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In the Star Wars movies we see Luke and Leia hidden and raised with two different families. As a princess, Leia is actually in the public eye whereas it seems safer to let Owen and Beru raise both Leia and Luke away from the public gaze.

So why were Luke and Leia split up and given to two different families?

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    "It will be safer to let Owen and Beru raise Princes Leia with Luke" [citation needed] If anything that would make it more dangerous and I believe that was the reason they were split up.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Oct 26, 2020 at 9:18
  • 13
    Hiding both of Padme’s children on Anakin’s home planet would be way too risky. Hiding just one of them there is definitely fine. Oct 26, 2020 at 11:47
  • 13
    @Shreedhar that’s insane. One of them has to go to a desert planet, obviously, and Jakku was... way too far away or something. Oct 26, 2020 at 13:55
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    @PaulD.Waite So that he/she could grow up hating the sand too?
    – Shreedhar
    Oct 26, 2020 at 13:57
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    @Shreedhar Obi-wan was running a grand experiment with with a desert planet being one of the controlled variables.
    – DKNguyen
    Oct 26, 2020 at 21:30

5 Answers 5

63

This is addressed in the film's official novelisation. Obi-Wan suggests that they be split up as allowing the discovery of both (at the same time) would be an intolerable error on their part.

“We should split them up,” Obi-Wan said. “Even if the Sith find one, the other may survive. I can take the boy, Master Yoda, and you take the girl. We can hide them away, keep them safe-train them as Anakin should have been trained-“

In the film the dialogue is reversed (Yoda suggests they be split up without explanation) but I think we can be reasonably confident that the reasoning is much the same.

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    "Master Yoda, and you take the girl. We can hide them away, keep them safe-train them as Anakin should have been trained" So they both dropped the ball regarding training!
    – Luke
    Oct 28, 2020 at 17:27
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    @Luke - Yoda interrupts and says that he thinks they shouldn't be trained and that if the force wills it, they'll be drawn to Yoda and Kenobi for support
    – Valorum
    Oct 28, 2020 at 18:06
  • @Valorum How the force wills it: Allowing Luke bring home some droids that show Luke a hologram of his hot sister which he ends up chasing to Obi-Wan, while the Empire follows the droids home and slaughters his aunt and uncle in the process.
    – DKNguyen
    Oct 29, 2020 at 18:47
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    @DKNguyen - I think it should be reasonably clear (by now) that the Living Force is a total a-hole
    – Valorum
    Oct 29, 2020 at 19:52
54

In-movie logic: Darth Vader will be looking for twins, not single children, and splitting the pair makes it more likely that one would remain free in case Darth found the other. What is less logical is that Obi-Wan selected as foster parents couples known to Anakin/Darth rather than some complete strangers. Maybe he decided that Darth would think it unlikely that he would do something that stupid.

Out-of-movie logic: When the first movie was made, George Lucas had not yet decided that Luke or Leia were siblings, nor that Darth Vader was their father. The latter was decided during the making of The Empire Strikes Back (it is not in the original script by Leigh Brackett, where a force ghost of Luke's father shows up). That the two are siblings wasn't decided until the making of Return of the Jedi - when Obi-Wan says to Yoda, "Remember, there is another" in TESB, Lucas had not yet decided who that "other" was.

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    Did Anakin/Vader ever actually find out Padme was pregnant with twins though?
    – Liath
    Oct 26, 2020 at 11:38
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    Out-of-movie logic is also that a discarded plot-line from ANH was that Owen and Beru Lars was in no way related to Luke or Anakin, but rather he was Obi-Wan's brother and did him a solid by raising the kid. The retcon of having Anakin from Tatooine and making Owen his step-brother is a bit of a ham-fisted insertion, IMHO. Oct 26, 2020 at 18:11
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    "something that stupid". You mean, like keeping Anakin family name and call the boy Skywalker? Oct 27, 2020 at 7:27
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    @EricDuminil: Maybe "Skywalker" is as common a name on Tattooine as "Smith" is in the US. :-) Oct 27, 2020 at 8:25
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    Luke Starkiller. (Originally, the hero of the very first Star Wars movie was supposed to be Anakin Starkiller, and Luke Skywalker was an elderly general). Oct 27, 2020 at 12:42
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Because they wanted to avoid the Sith sensing their presence

Remember, Anakin was born off the Force; his powers were not what the Jedi expected to be. Qui-Gon even says that Anakin's midi-chlorian count is more than that of Master Yoda.

