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When Luke rescues Leia from her cell on the Death Star:

Leia: Aren't you a little short to be a stormtrooper?
Luke: Huh? Oh, the uniform. I'm Luke Skywalker. I'm here to rescue you.
Leia: You're who?
Luke: I'm here to rescue you. I've got your R2 unit, I'm here with Ben Kenobi!
Leia: Ben Kenobi, where is he?!
Luke: Come on!"

How does Princess Leia know Obi-Wan Kenobi is "Ben" Kenobi?
Shouldn't her response have been: "Ben Kenobi? You mean the General??"

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I'm curious too -- it seems to me Leia ought to have known of Kenobi only by "Obi-Wan," unless there's EU material I haven't read. –  Codes with Hammer Jun 23 at 15:49
    
Out-of-universe, I suspect this is just a script goof. In-universe, maybe Kenobi told Bail Organa he planned to live under the name "Ben", and Bail passed this information on to Leia? –  Royal Canadian Bandit Jun 23 at 15:57
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I never got the impression that "Ben" was really a big secret name or anything. More like a shorter name that Obi-Wan was known by from time to time. If Obi-Wan was really living in hiding, the thing to change would have ben Kenobi. –  joshbirk Jun 23 at 16:00
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@joshbirk "the thing to change would have ben Kenobi" +1 for the homophonic pun –  coburne Jun 23 at 19:56
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"Ben" is the standard shortening of "Obi-Wan" just as "Dick" is the shortening of "Richard". Royalty are expected to remember names and drop into using casual names immediately to appear to be in touch with 'normal people'. Some guy goes around calling himself "Dick Van Dyke The Jedi Knight" you don't go around getting confused whether its "Richard" or "Dick". She sent a message in her R2 to him asking for help. She wouldn't need a PhD in forensics to make a good guess which Kenobi was in on her prison break. Plus she is a looker so old Kenobi would insisted "Please call me Ben". Its obvious. –  simbo1905 Jun 23 at 20:44

3 Answers 3

up vote 16 down vote accepted

The prequels make it clear that Obi-Wan and Bail Organa know each other. Each of them took responsibility for one of the two Skywalker twins. While it isn't overtly stated, it is clear that Bail knew where Obi-Wan was and how to reach him. This information he gave to Leia when he sent her to retrieve Obi-Wan. This would certainly include the name by which he was living under.

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  • Leia specifically sent R2 with a message for Obi-Wan Kenobi ("You served with my father in clone wars..." and the rest of the holographic message addressing him).

  • Kenobi doesn't appear to be as common a surname as "Smith" is on Earth

  • Ben isn't that far off removed from Obi-Wan.

As such, "I've got your R2 unit, I'm here with Ben Kenobi" doesn't leave a lot of widely varied options as to WHICH Kenobi - connected to Leia's R2 unit - Luke is talking about.

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Plus her father probably called him "Ben". –  Cees Timmerman Jun 24 at 9:42
    
Why do you say he probably called him "ben"? I don't recall anybody ever calling him Ben in the original trilogy so the idea that somebody would probably call him Ben seems strange to me... –  Chris Jun 24 at 12:33
    
@Chris Other than the direct original trilogy quote in the question? Or did you mean the prequel trilogy? –  Yamikuronue Jun 24 at 13:27
    
Sorry, I did mean the prequel trilogy, my bad. I assumed he took the name ben when he got to Tatooine. Though god knows why he bothered when he didn't change his last name... :) –  Chris Jun 24 at 13:33

An earlier version of the script makes it pretty clear that a primary part of Leia's mission was to make contact with Obi Wan Kenobi and return with him to Alderaan.

PRINCESS LEIA :

General Obi-wan Kenobi, I present myself in the name of the royal family of Alderaan, and the Alliance to restore the Republic I break your solitude at the bidding of my father Bail Antillies, Viceroy and Chairman of the Alderaan system. Years ago Commander you served the Republic in the Clone Wars. Now he begs you to aid us again in our most desperate hours. He would have you join him on our home planet Alderaan.

You must go to him! I regret I am unable to present my father's request to you in person ... my mission to return with you has failed, information vital to the survival of the Alliance has been placed in this droid...my father will know how to retrieve it. I plead with you to see this R-2 unit safely delivered to Alderaan. You must help me, you are my last hope.

Since she apparently knows that he's not dead, and since she's in a position to make contact with him on Tattooine, there's no reason to think that she wouldn't know his assumed name as well.

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