Star Wars, Episode IV, Part IV: Remember Alderaan

anh-part-iv-0003Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (Part 4)

Welcome back! Previously, on Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Just So Very Tired But He Has To Help The Skywalkers Anyways, Luke and Obi-Wan went back to where — if you consider the events of the Kenobi novel to be canon, which they are not but nevertheless —  it all started for them: a seedy bar on Tatooine! There, Obi-Wan revisited one of his greatest loves (chopping off someone’s arm), and as a bonus he and Luke also found themselves a ride to Alderaan on the Smug Jerkass Express, better known as the Millennium Falcon. The Empire hot on their heels, the gang had jumped to hyperspace en route to their destination at the Last Dramatic Second, while everyone continued to bitch at each other because that’s how we do things in this galaxy.

In today’s installment, Leia holds her own against two of the universe’s biggest villains and is given some painful trauma to carry around with her for the rest of her life, Vader’s ex stops by for an unexpected visit and he is so not ready (and he doesn’t even know the half of it yet), and we learn that our democracy-loving Space Dad Bail Organa may have timed his return to Alderaan somewhat poorly. Sigh! Off we go.

Recurring Theme: Occasional Accent Syndrome
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We’re back on Death Star I, and Leia is being led over to Tarkin, who has a super awful surprise in store for her. She participates in a Duel of the Sass with him (whilst briefly reintroducing her occasional British accent — which reminds me that Carrie’s story about her accent here is delightful and I love her and now I’ve made myself sad,) and then he’s like OH I’M SO GLAD YOU’LL BE HERE TO JOIN US FOR THIS DEMONSTRRRRATION before you get executed, and I have to tell you: Vader is standing behind her during this scene, and HIS BREATHING IS SO DISTRACTING IT IS KILLING ME. Like, there’s Tarkin going off on a Villainous Speech he surely spent hours practicing in a mirror beforehand and Anakin is over there ruining the mood. LOL
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Recurring Theme: A Galaxy Full of Tiny Badasses

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As Tarkin continues his whole blahblahblah we chose the planet we’re going to test this thing out on because YOU, my dear! thing, we get a chance to really observe how much physically smaller Leia is than both of the creeps doing this to her in this scene. I really love how Padme, Leia, even Luke and certainly characters like Yoda — they’re not these like, gigantically physically imposing people but still: YOU DO NOT FUCK WITH THEM. One key message of Star Wars is Beware the Small Badass.

Eventually Tarkin gets to the point: we’re gonna blow up Alderaan! How’s about THAT, Princess?

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Leia is understandably horrified given that her parents and her friends and her home and everything she’s ever held dear in her life is there GODDAMNIT ANAKIN FFS YOU ALREADY KILLED HER PARENTS ONCE DID YOU REALLY NEED TO STAND BY AND DO IT AGAIN?!
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Ahem. Anyways. Leia protests, terrified: Alderaan is peaceful! They don’t have any weapons! Honey, I hate to break it to you, but “pacifists with no weapons” is not a strategy that tends to work out well for people in this galaxy. Unfortunately. Tarkin snots back: FINE, then tell us where your Rrrrrrrrebel frrrrriends ahhhe!
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Nervously, she backs up INTO Vader and recoils from him as she does and I don’t even wanna talk about this because it’s bumming me out. She eventually spits out that the rebel base is on Dantooine.
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I would now like to point out that amusingly Vader’s breathing has gotten weirdly quiet and at first I wondered if it had stopped altogether. Maybe they occasionally have to do a hard reset on him when he hangs or goes offline.

Alderaan, We Hardly Knew Ye

Having secured the information he wanted, Tarkin pulls the ultimate dick move and is like “Ha! Now let’s blow up Alderaan anyways because I’m an asshole!” Man, pair this movie with Rogue One and Tarkin has had one hell of a week screwing people over and ruining lives.

And with that, a bunch of 70s console panels light up all Look At This Hot Futuristic Technology-style, and Alderaan (BAIL NOOOO) meets its ultimate demise.

Recurring Theme: Old Man Has a Force Attack

Back on Han Solo’s Sweet-Ass Ride That Is Way Too Good For Actual Superhuman Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke is flinging around the Skywalker Saber (which looks entertainingly green here, oops,) and trying to train himself to deflect shots from that stupid blaster ball thing while Obi-Wan observes. Suddenly, Obi-Wan grabs his chest and starts stumbling forward and BIG SURPRISE, Luke, being a Skywalker, is immediately like OBI-WAN WHAT’S WRONG ARE YOU DYING?? I’LL SAVE YOU!!! and rushes to his side.

