Leia Hugs Kylo, Overrated Jedi, and Who Cares About the OT?
I recently listened to one of my favorite Star Wars podcasts, straight out of the Sanctuary Moon, Bright Tree Radio with Phil and Soph. This particular episode was part of their Thought Bombs series and originally aired on June 30, 2017. In Thought Bombs, thought-provoking — sometimes hypothetical — questions are raised about the Star Wars Universe. The first edition discussed the following issues:
- Does the Original Trilogy (OT) really matter to new fans?
- What if Leia confronted Kylo Ren on Starkiller base instead Han?
- Were the Jedi really all that great, or were they just part of the War Machine?
Disney has apparently found the magic solution to bring onboard new fans each and every day to Star Wars. You may have remembered a time as I do — sometime between 1983 and 1999 — where you would have done anything to get your hands on new material from the SWU. Now, however, Star Wars is everywhere. (I for one am fine with this.) We have the cartoons The Clone Wars, Rebels, and I’m definitely counting The Freemaker Adventures. We have the comic books like Darth Vader and Doctor Aphra. The number of canon books is also growing, including my favorites Bloodlines, Catalyst and Tarkin. With so much Star Wars material now at the fans’ fingertips, how much does the Original Trilogy actually matter to understanding the story?
When Phil and Soph originally posed this question, I thought to myself this is pretty cut-and-dry. Of course you need the OT to understand what Star Wars. I agree with Soph in that the OT, being the original creative masterpiece from George Lucas, is “the heartbeat of Star Wars.”
Then Soph asked, “What is your Star Wars?” This question gave me pause. So much so that I actually paused the podcast. It struck such a chord with me. She consolidated all the reasons I personally love this story into one succinct question. At first I felt a little guilty not thinking the OT was truly “required viewing” anymore, for as Phil pointed out, you don’t need to see Luke blow up the Death Star to enjoy the Darth Bane Trilogy. Or even to enjoy The Force Awakens, for that matter.
But that is what makes Star Wars so great. The movies are more than giant lasers, oversized starships, strange aliens, or even the Force. Star Wars means something uniquely different to each person who watches it. I pride myself on knowing more about the movies than anyone I know, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. If a kid just watches The Freemaker Adventures, that is his Star Wars. If a little girl only watches Forces of Destiny on YouTube, that is her Star Wars. If you only like to read the Expanded Universe novels, that is your Star Wars.
That being said, don’t feel bad if your friends will not watch the OT with you; we’ve merely taken our first steps into a larger world.
“Now for something completely different!” What would have happened if Leia traveled to Starkiller Base and confronted Kylo Ren instead of Han Solo? First off, I can’t tell you how much I love “what if” questions. Nothing gets the brain going like wondering about alternate realities. I don’t want to spoil what Phil and Soph thought, so I’ll just give you my theory.
“Ben!” she cries out from the end of the platform, tears welling up in her eyes. He slowly approaches her, both the light side and the dark tugging at his very soul. “I’m sorry,” she says, softly.
“Why should you be sorry?” he asks defiantly. “It was Ben’s father-”
“Your father,” she pauses for a moment to let those words sink in, “is only human. And he is flawed,” Leia smiles dryly, “like the rest of us.” Kylo Ren’s mother begins to use the Force ever so gently to ensure her words get through to her son. So gently in fact that he cannot sense her using it. But it works. “But I am your mother. And I bear responsibility for everything bad that has happened to you.” The two both begin to cry. Together. “I let you go. I let you go train with Luke. I didn’t tell you sooner who your grandfather truly was — both good and bad — and I should have. I should have.”
“Let me finish. I withheld things from you. I didn’t always love you the way I should have. While I was busy with the Republic and now this Resistance, I let Snoke get to you. And I…am…sorry. But it’s not too late to make things right. You, me — together. We don’t need your father,” she says with a wink. “Come home with me, and help me make things right. Starting with us.”
Light escapes the room as Starkiller Base drains the remaining energy from the nearby sun as Leia and Ben silently turn to leave. Seeing Rey and Finn atop a towering platform, Leia motions to them victoriously and the four of them quickly make their way to the Millennium Falcon.
The group safely aboard moments before the planet’s destruction, Chewie makes the jump to hyperspace. BB-8 looks up quizzically at Leia and Ben sitting alone at the dejarik table. She grasps her son’s hands, kisses his forehead, and simply says, “Thank you.”
As it turns out, my thoughts on the last topic are vast enough to warrant their own topic, so we will save that for later. But to sum up: Phil is right, Soph sounds to me like a Jedi apologist, and the Jedi are responsible for their own downfall. The end.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this review of Bright Tree Radio’s Thought Bombs. This podcast is fun, entertaining, and like I said before, thought-provoking to say the least. I’ve included the link to this podcast above, and they can also be found on iTunes, twitter, Spreaker and on PodBean.
Let us know what you think! Share this article, leave a comment, and let’s continue the conversation on twitter @StarWarsChief. And as always, may the Force be with you.Feel the Force on Social Media.
JFK historian and assassination researcher. Member of Citizens Against Political Assassinations and Assassination Archives Research Center.