The Personal Journal of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight

A New Hope

My life has changed so dramatically that I'm no longer sure it's my life. It seems like yesterday that I was a farm boy on Tatooine and now I am a hero of countless worlds and species.

The New Republic has asked me to write down my recollections of the Galactic Civil
War, which is what the war against the Empire is now being called. I suppose it couldn't hurt so here they are: my name is Luke Skywalker, son of Anakin Skywalker and brother of Leia Skywalker once known as Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan. I am a Jedi Knight as my father once was. He fell to the Dark Side before I was born and to protect us the last remaining members of the Jedi Council decided that my sister and I should be raised apart. Leia was sent to live on the planet Alderaan and was raised as a princess. I was taken to Tatooine, a desert planet at the edge of the planets once controlled by the Old Republic and all but forgotten by the Empire. I was raised by Owen and Beru Lars whom I believed to be my aunt and uncle.

My life changed completely, however, in my eighteenth season when my uncle bought two 'droids from the Jawas we often traded with. These 'droids, C-3PO and R2-D2, had managed to escape from a ship carrying a young senator named Leia Organa who was carrying the plans for the most deadly battle station ever seen back to her father on Alderaan in the hopes that a weakness could be found. At the time I didn't know that of course. I only knew that the R2 unit was projecting a hologram of the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Over and over the same message was repeated, "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope." R2 told 3PO that he thought he could play back the entire message if I removed the restraining bolt the Jawas had put on him. I did, but it turned out to be a trick. While I was eating dinner with my aunt and uncle R2 ran away. I didn't know it at the time, but that would be the last time I would eat with my aunt and uncle. It will always haunt me that I left the table angry at my uncle. I wanted to go to the Imperial Academy to learn to be a fighter pilot and then run away and join the Rebellion like my friend Biggs was planning to do. My uncle kept making excuses about why I should wait. Now I know that he knew about what had happened to my father (I had been told that he was dead) and was trying to protect me but the Force was pushing me towards my destiny and I couldn't escape it.

The next morning 3PO and I went out in my landspeeder to search for R2. We found him in a canyon in the Jundland Wastes, a dangerous area where humans rarely went because it was near where a tribe of Tuskan Raiders lived. The Tuskan Raiders, or Sandpeople, are humanoid, no one knows what they actually look like because they wrap themselves from head to foot in bandages to protect themselves from sandstorms. All we really knew about them was that they were fierce warriors who would kill anyone who came into their territory. As soon as I found R2 I was attacked and knocked unconscious. The next thing I knew an old man was leaning over me. I recognized him at once as Ben Kenobi, an old hermit that everyone I knew was afraid of. I had always been forbidden to go near him but that day I couldn't have been happier to see him, not only because he had saved me from the Raiders but also because of the hologram. I figured old Ben might be related to the Obi-Wan Kenobi mentioned in the message. To my surprise it turned out that old Ben was Obi-Wan Kenobi. It turned out that Obi-Wan was a Jedi Knight and that he had known my father. I had always suspected that Uncle Owen had known something about my father that he never wanted to tell me so meeting someone else who had known him was very exciting. I had always been told that my father had been a freighter pilot, one of the best who ever lived but according to Obi-Wan my father had been a Jedi Knight and he had been Obi-Wan's best friend. Obi-Wan then handed me my first lightsaber and told me that it had once been my father's.

After having seen R2's message in full Obi-Wan immediately decided that he had to go immediately to Alderaan and he wanted me to go with him. I wanted to go so badly that I could taste it, but I had a responsibility to my uncle and our farm. I remember how disappointed Obi-Wan sounded as he told me, "you must do what you feel is right of course." In my heart I knew what the right thing was. I had felt my whole life that I had more of a purpose than to be a farmer on a backwater planet, but I could hear my uncle's voice telling me not to get lost in idle fantasies. The Empire, the Rebellion, they were so distant from me and my life. What could I do that would make any difference? Due to my guilt I decided to take the old man to Mos Eisley where I knew he'd be able to get transport off Tatooine.

