Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (Part VI)
Well then! Ready to bring a saga movie in for another happy landing? I can’t entirely believe that I’ve covered two Star Wars movies in full now, but then again if I’ve learned one thing about myself, it is to never question my dedication to wasting my time on fandom nonsense, so, I suppose it’s actually pretty unsurprising.
Last time we joined our friends back in George Lucas Presents: A Mere Taste of The Craziness That Awaits Us, Luke and the gang had gotten pulled onto Death Star I (“There’ll Never Be Another Superweapon Like It Except For All Those Other Times“). While on board, they’d “rescued” Princess Leia, done a lot of yelling and dramatic running-around, and Obi-Wan and Anakin reunited for one last round of meaningful looks at each other before Obi-Wan had decided that he had finally had enough of Anakin’s bullshit and had just up and turned himself into the Force, leaving (of course) a robe behind on the floor. Well, at least they stayed consistent right up until the end.
So, that’s where today’s final installment picks up. Will the young heroes of the rebellion win the day? Will Tarkin get any more time to savor having blown up one of his work frenemies, or will the bitchy ghost of Orson Krennic exact his revenge? Will Anakin figure anything out, or will this episode literally end with him being like, “Waaaaaait a minute…” before hurtling out into space? (All right, I think we all already know that most installments of Star Wars end with Anakin more confused than he was before.) Let’s get this done!
Let Me Blow Your Mind One Last Time
Moments after Luke, horrified, witnesses what for MOST intents and purposes was the assassination of his Jedi mentor of the past several days, Obi-Wan “Infinite Sadness” Kenobi, the kids start making a break for it. Han and Leia do a bunch of feisty shouting and calling for Luke to get in the Falcon.
While this is happening, Vader takes a moment to digest the fact that Obi-Wan appears to have not only died, but to have physically disappeared into another dimension. And let me tell you something I love about this bit: when this movie was made, there really wasn’t any reason to think that Vader hadn’t seen someone do this before when they died. Like, for all we knew, that was just what happened when a Jedi died, so Vader walking over there and tapping the Pile O’ Robe with his foot just seems kind of mildly amusing but not entirely noteworthy.
With the backstory we have now, though, it’s so much better (as usual.) We pretty much know for sure that Vader had never seen this happen before when someone died. Which means Kenobi showed up out of the clear blue sky after nearly twenty goddamn years, only to literally DISAPPEAR INTO THIN FUCKING AIR right in front of Anakin’s face. And his reaction — hahahaha, it’s seriously so great — is to cautiously pad his way over to Obi-Wan’s robe puddle and every so gently TAP IT WITH HIS FOOT. Like it’s a potentially dangerous animal. Like Obi-Wan might still reappear at any moment and give Vader the Maul Treatment. THIS IS SO PERFECT. Anakin WOULD be so completely and utterly confused by this: why was Obi-Wan even here, really, in the first place? Just to save Leia? What did he really want? Why hadn’t they crossed paths before? Who are these other kids he’s running around with? And most importantly, WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED RIGHT NOW AND WHERE DID OBI-WAN GO?
Anakin Skywalker, Maybe Starting To Wonder If He Backed The Wrong Horse
You guys: please recall that Anakin Skywalker turned to the Dark Side as part of his plan to search for a way to cheat death. And Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, his betrayed ex-boyfriend, showed up and demonstrated physically sublimating into the Force, which we will later learn allowed him to live forever as a ghost, right in front of Anakin’s face. I mean…I love this. I LOVE IT. And having Vader tiptoeing around Obi-Wan’s robe like the Universe’s Most Confused Doofus (which he IS), instead of him just striding away without a care, is just so incredibly perfect. You can’t tell me there was NO part of Vader that went back to his Lava Castle Bacta Tank after all of this and wondered, if only for the most fleeting moment, whether he’d been wrong about pretty much absolutely everything this whole time.
OK OK, I swear I am done talking about these two again for at least the next couple paragraphs. (Wait, no, I lied, one more thing: that robe? And Obi-Wan’s lightsaber? Yeah, there is a zero percent chance that Vader did not take both of those things with him after the door closes just now. If Anakin’s saber can reappear a zillion years later after being chucked into an abyss with what appears to be absolutely no attempt on behalf of the writers to explain it, then there’s no way Obi-Wan’s lightsaber is just gone forever. If we make it out of the Sequel Trilogy without it doing a cameo, I’ll be disappointed.)
Recurring Theme: Last-Minute Escape From The Clutches of Doom
Thanks to Luke blasting Vader’s door shut in his face (which, LOL, Vader is moving SO goddamn slow towards the door it sort of comes off like Vader didn’t even really want to fight anyone,) the Kids have a chance to all jump into the Falcon and make their great escape, unencumbered by the tractor beam thanks to the Late Great Ben Kenobi.
