It’s one of those moments in Star Wars (the original — Episode IV: A New Hope) that makes you wonder “What were they thinking?”
Aboard the Millennium Falcon, just escaped from the Death Star, Princess Leia Organa comforts Luke Skywalker. The Tatooine farm boy has just watched from the battlestation’s hangar bay as his mentor, Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi, was struck down by Darth Vader after deactivating the tractor beam to allow the Falcon to take flight.
The meme goes something like this: “When your home planet exploded a few hours ago, but a guy you just met is feeling sad about his martial-arts mentor.”
After the third episode of the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi, this rough edge feels a lot smoother at last.
The series introduces actress Vivien Lyra Blair as a young Leia Organa, who is kidnapped from Alderaan on the order of an ambitious Imperial Inquisitor (think: Jedi hunter) to lure her adoptive father’s old friend Kenobi out of hiding after 10 years.
It’s easy to wonder why the older, 1977 Star Wars’ Leia isn’t more “broken up” (too soon?) about Alderaan’s obliteration as a statement by Empire, but it’s also easily tabled amid the adrenaline of a sudden prison break and the raucous run through the Death Star halls that followed.
But now we know Leia, too, knew Kenobi. In fact, he was there when no one else came to her aid as a child. When Luke first meets his secret twin sister in her cell, years later, and reveals he’s not just a short Stormtrooper, he tells her: “I’m here to rescue you — I’m here with Ben Kenobi.” “Ben Kenobi!” Leia gasps. “Where is he?” And they’re off.
“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi — you’re my only hope” means a lot more know, if that’s even possible. All thanks to Kenobi’s little Leia.
Leia, too, was mourning the Jedi master in the aftermath of the Death Star escape — in addition to her entire, beautiful adopted homeworld. It’s a lot for anyone to process.
And when the time came, years later, to name her own son who would become strong with the Force, she and Han would call him Ben Solo — not after her brother’s guru’s Tatooine alias, but someone who was actually very special to them both.