Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Leia’s message in A New Hope is vital not only for its substance but for its context; it succeeds one of the most defining conversations in the Star Wars franchise.
The scene has Obi-Wan explaining things in a nutshell to Skywalker: the real role of the Jedi, the emergence of the Empire and how it changed things forever, the Clone Wars, Skywalker’s father, Darth Vader, The Force (and its Dark Side), the Jedi’s light-sabre, the hunting and destruction of the Jedi Knights.
That single scene is essentially a crash course for Star Wars fans on the riches the franchise has to offer - much in its ‘’past’’, most in their ‘’future’’, generations of fans would come to know and love these themes and characters.
Then Leia’s message beamed through from R2-D2 in a magical blue light that fans would grow familiar with, her words brief, sincere, pleading.
All of 40 seconds but on that fleeting SOS hinges everything Skywalker and Obi-Wan do from that moment on.
Skywalker, mere observer until then, becomes - without too much persuading - a central character.
The key to Leia’s message and journeys that Obi-Wan and Skywalker and his fellow warriors undertake is that abiding theme, the ‘’survival of the Rebellion’’.
It is Leia [...] who gives their presence meaning, lends their memory and imagination a sense of purpose, a sense of urgency and most importantly a sense of ‘action’.
There’s an interesting sub-text in that scene, for those who wish to see it.
Of the two robots in that scene, one (C3-PO) goes to ‘sleep’ (he closes down for a while), another (R2-D2) ‘dreams’ (transmitting Leia’s message from his inner eye).
Of the two humans in the scene, one (Obi-Wan) ‘remembers’, while another (Skywalker) ‘imagines’. One is looking back, another looks ahead.
Princess Leia steps into that strange matrix, sort of without stepping in, she’s present while still being perhaps a million miles away.
The men represent both ends of the age and life spectrum: Skywalker, young and bursting with energy stands for birth and Obi-Wan, old and weary stands for death.
The young man representing ambition; the old man representing achievement.
The young man standing for unfulfilled desire; the old man standing for some success and accomplishment but lots of unfulfilled dreams, lots of regret.
But in spite of themselves, both (men) are merely reflecting, thinking, talking.
It is Leia (the woman) who gives their presence meaning, lends their memory and imagination a sense of purpose, a sense of urgency and most importantly a sense of ‘action’. And it is only fitting that her words lend that landscape a sense of balance: ‘you’re my only hope’. By themselves the men are sort of unfulfilled, even fearful, reluctant. The woman in need of help herself, urges them to act, not for her sake but for the greater good.
It is only by working together that they (men and women) sort of ‘save’ themselves and ‘fulfil’ each other.