How ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ changes Princess Leia’s legacy forever

This story contains spoilers for the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi.

When Bail Organa and his wife Breha enlist Obi-Wan Kenobi for help rescuing their daughter, the Alderaan Senator tells the exiled Jedi Master something Star Wars fans have long understood.

Princess Leia is as important as Luke Skywalker.

It is this statement that drives Obi-Wan to action during the series premiere, and one that serves as “Obi-Wan Kenobi’s” thesis throughout the season. The Disney+ series, which concluded Wednesday, expanded and crafted the legacy of Leia Organa, one of the franchise’s most beloved characters — and one whose pivotal role in Obi-Wan Kenobi was hidden prior to launch.

A blaster-wielding princess who wasn’t intimidated by even the galaxy’s most fearsome villains, Princess Leia has been an integral part of the “Star Wars” tapestry since her debut: Leia sending a bunch of droids to the desert planet of Tatooine in search of Obi-Wans Help in 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope begins the adventure that launched the franchise.

Introduced in the original trilogy as a fierce and capable leader of the rebellion, adult Leia (Carrie Fisher) is bold, intelligent, brave, kind and dedicated to the cause and has long had a legion of devoted fans. While it’s undeniable that Leia is one of the pillars of the franchise, Star Wars films have always focused on telling stories about the chosen ones. And unlike her brother Luke and her father Anakin, Leia was Not the chosen one, so she was never the center of the narrative like they were.

Leia’s role in Obi-Wan Kenobi both expands her relevance in the overall Star Wars storyline and recontextualizes existing canon in a way that deepens Leia’s influence on the saga. It serves as a touching tribute to a character whose entire story arc reportedly could not be told as originally intended due to Fisher’s death in 2016.

A man and a girl walking on a dirt road

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Princess Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair) in Obi-Wan Kenobi.

(Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Directed by Deborah Chow, Obi-Wan Kenobi is set 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. In the 2005 film, Obi-Wan, played by Ewan McGregor, took on Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) after learning that his former apprentice had been seduced by the dark side of the Force.

The aftermath has left Obi-Wan heartbroken and haunted by his perceived flaws – a far cry from the calmer, wiser Obi-Wan portrayed by Alec Guinness in A New Hope. “Obi-Wan Kenobi” reveals that it is Leia who is helping to pull Obi-Wan out of this rut ​​and put him back on the path to being the hero he’s meant to be.

Leia’s kidnapping and Bail’s declaration that she is as important as her twin brother, whom Obi-Wan is guarding from afar, prompts the Jedi Master to come out of hiding. This situation signaled early on that it would be young Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) herself who would help Obi-Wan see a new hope worth fighting for.

Leia at age 10 is fearless, stubborn, and wise beyond her years. It’s easy to see how this kid will grow into the leader that Star Wars fans have long known. And as Obi-Wan spends time with young Leia, he can’t help but notice how much she reminds him of her parents.

“Princess Leia Organa,” Obi-Wan addresses her in the finale. “You are wise, perceptive, kind-hearted. These are traits that come from your mother. But you are also passionate and fearless. Open. These are gifts from your father. Both were extraordinary people who gave birth to an extraordinary daughter.”

And while Leia’s parentage has long been known, Obi-Wan’s words cement the bond between her and Padmé and Anakin, which always seemed secondary to Luke’s connection to his father.

a girl holding a little robot

Princess Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair) holds L0-LA59, aka Lola, in Obi-Wan Kenobi.

(Lucasfilm Ltd.)

As a series set between film segments and telling the stories of characters whose fates are already known, Obi-Wan Kenobi was given the difficult task of attempting to expand on and honor the existing Star Wars canon. Part of that challenge was creating and maintaining emotional stakes that audiences could invest in.

“Obi-Wan Kenobi” created emotionally resonant moments because it put Leia at the heart of the story. Hearing someone say Leia is as important as Luke is in an episode of a Star Wars TV series — and then showing how much — will always be meaningful to a Leia fan like me.

There will be viewers who scour shows like Obi-Wan Kenobi for inconsistencies and conflicts with existing Star Wars lore, as well as those who question the easily predictable Star Wars beats or “fan service.” as if they were crimes against the integrity of the franchise.

But Star Wars has always been about the power of hope. And it’s true poetry that Obi-Wan – whom audiences first come to know as Leia’s “only hope” – finds his hope in Leia after all.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-06-22/obi-wan-kenobi-leia-organa-star-wars-legacy How ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ changes Princess Leia’s legacy forever

Sarah Ridley

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