Han and Chewie take the helm as the gang starts making its way away from the Death Star.
Recurring Theme: No One Loves Obi-Wan As Much As The Skywalkers
Luke, however, is not exactly in a celebratory mood despite the fact that they’ve safely gotten away from Ultimate Evil’s Cruise Ship. No, he’s too busy sadly staring into space and thinking about how much he loves Obi-Wan. Well, that’s something that never happens in Star Wars!
Leia sweetly comes over to Luke and throws a blanket over his shoulders while he laments that he can’t believe Obi-Wan’s gone (good, Luke, because you shouldn’t, because he’s not.) Leia offers him sympathy and assures him that there was nothing Luke could have done to save him and just…can I please remind us all that LEIA’S ENTIRE HOME PLANET AND HER WHOLE FAMILY (minus the evil dad and mystery twin she doesn’t know she has yet) WERE BLOWN TO SMITHEREENS LIKE 45 MINUTES AGO?! AND Luke’s de facto parents were SET ON FIRE just before he left Tatooine? And yet the thing that seems to be bringing these two down right now more than anything IS OBI-WAN BEING DEAD? Leia literally never got to speak to Old Ben, so she knows him only from whatever presumably hilarious stories Bail Organa told her about him from the Clone Wars, and while Obi-Wan was a little bit more active in Luke’s life, it’s not exactly like Owen was inviting Obi-Wan over for Sunday dinner on a regular basis. This is just…so entertaining. WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THIS FAMILY AND OBI-WAN, YOU GUYS. WHY ARE THEY SO INVESTED IN HIM (I know why, and I know you all do too, but STILL.)
Deploy The 70s Hair!
Aaaaaaanyways, Han runs into the room and is like “OK that is enough Kenobi Wallowing, buddy, time to shoot at some bad guys!” and with that, Leia heads for the cockpit while Han and Luke, armed with their 70s Dreamboat Hair, take up arms.
After some tangling with the bad guys that I won’t bother recapping in detail because, well, you guys all know the pew-pew-pew particulars, they emerge victorious and everyone is all cute and smiley and huggy. Awww:
George Lucas, Kinda My Hero
Lest you forget for even a moment that the guy who wrote this script and therefore gave birth to this delightful franchise of nonsense was a nerd after my own heart, I’d like you all to take a moment to read how George Lucas describes the Falcon’s escape into hyperspace after their victory here:
Yeah. I really, really think you and I understand each other, George. Bless you, you enormous dweeb.
Darth Vader, Is Not Gonna Miss This Guy
Back on the Death Star, Tarkin is whining at Anakin about how he sure HOPES Vader is right about there being an active homing beacon on the Falcon, because he’s taking an awful risk by trusting in Vader.
I’m sorry, but these two are cracking me up just by standing there.
Leia Organa, Smarter Than Her Dad And Also Han Solo But Really Are We Surprised About Either of These Things
On board the newly-free Falcon, Han is all obnoxiously swaggering around the cockpit fishing for compliments about how great his escape was — he amazes even himself!
Leia, hilariously, counters that she’s sure that’s not a thing that’s hard to do. LOL. Better still, she’s already figured out why they got away so easily: yes, Leia has already figured out her evil dad’s homing beacon plan. Ha! So in two sentences, Leia has thoroughly burned Han Solo AND deduced Anakin’s Brilliant Plan. God, she is the best.
Han’s entire argument against the Falcon being tracked is “not this ship, sister.” SOLO. What does this even MEAN? The Falcon was docked on the Death Star for FAR more than the amount of time you’d need to chuck a homing beacon on it. Obi-Wan literally pulls off sticking one to the Slave I in Attack of the Clones in a half a second as the ship is flying away.
Han Solo, Reluctant Day-Saver
Leia, annoyed, is like “well at least we have Artoo and his Super Special Data intact” (which, OMG LIKE NO SHIT SO MANY PEOPLE DIED GETTING THAT DATA *sobs*) and Han, equally peeved, is like “what is so freaking special about whatever’s on that droid?” Leia explains to Han and anyone else who is unfamiliar with the plot of Rogue One that Artoo’s got the plans for the Death Star! Hopefully they’ll be able to find that weakness that Galen Erso threw in there as his final Fuck You to Orson Krennic! (Man, everyone’s getting in a final middle finger from beyond the grave to some guy they used to work with in this movie!) Leia announces that it’s not over yet! (Correct, Ms. Organa. AND IT NEVER WILL BE. UGH.)
Anakin Skywalker, Donator of Genes
Han snots back: hey, it’s over for ME! I’m Just a Smuggler and Not Some Rebel and Give Me My Money Already! Leia is like OH BELIEVE ME BUDDY, I WILL ABSOLUTELY PAY YOU TO GO AWAY.
