, written by Ryder Windham, stated that the late Mazicia Organa, Queen of Alderaan more than a decade before the Clone Wars, was Bail Organa's mother. However, whether she was also the mother of his sisters was never clarified.
- "The Princess Leia Diaries" — Star Wars Tales 11 (First appearance) (First pictured)
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II novel (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Journal: Captive to Evil (Mentioned only)
- Empire 21 (Indirect mention only)
- Children of the Jedi (First mentioned)
- The Essential Guide to Characters
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 67 (ORG2, Bail Organa) (mistakenly conflated with Breha Organa)
- The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
Notes and references
- Children of the Jedi
- The New Essential Chronology
- "Galaxywide NewsNets" – Star Wars Adventure Journal 3
- "The Princess Leia Diaries" — Star Wars Tales 11
- The radio dramatization of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope stated that the High Court that presided over the High Council of Alderaan was composed of the royal family. Even though Celly Organa's connection to the High Court was not made explicit in any source, she is automatically affiliated with it, as a member of the Royal House of Organa.
- Star Wars Journal: Captive to Evil
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 18 ("Alderaan")
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "House Organa"
- The novel Dark Force Rising established that Bail Organa's father was a viceroy. Since Bail and his sisters share their surname according to The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, this article assumes that they had the same father.
- The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
- In the novel The Clone Wars: Wild Space, the childhood of the scions of House Organa was described in such terms by Bail Organa.
- Rebel Dawn established that the "age of responsibility" on both Alderaan and Corellia was set at seventeen.
- Email from Barbara Hambly on Princess Leia's aunts
- According to Children of the Jedi, it was customary among the Ancient Houses to bring their daughters to Coruscant around the age of seventeen to find them a groom of equal lineage. Furthermore, The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide mentions that Bail Organa's sisters had "families of their own," which implies that Celly Organa got married at some point.
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Children of the Jedi referred to Leia Organa's adopted aunts as "dowagers."
- Children of the Jedi stated that Leia Organa was eighteen when she attended the levee, and her birthdate was established as 19 BBY in The New Essential Chronology.
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II novel
- Empire 21
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Coruscant and the Core Worlds
- The Crystal Star
- Star Wars (1977) 53
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 67 (ORG1–2, Bail Organa)
- Star Wars Blueprints: Rebel Edition