Obi-Wan explains that he’s had a Force Attack: he sensed a great disturbance…why, it’s almost as though Anakin and his pals are up their old mass-murdering tricks again OH WAIT!

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Sigh.

Obi-Wan Kenobi IS SO TIRED YOU GUYS
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OK, so Obi-Wan is like completely traumatized by this because YOU KNOW he’s like “JFC WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO NOW, ANAKIN, WHY IS MY LIFE LIKE THIS OH MY GOD” and he looks? SO SAD. Luke pats his shoulder reassuringly (AHHHH) and then Obi-Wan, ever the same, is like “it’s fine just ignore my utterly shattered heart over here, go back to your studies don’t mind me I’m fine.” You guys: Obi-Wan has literally always been the saddest and the most tired person in Star Wars. By this point in the history of the franchise he’d only been a character for AN HOUR’S WORTH OF CONTENT and I have already wanted to cry about him and/or give him a blanket like 8 times. God, I both love and hate this. I’m not even going to get into how sweet Luke is here. I’m just not.

Han Solo, Bad At Reading the Room

Han comes strutting in and is all like WHAT CAN I SAAAAAY EXCEPT YOU’RE WEL-COME! For getting you away from The Man! He plops himself down next to Obi-Wan, who is basically holding back tears, and is like OH GEEZ FINE I AM SO UNAPPRECIATED. Good Lord, Solo. Did you not notice the broken heart of the man next to you? Sigh.

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DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT OBI-WAN’S PAIN.

Han gives up fishing for compliments (and LOL that literally no one tries to give him any even after he complains about it,) and says they’re now solidly en route to Alderaan.
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After some brief Hijinks related to Chewie and the droids playing Claymation Space Chess, we cut back to Luke and his Amazing Color-Changing Lightsaber.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Possibly Questioning His Life Again

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Obi-Wan observes as Luke struggles somewhat, watching him with a borderline-wary face (ha!) Don’t worry, Kenobes, you totally still have time to switch careers if you don’t feel like wading back into the Training a Skywalker Waters again…oh, wait, no you don’t. Sorry doll. You’re stuck with the Skyguys. My condolences.

Luke gets zapped, and Han dickishly laughs, deriding the Force as a “hokey religion” and bitching about how much better a blaster is and I think WE ALL KNOW that in the world of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the latter in particular ARE FIGHTING WORDS, SOLO.

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You watch your mouth, mister.

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I guess he should count himself lucky that Obi-Wan is too depressed right now to be like HOW VERY DARE YOU.

Luke challenges: so you don’t believe in the Force? And Han, speaking in a tone of voice like he is Oh Just So Very Old And Has Seen So Very Much despite the fact that HAN SOLO IS LIKE 29 DAMN YEARS OLD, says that he’s Seen It All, Kid, but nothing that makes him think the Force could be real. I know, I know, he’ll eat these words later several times over, but LOL. Honestly. Sure, Solo, you are so wise and learned. Thanks for adding your sage wisdom to the mix here.

Recurring Theme: Skywalker-Kenobi Reaction Faces

Luke, for his part, does not look impressed and puts that Classic Pouty Annoyed Skywalker Face on full display as he side-eyes Han.
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AND OBI-WAN. OH MY GOD, OBI-WAN. THIS GUY. He is just sitting there, quietly smirking away to himself. I love him so much and I just want you all to know for the seven-hundred-thousandth time.
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Just so we’re all clear: someone tried to disdain something important to Obi-Wan, and the Skywalker Reaction in the room was to pout while Obi-Wan smirked to himself. Yep. Sounds about right, except that Anakin probably would have been like “I’LL FIGHT YOU. NO, WAIT: LET’S RACE.” Because you totally know Anakin would never ever stand for Solo’s bragging about his piloting prowess AND his smarting off to Obi-Wan. Someone would absolutely end up in the hospital.

The very best part of all of this is that Obi-Wan’s ENTIRE REACTION is just to smile. He doesn’t even LOOK at Han OR make any comments whatsoever. God, what an icon. He tells Luke to try it again, and I love, love, love that Han is like “…??” in the background. Yes, Han: Obi-Wan Kenobi decidedly does not give one single fuck what you think about the Force, honey.
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Obi-Wan hands Luke a helmet with a blast shield and Luke immediately is like WUT?! I can’t see anything how am I supposed to it’s impossible OMG OBI-WAN HELP and Obi-Wan simply states that his eyes can deceive him: so don’t trust them! (Kenobi, you might want to consider who you’re talking to and throw in that literally EVERYTHING can deceive him. I think Anakin once got duped by his own shadow.)
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Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Putting It Lightly

Luke turns on the saber (which looks like a different color for a THIRD TIME, hahaha,) and after a little encouragement, he successfully blocks the shots! Wow! It’s like Luke is gonna be a Jedi or something! Obi-Wan looks pleased with himself and is like “See? You can do it!” Awwww. These two.