Luke arrives at this moment, and Leia is like “YOUR FRIEND REALLY SUCKS BTW” as she stomps off, yelling about how she wonders if Han cares about anyone or anything. Luke, looking worried, entertainingly offers to her retreating figure a totally sincere “…I care!” So, the Skywalker Twins literally just embodied both of the main aspects of their father’s personality here: yelling about how they’re mad at people, while also caring very deeply. Man, it was all right there in front of our faces all this time.
So then Luke asks Han what he thinks of Leia, really, and Han is all “pfft I don’t even wanna talk about this” and Luke is all GOOD because, y’know, maybe Luke might be interested (Luke, honey, no!)…and at this Han is like BUT WAIT I MEAN MAYBE LIKE...whaddya think? A Princess and a guy like me…? And Luke, instantly, shuts him down. LOL. Everything in Star Wars always gets funnier the more material they throw at it. The best part is that Han agrees with me, finding this entire exchange highly amusing:
Yavin It Up
And so the gang arrives on Yavin, at the Secret Rebel Base of Much Fame. They ride around on glorified golf carts and Leia gets right down to business, refusing to take more than a moment to discuss how her home planet had been destroyed along with her parents and everything she grew up with. This girl might have been raised by Bail and Breha and be related to Anakin and Padme, but she sure suppresses horrible things happening to her in a way that would make her Uncle Obi-Wan proud.
So the Rebellion hooks Artoo up to a giant garden hose to get to the data that all of this *waves arms around* has been building towards. And thankfully, there the plans are on a Very High Tech Screen!
As this happens, of course, the Empire’s shown up to crash the party because Leia was right and they had been tracking them. Tarkin and Vader, back in the conference room again, take a call letting them know that they’re approaching Yavin.
Recurring Theme: Everything Is Bad But There Is One Extremely Small Chance We Can Fix It
And so, for the first but ABSOLUTELY not the last time in Star Wars History, the heroes are faced with the rundown of Many Reasons Why Them Prevailing Is A Longshot.
Dodonna brings up the Death Star plans and, more or less, explains that the thing has oooooonnnee eensy weensy fault: if they go on a Star Wars Patented Trench Run and make an Impossible Shot, they’ll set off a chain reaction and blow up the reactor and turn the Death Star into a REALLY expensive failed project.
Oh no: there is no way to make a hit like that! They should just give up! Luke, a Gigantic Dork Just In Case I’ve Never Mentioned That, throws out a SUPER nerdy line about how he used to “bull’s-eye womp rats” back home in his T-16 Skyhopper (which now only ever makes me think about the Star Wars comic where Obi-Wan buys Luke parts for his Skyhopper and it causes all kinds of drama and NOW I’M SAD AGAIN,) and those weren’t much bigger! It’s not an impossible shot! Anything is possible! Believe in our dreams! I’m Luke Skywalker and I’m Here to Rescue Us! The Rebels head off to try to prevail Against Impossible Odds.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Drama Queen
The Death Star, meanwhile, is still out there lurking as befits the creeps that inhabit it. As they get closer to the Rrrrebel Base, Anakin Skywalker, the BIGGEST DRAMATIC DORK OF ALL TIME EVER, says the following line:
- I love that he includes “the end of Kenobi” as something that like, the GALAXY AT LARGE would know or care about. I mean, for one thing, everyone in the galaxy has amnesia, so evidently no one remembers the Jedi, so I don’t know why anyone would care, and for another thing, I’m sure Sheev already told everyone that the Jedi were all killed like a zillion years ago now, so this isn’t going to be news the Empire shares on a Galactic Scale. So essentially Vader is just proclaiming that this is going to be a day “long remembered” FOR HIMSELF. Like we ever thought there was a chance he’d forget a day he got to see Obi-Wan.
Recurring Theme: Bromantic Farewell
As Luke prepares to take off, Han is like WELP, have fun killing yourself, kid! I’m off to go dump a sack of cash off at Jabba’s house before I end up dead What With The Smuggling And All. Luke is all AW GEEZ HAN YOU’RE REALLY JUST GONNA GO AND NOT EVEN KISS ME GOODBYE????
Han insists that this is it, kid. Sure. He smiles meaningfully at Luke (what is it with the Skywalkers and their boyfriends?) as Han wishes him a Force-be-with-you.
Chewie gives Han some shit about this as they head off to totally not end up coming right back.
Recurring Theme: FOR GOD’S SAKE SKYWALKER GET IT TOGETHER
Leia goes to send Luke on his way, and Luke laments that he really thought that Han would change his mind. Leia sagely tells him that Han has to figure out shit for himself, and not half a second later, Luke proclaims that he just wishes Obi-Wan was here. OH MY GOD. LUKE. ANAKIN. GET A HOLD OF YOURSELVES. These two seriously spend SO MUCH OF THE SAGA TALKING ABOUT OBI-WAN. It is not going to dissipate like even a little now that Obi-Wan ISN’T EVEN ALIVE ANYMORE, too.