OBI-WAN : Even Master Yoda doesn't have a midi-chlorian count that high!

... [later]

QUI-GON : A boy... his cells have the highest concentration of midi-chlorians I have seen in a life form. It is possible he was conceived by the midi-chlorians.
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

Yoda, after the birth of the twins suggests to split them up because of the very same reason. He thinks that the twins might attract much more attention together due to the affinity to the Force. And at the same time, if one is discovered, the other is still safe. As Obi-Wan Kenobi says,

YODA: Hidden, safe, the children must be kept.

OBI-WAN: We must take them somewhere the Sith will not sense their presence.

YODA: Hmm. Split up, they should be.
Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith

As to why Leia (and not Luke) was taken to Alderaan, Senator Organa requests so.

BAIL ORGANA: My wife and I will take the girl. We've always talked of adopting a baby girl. She will be loved with us.

OBI-WAN: And what of the boy?

YODA: To Tatooine. To his family, send him.

OBI-WAN: I will take the child and watch over him.
Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith

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    Honestly we really didn't need a reminder of midi-chlorians, but unfortunately it is canon.
    – Nelson
    Oct 27, 2020 at 6:48
  • "Anakin was born off the Force". As one not steeped in Star Wars lore, can you explain to me what "off the Force" means?
    – FreeMan
    Mar 29 at 16:01
10

As other answers have pointed out already, the goal of splitting up the children was to reduce the chances of their discovery.

This also played a key role in the future, because Darth Vader eventually discovered he had a son, which led him to interrogate Commodex Tahn, the doctor who prepared Padmé's body for burial. Tahn took the secret of the second child to his grave, and until episode 6 only Yoda, Obi Wan, and Bail knew Luke and Leia were siblings. Vader didn't find out about Leia until he read Luke's emotions through the force, and Luke himself didn't know until after confronting Obi Wan's ghost.

https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Commodex_Tahn

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  • "until episode 6 no one other than Yoda" ... And Obi-wan and Senator Bail Organa, no?
    – Luke
    Oct 28, 2020 at 17:24
  • @Luke, that's fair. I have edited the answer accordingly.
    – Benjamin
    Oct 28, 2020 at 18:50
  • It actually doubles the chances of their discovery, but it halves the chances of their both being discovered. ;) Oct 28, 2020 at 19:16
  • @AsteroidsWithWings: Well, having them both together might make them more noticeable because of Force BS; there have been indications (at least in legacy materials, haven't kept up post-Disney) that it's easier to find groups of powerful Force users than to find individuals (and similarly, easier to hide individuals), thus why the surviving Jedi were living apart from one another (despite being aware of each other's survival). Now, why they thought a great place to leave one of them was with Vader's only surviving family is open to question. Seems kind of an obvious place to look. Oct 28, 2020 at 19:42
  • @ShadowRanger - Good point, but then it makes little sense for Obi-Wan to be physically nearby Luke. You would think they're combined Force essence would more easily picked up by the Emperor's force "radar".
    – Luke
    Oct 28, 2020 at 21:31
-1

the main reason they were split was to mask their presence and the reason luke was sent to Tatooine was that Vader/Anakin had too many bad memories associated with that place as qui gon's force ghost suggested that Obi-Wan hide on Tatooine for the same reason

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. This idea appears to have already been presented in one of the existing answers, along with a quote to support it. You should only add a new answer when you have something to add that hasn't already been covered by existing answers.
    – DavidW
    Mar 29 at 15:05

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