Star Wars Resistance creator Dave Filoni wanted to make Leia Organa the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Disney’s sequel trilogy.
Filoni’s idea was published in The Art of The Rise of Skywalker that went on sale at the end of March.
As first covered at Disney Star Wars Is Dumb, the book features a discussion between Lucasfilm executive director Doug Chiang, Dave Filoni, Pablo Hidalgo, John Knoll, and Kiri Hart.
It begins with Chiang wondering, “Since these three films are a female-driven story, where’s Leia in Episodes VIII and IX? As Luke’s twin, she should have the Force. Maybe she’s the nurturing character that overcomes the final evil. Maybe that’s the thing we are missing.”
Hidalgo adds, “I could imagine her being the one thing to break through to our villain.”
Filoni then adds his own opinion, “Oh, I love that. I love too that I look back down this table and we are presided over by Padme [a Daniel E. Greene oil paining of Padme Admidala, female lead of the Star Wars prequel trilogy and Leia’s mother]. There’s a powerful idea there about this matriarchy coming back and subverting what has always been dominantly patriarchal in male heroes: Zeus, Hercules, and everything else.”
He adds, “What happens with Kylo and what he does to his father is, structurally, not a redeemable act. There’s no coming back from that, the way he does it currently. But I’ve never seen the mother figure try to do it. And maybe she could.”
The conversation continues with Knoll referencing a line from Empire Strikes Back, “The super-intriguing setup in Empire, ‘That boy is our only hope.’ ‘No, there is another.’ I felt cheated in Jedi that this really didn’t go anywhere. But maybe Yoda is really talking about what happens with Leia in VIII, thirty years in the future.”
Filoni then reveals his idea to make Leia the Obi-Wan Kenobi of the sequel trilogy, “I love that. We should shift it so Leia is the Obi-Wan of this entire trilogy. I don’t even think it hurts that she’s not primarily the mentor figure in VII because, like John had been saying, the audience expectation is so on Luke.”
He continues, “And when that proves not to be true, it’s way more powerful. It’s dangerous because it makes it so about the women of Star Wars. Something to me says that’s right.”
Filoni then goes on to detail that this idea could also relate to global warming, “There is something happening culturally. You look at birth, regeneration, the world itself needing healing: All of those things are emblematic of the ‘mother’ character in myth. They are all matriarchal things – Mother Earth itself, global warming is a hot topic.”
He adds, “George [Lucas] was always so good at tapping into what’s happening in culture. And he hits us with it. The idea that we have Leia, a mother character who needs healing in her own right – that’s something we can get into in a deeper way.”
YouTuber Drunk3PO responded to Filoni’s comments saying, “In my own personal belief it might have worked if they had done it correctly. But we live in this time where Disney wanted a quick fix. They wanted a quick fix for all of this. And the only way they that they could quick fix it was destroy all the characters that were already built up.”
He adds, “If they wanted a female driven lead they could have done it without destroying the characters that we love.”
Based on the excerpt, seen below, it appears the conversation took place following The Force Awakens, but before The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. Given the events of The Rise of Skywalker, it appears Abrams took Filoni’s idea and ran with it as far as he could, with Leia acting as a guide and mentor to Rey, and even reaching out to Kylo Ren and snapping him out of the Dark Side.
The idea as Drunk3PO notes isn’t terrible. It was just poorly executed in a film that was all about convenience, and notably contradicts the events of The Force Awakens.
In The Force Awakens Leia was the general leading the Resistance against The First Order. She’s the character who sends Rey to find Luke. If she wanted to take Rey under her wing, she more than likely wouldn’t have sent her out to Luke.
So, yes the idea could have been a good one if it was part of the initial concept for the trilogy, but the idea doesn’t really make sense given the events of The Force Awakens. And as we found out, it didn’t work in The Rise of Skywalker.
You can see the excerpt from the The Art of The Rise of Skywalker below:
What do you make of Filoni’s comments?