Behold Leia’s face. Girl, you best get used to this nonsense.
At any rate, Luke doesn’t get to wallow too much here because oh hey! Another of Luke’s buddies is here — his pal Biggs from Tatooine with whom he had a lot more dialogue until it got cut!
Luke and Anakin and R2-D2: The Most Enduring Love of Star Wars
Artoo gets lowered into Luke’s X-Wing and Luke is all AWWW golly Artoo and I have been through So Much together and OH GOD I can never handle any of this because Artoo HAS been through SO MUCH with LUKE’S PARENTS already and then he went and found Obi-Wan and then he and Luke have Adventures and now God only knows what kind of insanity awaits him and Old Hermit Luke.
Recurring Theme: Trench Run!
OK, so, obviously I am not about to take you all beat-by-beat through the destruction of Death Star I. I presume that if you’re reading this you’ve seen Star Wars eleventy billion times already, so let’s cover some highlights.
Luke and his fellow pilots suit up and get to business:
Leia watches worriedly from the rebel base:
Anakin Skywalker eventually can’t help himself and gets in the mix, which is probably a good thing because if he’d stayed on the Death Star he’d have died and we’d have been robbed of both Additional Skywalker Family Pathos AND a chance to listen to Vader keep blathering on about Obi-Wan in the films and comics for years after this.
Tarkin, in one of the most AMAZING STAR WARS VILLAIN LINES EVER (God, this movie is an absolute GOLD MINE of these things,) says this when he’s advised that they might wanna get the hell off the Death Star:
Luke spends a whole bunch of time chatting with Wedge, a guy who A) got recruited by Sabine Wren back in this episode of Rebels, and who B) is played by Ewan McGregor’s Actual Uncle, a random thing I tend to forget about but which is somehow the kind of “everything is connected” thing that Star Wars deserves.
Eventually Biggs takes one for the Rebellion, as do several of Luke’s fellow X-wingers, and Vader’s in hot pursuit in his TIE fighter. Everyone looks ridiculous in this scene — the pilots all shift back and forth like they’re riding a horse, and Vader keeps like…twisting a knob? I don’t even know WTF he’s doing in there. I assume Wookieepedia has a long explanation, but whatever.
Fiiiinally Vader ends up tracking Luke and he’s like “WAIT WHOA THIS GUY HAS THE FORCE WTF” and Luke gets a ghostly pop-in from Obi-Wan’s disembodied voice, telling him to use the Force and blahblahblah, so Luke decides to stop using his computer and let his feelings guide him (note to actual pilots: please do not do this in general on any flight I am on unless we are in very extenuating circumstances. Even if you think you’re being spoken to by the ghost of a Space Wizard. Or, perhaps especially if you think you’re being spoken to by the ghost of a Space Wizard.)
So then Han rolls up at the last second and Vader gets sent comedically hurtling off into space, all but shaking his fists at the Meddling Kids who Foiled His Plans:
…and Luke makes the Impossible Shot, and Death Star I takes an appropriately dramatic final bow:
Recurring Theme: Let’s Do The Mega-Happy Ending!
Luke lands and, despite the fact that A LOT of his fellow pilots just rejoined the Force, is ecstatic as he jumps out of his X-wing to applause and jubilation. Luke…might need to speak to a grief counselor after all of this because he has been all over the map in this film.
He joyfully embraces Leia, then Han, and then all three of them basically jump up and down and smile and cheer. Awww. I am still kinda bitter that we never got an Original Trilogy Trio Reunion Hug in the Sequels. We were honestly robbed, and I’m not even being sarcastic.
Recurring Theme: Let’s Get The Cast Together For Curtain Call
THEN, in our final scene, the Rebellion gets together to honor Luke and Han and Chewie and the droids for being such good Good Guys and for making the sacrifice of all those people who died back in Rogue One worth it (THANK GOD because seriously how much of a bummer would it have been if they’d tried to read Artoo and gotten a “deathstar.pdf is corrupt and cannot be opened” message?)
Leia, looking like she’s officiating at Luke and Han’s wedding, stands up and gives the boys medals and then everyone beams at each other and The Day Is Saved! For Now! Kind of!
…aaaand with that, the Very First Iris Wipe Ever is on the scene to swoosh us out of this episode!
So, what do you know? I just recapped all of Star Wars, Episode 4 for you all! Aren’t you proud of me? WELL, AREN’T YOU?!
With that, going forward we’ll be bouncing back to our already-in-progress recapping of Attack of the Clones, and from there, well, who knows? There’s still so much saga wackiness I haven’t gotten to yet. I hope you’ll join me for more soon — thanks for reading!