In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Leia refers to Obi-Wan as her only 'hope', but he later dies in the movie at the hands of Darth Vader. However, before he dies he had already brought Luke into the whole equation, who I am gonna assume was the 'new hope'.

But in Rogue One, after being handed the Death Atar plans, Leia again refers to the Death Star plans as hope.

So who or what exactly was the new hope — Obi Wan, Luke or the Death Star plans?

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    Some scientists are now saying that people can say "hope" at different times in reference to different things. Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 11:30
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    The Star Wars Book is pretty unambiguous on the subject; i.sstatic.net/C6PB0.png
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 12:26
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    The new official canon novelisation for the movie is somewhat more circumspect; <br>"The princess, the scoundrel, the farm boy. The senator, the smuggler, the dreamer. The Rebel leader, the captain, the pilot. More than what they believed of themselves. More than what others saw of them. And, together, a new hope for the future.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 12:27
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    The Return of the Jedi radio play is quite specific; Luke: I can't kill my own father. BEN: Then the Emperor has already won. You were our new hope, our only hope.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 12:31
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    @shanu: Sure. As you say, Rogue One shows us that the Death Star plans aren't quite new within A New Hope — they'd already made their way to Leia just before the movie started. And Ben Kenobi isn't new in any sense of the word. There's only one truly new thing in the whole movie, and that's the medals at the end. No-one got a single shiny medal in the entire damn Clone Wars, but blow up one Death Star and it's medals for almost everyone. So I think it's clear that the true new hope — for the rebellion, and for all of us — is gamification. Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


The subtitles of both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi are each interpretable in two ways. (In the case of Jedi, there are both the return of the Jedi order from extinction, with Luke's declaration of victory; then shortly thereafter comes the return of one individual Jedi, Anakin Skywalker, from the Dark Side. The name of Revenge of the Sith—modeled after that of Return of the Jedi potentially features the same double meaning of single versus collective.) With Episode IV, the two hopes that appear are Luke Skywalker and the events of the film—particularly the climactic destruction of the Death Star.

The more obvious one is Luke, who joins the Rebellion, achieves the destruction of the Death Star, and is clearly tapped to become a future Jedi knight. In both Episode V and Episode VI, Obi-Wan (incorrectly—and Yoda contradicts Kenobi in both cases) states that Luke is the only hope of the Jedi order—and thus for the galactic civilization itself. However, the whole framework of the first movie is that the Rebel Alliance is on the verge on a titanic breakthrough in their battle against the Empire. According to the opening scroll, the rebels have just won their first battle against the Empire, and the plans stolen during the battle are described as: "the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy."

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