Han, annoyed that no one is paying attention to him and his entertainingly ’70s unbuttoned shirt again, chimes in that he thinks it was just dumb luck. Obi-Wan, in one of the greatest understatements he’s ever expressed — and keep in mind this man has thrown out some REAL doozies in his lifetime — says that in his experience, there’s “no such thing as luck.” (So very true, Kenobi — at least as far as GOOD luck is concerned.)

Recurring Theme: Recycled Dialogue

Han announces that they’re coming up on Alderaan and heads for the cockpit. As Obi-Wan and Luke follow him, Luke pauses to tell Obi-Wan that he thinks he really DID feel something just now! Obi-Wan, trying out a line he evidently liked so much he re-purposed it a zillion years later when he got called out of the actual AFTERLIFE to appear in Rey’s Force-Fueled Freakout in The Force Awakens, tells Luke he’s taken his first steps into a wider world.

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He puts his hand on Luke’s shoulder and you know what? I can’t handle these two together, like, at all. If they actually make that Kenobi movie I keep bitterly demanding every single day of my life and Luke appears in it in any way I am going to require preemptive therapy and an entire thermos of red wine to get through it.

Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Dramatic Hand-Waver
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Speaking of proteges of Obi-Wan’s who have bonded with him to the point that I can no longer handle it, we shift back to Vader standing in Death Star Conference Room C again, staring straight ahead and doing nothing while Tarkin replies to work emails on an iPad. Yes, Anakin, truly you made the right choice: look at how much FUN you get to have all the time now! With all those people you love! People like…Tarkin, a guy you’ve moderately hated since the first time you met him! And…Sheev, who sends you on assignments to Tatooine just to be an asshole!

Anyways, Tarkin and Vader’s quality time gets cut short when a guy shows up to let them know that Leia totally lied to them: the rebels had maybe used Dantooine as a base once, but it’s now abandoned. My favorite thing here is that Tarkin — who lied to Leia about how he wouldn’t blow up Alderaan — is now like SHE LIED TO US HOW DARE. Also, I’m pretty sure Vader’s line here, which is just some short thing about how he knew she’d never talk, used to be longer or more dramatic, because long after he’s done talking his hand is still waving around. Or maybe Anakin just adds a little flair to the end of all his sentences, which in fairness completely sounds like something he’d do.

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Tarkin is peeved nonetheless and calls for Leia to be terminated. Yep, Tarkin helped get Ahsoka kicked out of the Order and now he’s just chilling out with Anakin and plotting to execute his daughter. THANKS STAR WARS. Again, Anakin: bang-up job, buddy. Solid choice-making.

Recurring Theme: Surveying Anakin’s Latest Carnage

The Falcon, meanwhile, arrives at its destination. Except…well, the place they were trying to get to is kind of…gone? And appears to have been replaced with leftover glitter from New Year’s Eve, which is flying all around outside the ship while stagehands rock the set back and forth.
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Han is like “buh…?” and as he does, Obi-Wan and Luke arrive to join them up front. Luke is like WTF IS GOING ON WHERE’S ALDERAAN? while Han is like this doesn’t make any sense! and LOL for days that Obi-Wan has this look on his face like “…well, shit.”

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What the hell did that little bastard do this time?

He immediately informs the boys that Alderaan has clearly been destroyed by the Empire. Han is like NUH UH, the entire Imperial FLEET couldn’t have done THAT. So…what DOES Han think happened, then? Alderaan just exploded on its own?

Recurring Theme: Superweaponry

Eventually they catch sight of a TIE fighter and, presuming it initially to be a lost ship that got separated from a convoy, Han starts to pursue it to blow it up. At this point, they notice that it is heading for a teeny tiny, er, “moon” in the distance and that is when Obi-Wan is like “…well, shit. Again.”

