Why Did Leia Seek Out Obiwan Kenobi Now?

As I was falling asleep last night, after having watched a Star Wars Rebels, I had a sudden thought: Why now? The new movie Rogue One will end where Star Wars: A New Hope begins, with the delivery of the Death Star plans.

But my question is this: Why was Princess Leia delivering the plans to Obiwan Kenobi. From the trailer for Rogue One, it’s very clear that it is the Rebellion, lead by Mon Mothma, who sends Jyn Erso and her team to retrieve the Death Star plans. So why aren’t the plans delivered back to Mon Mothma? At the beginning of A New Hope, Leia’s ship—which was presumably at the battle where the plans were stolen—is racing back to Alderaan. As the opening crawl writes:

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the Death Star, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy…

So, intercepted by the Imperial Star Destroyer, Leia instead makes for Tatooine. Why? In her hologram, she tells Obiwan that she was sent by Bail Organa to get him to help in the Rebellion.

General Kenobi, years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars. Now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire. I regret that I am unable to present my father’s request to you in person, but my ship has fallen under attack and I’m afraid my mission to bring you to Alderaan has failed. I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit. My father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.

And thus my question:

Why now?

Update: Having watched Rogue One after writing this, my question has been answered to some degree, but not completely.

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What about Luke Skywalker?

One year ago, Entertainment Weekly printed an interview with Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams four months ahead of the movies release, and asked him why he decided to make this film. Here’s my summary of what he said at the time:

One question was enough to overcome J.J. Abrams reluctance to do Star Wars: Who is Luke Skywalker? Who did he become? Was there more to him in the original trilogy than we saw?

Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote the script and wrote Empire and Jedi, said writing for these characters who’ve aged the same 30 years he has, revealed to him that age doesn’t bring wisdom necessarily, just experience.

This should be good.

”But those four words — Who is Luke Skywalker? — created a disturbance in the Force for Abrams. After all these years, we thought we knew him, but what if there was more to that Tatooine farmboy? Or… what if there was less? The answer could alter not just how audiences look at the original trilogy, but the arc of a planned universe that now tallies at least five more upcoming films.”

Having seen the film, we all know now that Luke was in it for a total of about 30 seconds at the very end and didn’t say a word. And we know that J.J. isn’t directing the next movie in the trilogy. So, in what way did The Force Awakens answer those questions?

Perhaps the answer comes in what TFA has set up for the next two movies and in the characters we meet for the first time: Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo. Perhaps one or more of those characters have already begun to reveal the “more to that Tatooine farmboy”, a revelation that will become very obvious in the films to come.

The First Star Wars: Rogue One Trailer

In some ways, the biggest test of the new Star Wars movie revival wasn’t going to be The Force Awakens. The hype was so intense and the expectations so high–because of pent-up demand, the involvement of J.J. Abrams, the return of beloved characters, the failure of the prequels–that it almost couldn’t help but be big success. (Although, to be clear, it was a great movie on its own.)

No, the big test will be in the next movie after that, which is the first one of the so-called Anthology movies, with stories set in the same Star Wars universe, but not featuring the ongoing saga of the Skywalker family. Rogue One, set to premiere in December, is that movie.

With the drop of this first trailer, it looks like the promise is there. It’s tough to tell anything from a first trailer, although it’s a much more revealing trailer than the first TFA trailer, but it looks very promising. We have the Yavin base, Mon Mothma, the Death Star, and all the familiar look and feel of A New Hope. I think nostalgia will be a very big element of this movie too.

I’m sure I will go into obsessive details as I watch and re-watch the trailer, but a couple of thoughts: First, I believe you can hear Darth Vader’s breathing at the end, which may mean our favorite villain will be back. Second, our protagonist’s appearance in Imperial armor at the end does not necessarily mean she’s going to go “rogue” in this movie; it could simply be she goes undercover.

It’s going to be a good December.