Obi-Wan Kenobi Part IV is about the Rebellion, with capital letters, the one we’ve been following for most of this story. The one that was built from the disappointment of the people who saw the Fall of the Empire, the one that was sustained by Bail Organa and so many others, and yes, the one that was ultimately led by Leia Organa into victory.
That Leia was always going to be a pivotal figure in the Rebellion is something we already knew, the reasons why, however, were somewhat obscure. It would have been possible, before this episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi, that Leia’s motivations were tied to the people that raised her, to the values they instilled in her. Obi-Wan Kenobi Part IV, however, makes it clear that the Leia we see in A New Hope was never a Leia that was fighting for something she didn’t understand.
No, Leia Organa has always understood the stakes. That’s why she fights.
It’s not the same thing …
On the surface, it might seem like these ideas are one and the same. Why does it matter why Leia fights, why she does the things she does? It only matters that she does them. But there’s a level of idealism to the Leia we thought we knew that just isn’t there anymore – that was never there. Princess trying to save a world she has never truly inhabited is very different from the women we now know Leia will grow up to be.
This recontextualizing is one of the best things about Obi-Wan Kenobi so far, and not just in regard to Leia. But it works really well in her case, because it all adds up. Of course, Leia would dedicate her life to fighting for the Rebellion, of course she would sacrifice everything for it and still keep fighting. And of course, she was able to withstand Reva’s attempts to get information out of her. We know the reasons why all of these things are true. We understand.
It’s because Leia Organa was always, always, the best of us. And she came at it from the perspective of someone who was forced to confront, form a very young age, the reality of the Empire. Someone who was captured and almost tortured, because that’s what the Empire does, no questions asked. Someone who saw the world the way it was, who heard of the way things had changed. Is it any wonder she wanted better? For herself, and for everyone else?
For her friend, Ben …
And for her friend, and savior, Obi-Wan Kenobi, above all things. We have to mention that Leia’s loyalty is not to Obi-Wan alone, she doesn’t give up the Rebellion even when she thinks Obi-Wan is dead, but there’s no doubt that there’s a bond between them. That she cares for him, just as he cares for her. It’s easy to understand from Leia, she’s young, and he’s been at her side in one of her worst moments, saved her more than once, and been very impressive while doing so, might I add. For Obi-Wan, however, it’s a different, more transformative thing to care for Leia.
Because Ben Kenobi had sworn off caring, or at least, sworn off caring in a way that required any real demonstration. He clearly cares for Luke as well, but he was content to care form a distance for very long, because that was what was best for Luke. He was a hunted man, after all.
There’s more to that, of course, there was also fear. His Padawan was lost to the Dark Side, was he really the man to train another. Could he even be what Luke needed? Did he deserve a second chance? Only, it turns out, Luke was never his second chance, Leia was. And Obi-Wan didn’t really get a say in the matter. Leia just knocked down all his walls, obnoxiously so at times, and took residence in his heart. And now there’s no way to get her out, not that he wants to.
For Leia, he has used the Force again. For Leia, he has ignited the lightsaber he thought he would never use one more. And, most importantly, for Leia, Obi-Wan has remembered what it feels like to love someone, unconditionally. To put someone else’s life before your own. And to do so in an active way, that also requires communicating with them, and yes, offering comfort when needed.
But Obi-Wan Kenobi isn’t alone anymore. He never truly was, even if he believed so. He’s got at tiny Princess, the best parts of his Apprentice and his dear friend Padme, all rolled into one. He’s got an entire Rebellion who came to his aid, even when he, perhaps, didn’t really give them the credit they deserved. And he’s got Luke, who will one day, thanks to him, become the man who can help save the galaxy. The man who can help save Anakin.
For years, Obi-Wan Kenobi has believed everything he touches turns to dust, when in truth, his legacy isn’t one of failure, but one of hope. Because of him, there’s hope. For the Rebellion, for Leia and for Luke – which in turn, translates to hope for an entire galaxy. And, surprisingly enough, because of him …there’s also hope for the one person he really and truly wanted to save. His brother, Anakin.
It’s just that hope, well, it’s easier when it’s shared. It languishes in the darkness and fades away in loneliness. The best way to feed hope is to let it out into the light, share it with others. And now that Obi-Wan has that, well …the path towards a brighter future for everyone looks so much clearer, doesn’t it?
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