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He announces to the group that “that’s no moon”, it’s actually that thing he nearly caught sight of the plans for that one time a million years ago but then he got distracted because he ended up having to fight for his life in an arena full of space monsters and robots and a bounty hunter until THE CLONE ARMY BUILT FROM THAT BOUNTY HUNTER’S DNA SHOWED UP TO RESCUE OBI-WAN AND HIS FRIENDS AND THEN THE CLONE WARS STARTED AND ALSO ONE TIME HE DID AN OBSTACLE COURSE INSIDE COUNT DOOKU’S GIANT RUBIK’S CUBE WHILE DISGUISED AS A BOUNTY HUNTER GOD CAN I JUST TELL YOU ALL HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS ABSURD NONSENSE? Oh my Lord. Star Wars, you guys. Star Wars. What a wild and completely ludicrous ride it’s all been.
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Luke declares that He Has a Very Bad Feeling About This in accordance with Star Wars Law, and Obi-Wan, comically, tells Han insistently to “turn the ship around”. What’s that, Kenobes? After all these years are you actually a little bit nervous to see your bae again? Don’t worry, Anakin is going to be so much less prepared than you are. And at any rate, they can’t turn around: they’re being pulled in by the Death Star! DUN DUN DUUUUUN!
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Han tries to fend off the Evil, but Obi-Wan advises him that he can’t win: but there are alternatives to fighting! Like what? Sassing people to death? Turning into the Force just to fuck with someone’s mind? I mean, I guess this guy knows it works.
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So the Falcon arrives in one of the Death Star Parking Spaces, and a whole welcoming committee of Stormtroopers arrive to greet them. Tarkin, still in Conference Room C, is informed that this ship came from Mos Eisley, etc, and Vader is like HUH: so maybe this is someone working with the Rebellion! Maybe the Princess will be of use to us yet! I like how as far as Vader knows, the fact that Tatooine was involved here is just a huge shitty coincidence and yet another reason to hate sand.

Recurring Theme: My Boyfriend’s Back

Vader arrives to check things out in the hangar bay, where he’s informed that there’s no one on board the Falcon: the logs show that the crew bailed out.
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Anakin tilts his head at the sky as he barks out a few more orders about searching the ship, but he seems a wee bit distracted. And who can blame him, really, when Menace to Society Obi-Wan Kenobi is involved? Yes, that’s right folks: a handsome disturbance in the Force has been detected once again: a presence Anakin hasn’t felt since he parted ways with the remainder of his limbs. He takes off to what I can only imagine was an emergency helmet buffing and a brief stop in his quarters to change into his fanciest cape while internally squeeing because OMG OMG OMG it’s HIIIIIIMM he’s here he’s here he’s heeerrreee!!

Recurring Theme: The Sneak-In
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Our friends, as it turns out, have avoided detection by hiding under the floorboards of the Falcon, and Han Solo Has a Lot of Opinions About This Plan. Obi-Wan tells him to let him take care of disabling the tractor beam so that our pals can get away, and Han calls him a “damn fool”. Without missing a beat, Obi-Wan snarkily asks who the bigger fool is: the fool, or the fool who follows him? Is this another drag on Anakin? LOL.

Recurring Theme: Person In A Trooper Uniform Is Not A Trooper

The gang devises a ruse to lure in a couple of stormtroopers, whom they dispose of and use to steal their uniforms as disguises. I love that everyone’s outfits always fit the person who steals them perfectly. Sure, that is likely.

They make their way into a control room of sorts, and after taking care of the Imperials in there, pull up the specs on this here Death Star so that Obi-Wan can figure out where he needs to go to deactivate the tractor beam so that the Falcon can escape. As he reviews the plans, he makes a Face of Concern and announces that he’ll have to go it alone.
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Recurring Theme: The Skywalkers Really, Really Love Obi-Wan Kenobi

Guess who doesn’t want Ben to go without him? If you guessed “someone with Anakin Skywalker’s clingy DNA”, you are correct. Luke instantly is like NO BEN WAIT NOT WITHOUT MEEEE and Obi-Wan pretty much gives him the face you give a 3-year-old on the verge of a meltdown, all but SHUSHING him and patting his head. He tells Luke that Luke needs to focus on getting the Death Star plans into the right hands. As for Obi-Wan? Well, his destiny involves really sticking it to Anakin Skywalker on his way out of this mortal coil. (…I know some of you are snickering. I didn’t mean it like that.) (Mostly.)
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Ahem. SO: Old Ben opens the door as he heads out, and he lovingly looks at Luke. Luke, the baby he shuttled all the way to the middle of nowhere on the worst, most hopeless day of his life. Luke, the person he devoted the past two decades of his life to. Luke, who he bothered staying alive for, who he wrote that depressing journal for, who he saved from pirates that one time…you get the point.
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It’s time for them to say goodbye now. GUYS: Obi-Wan was the first person to hold him. HE LOVES LUKE SO MUCH. He gently and with a faint smile tells Luke that the Force will be with him, always, and he leaves. Luke watches as he departs, and I figure that on THAT emotional note, it’s time to stick a fork in this entry: we’re done for now!

Join me next time, when Leia discovers that her rescuers need a lot of help themselves, Obi-Wan pulls off one last day-saving and Anakin Skywalker, as always, truly doesn’t know what he’s in for in so many ways.