“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”
Leia Organa’s simple but desperate plea sparked the adventure that changed the lives of herself Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Han Solo, R2-D2, and C-3PO forever. That call to heroism and message of hope landed R2-D2 onto Tatooine, placed the little droid in Luke’s care, and eventually brought the young Skywalker face-to-face with his protector, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Their journey — at least in Star Wars: A New Hope — concluded with the Death Star’s destruction.
Still, I can’t help but be a bit troubled by this line. It’s semantics, of course, but the idea of one person being the only hope is something that Star Wars has shown us, time and time again, isn’t the case. No journey is ever accomplished without the collective strength of many hands pulling in the same direction; no hero becomes his or her best self without the people around them — their friends, family, and allies — all doing the same.
Think about it: Luke would have never destroyed the Death Star — he likely wouldn’t have even survived the trench run — if Han hadn’t returned and clipped Vader’s TIE Advanced starfighter.
What would have become of Rey if Finn hadn’t arrived on Jakku so they could, together, fly off in the stolen Millennium Falcon?
What would Kanan be without Hera and the rest of the Ghost crew?
How would Lando have destroyed the second Death Star if the Rebels on the ground hadn’t gotten those shields down? These are just a few examples that work to deprogram the idea of the lone savior and reinforce a simple maxim: We’re better when we’re together.
For the rag tag band of reluctant rebels, Rogue One, there is, arguably, no central hero. In the final act, every character – Jyn, Cassian, K-2SO, Bodhi, Chirrut, and Baze — all played an equally vital role in obtaining the Death Star plans. Remove one link in the chain and the entire mission crumbles. And in their wake, the baton they passed on was more than the key to defeating the Empire. It was more, even, than a message of hope; it was the idea that, when unified — a stark contrast even to the nascent Rebellion, whose leaders couldn’t bring themselves to a consensus even in the face of the dire emergency Jyn presented them with — there’s nothing that can’t be accomplished.
Even Luke, who’s at times emblematic of the lone savior, came to doubt the idea of a single person achieving a monumental victory, regardless of how powerful he or she may be. When Rey found him on Ahch-To, pleading for his help in saving the Resistance, he responded with a sneer. “You think what, I’m going to walk out with a laser sword and face down the whole First Order?”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in fact, actively shines a light on empowering the collective over the messiah; amongst other things, it told a story that couldn’t be truer to Star Wars, that anyone — from a dedicated mechanic to a stable boy — could be every bit the hero that Luke Skywalker is.
Star Wars is, thoroughly, a hero’s journey story. There’s no denying that. From Luke to Rey, Leia to Ezra, it tells the story of remarkable people looking to become more than they are and then going on a journey that changes their lives. But along the way, they make friends, they become something bigger than themselves. And incorporating the people around them into their own personal journeys, they achieve more than they ever could have alone. And, better still, they inspire others to do the same.
Michael Moreci is a comics writer and novelist best known for his sci-fi trilogy Roche Limit. His debut novel, Black Star Renegades, was released in January 2018. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelMoreci.
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