This article contains spoilers for episodes 1 and 2 of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
A New Hope has always been a rough movie for Leia Organa. She is taken prisoner by the Empire, brutally interrogated for information about the Rebel base, and is then forced to watch the Empire blow up her home planet. She loses her parents and the world she has always known as home, yet she stays strong, escapes the Death Star, and helps lead the Rebellion to victory in destroying the Empire’s first Death Star.
Now Obi-Wan Kenobi is twisting the knife even further by making A New Hope even more tragic for Leia and making her strength in that story even more impressive.
Episodes 1 and 2 of Kenobi reveal that 10-year-old Leia was kidnapped at the behest of the Third Sister/Reva as a way to lure Obi-Wan out of hiding. This is not because the Third Sister knows that Leia is Anakin Skywalker’s child; it is because the Third Sister found a link between Obi-Wan and Bail Organa and she believed Obi-Wan would do anything to save Bail’s daughter.
Obi-Wan travels to the planet Daiyu in the second episode to rescue Leia, risking everything to save her. Although she doesn’t believe he is a Jedi for most of the episode, the truth becomes clear when he uses the Force to save her when she falls from a rooftop.
By the end of the episode, Leia learns to trust Obi-Wan and Obi-Wan shows how much he respects and admires her, making it clear that he thinks she is wise beyond her years and comparing her to a fearless, stubborn, leader who was an old friend of his. Leia does not know that Obi-Wan is comparing Leia to her mother Padmé Amidala, but she understands that the comparison is a compliment and a sign of respect.
All of this makes A New Hope more tragic for Leia because it means she didn’t just reach out to Obi-Wan because he was a trusted old friend of her father’s and when he died at the hands of Darth Vader, it wasn’t just the death of a Jedi who could’ve been an asset to the Rebellion.
It means that Leia lost someone who risked everything to save her when she was a child, someone who showed her respect and admiration when she was young, and the first person who showed her what it meant to be a Jedi. This is on top of all the suffering and loss that Leia endures in A New Hope.
Leia is a remarkable individual for being able to comfort Luke Skywalker and being the courageous, effective leader that she is while grappling with all of this tragedy and loss.
The events surrounding Leia and Obi-Wan in Kenobi and A New Hope add even more meaning to why Leia and Han named their son Ben, given the meaningful relationship Leia shared with the Jedi all those years ago, and she knew him as Ben when helping her on Daiyu.
Leia was already an incredibly strong character in the original trilogy. The older version of Leia in the sequel trilogy and the younger version of Leia in Obi-Wan Kenobi are proving that she is even stronger than fans realized.