That's when my life was truly changed forever. As we crested a sand dune we saw the smoking wreckage of a Jawa Sandcrawler. It appeared to have been attacked by Tuskan Raiders but I knew that they rarely attacked vehicles of that size. It was Obi-Wan who realized that it couldn't have been a Raider attack and judging by the weapons that had been used that it had most likely been the work of Imperial Stormtroopers. I had a funny feeling that I recognized this Sandcrawler and then it hit me. This Sandcrawler belonged to the Jawas who had sold R2 and 3PO to my uncle and I knew that if the Stormtroopers could find the Jawas who had found the two 'droids they probably would have no trouble finding the people they had been sold to. Ignoring Obi-Wan's plea for me to wait I vaulted into my landspeeder and raced towards the homestead. I was too late. All that remained of my home were smoking ruins and the two charred skeletons of the people who had raised me. They had been burned alive as they had tried to escape the burning farmstead. That day I truly understood what evil was. I was too upset to even feel angry; all I knew was that I wanted to get as far away from Tatooine as possible. My ride back to where I had left Obi-Wan and the 'droids was nowhere near as fast as the trip I had taken to the homestead but I needed the time to think about what had happened. I knew it was time to make a decision and I knew my decision could change the course of my life. I hardly suspected at the time that it would change the fate of the galaxy or how much I would learn along the way.

When I reached the Sandcrawler again I found C-3PO piling up the bodies of the dead Jawas. Before we left we set fire to the bodies. Soon we were speeding over the dunes towards Mos Eisley, one of the few cities on Tatooine. I had only been there once when I was very young and I had forgotten how enormous it was.

At Obi-Wan's direction I stopped the landspeeder at the edge of a cliff overlooking the city. Now I know that Mos Eisley isn't a big city at all having seen many cities on many planets but at the time it took my breath away and my apprehensions increased when Obi-Wan described it as, "a hive of scum and villainy."

My heart sank when I saw the Stormtroopers standing at the entrance to the city. I had never seen Stormtroopers up close before. To a scared farm boy they were extremely intimidating. One of them began asking questions about the 'droids and there, for the first time, I saw the power of the Force as Obi-Wan convinced them to let us pass without asking any more questions.

I parked the landspeeder outside of the local cantina. As we walked into the bar Obi-Wan warned me to be careful but he needn't have bothered, one look at the tough-looking patrons had already made caution seem like a good idea. Many of the creatures here I had not only never seen (I hadn't seen most of them) but I had never even heard of most of them. Obi-Wan left me at the bar while he wandered off in search of a pilot. Being left alone increased my anxiety and that must have shown. I apparently looked like an easy target to the other bar patrons because soon I was being threatened by the ugliest human I had ever seen and his companion. Suddenly a beam of white-blue light appeared out of nowhere and the arm that had been reaching towards me suddenly dropped to the floor. I was expecting blood but neither Obi-Wan's blade nor my father's seemed to give off any heat the wound appeared to be instantly cauterized. And Obi-Wan: I had never seen anyone move with his speed and grace. Judging by how quickly people turned back to their own conversations and drinks fights were fairly common. It did surprise me that no one reacted to the lightsaber until I remembered the Stormtrooper. I never got around to asking him but I believe that he simply managed to block the image of the lightsaber out of people's minds.

Obi-Wan had managed find us a pilot. I didn't like him from the first moment I saw him. It's interesting that he ended up becoming one of my best friends. When I first saw him I had him pegged as arrogant and condescending. His co-pilot took me by surprise as well; I had heard of Wookies but had never seen one before. He was the most intimidating being I had ever met: eight feet tall, heavily muscled and possessed of a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. The arrogant pilot was called Han Solo and his partner was called Chewbacca. They owned a ship called the Millenium Falcon and agreed to fly us to Alderaan for what I thought was an outrageous fee. I started to protest but Obi-Wan agreed to Solo's price. Solo told us where his ship was docked and then warned us to leave quickly, two Stormtroopers seemed to be asking questions of the bar patrons and Obi-Wan and I both knew that the object of their search was probably us.

After leaving the bar quietly by a side door Obi-Wan and I collected my landspeeder and found a group of Jawas we could sell it to since I wouldn't need it anymore and we would need the money to pay Solo. We collected the money and headed toward the docking bays.

The ship was another surprise. After Solo's bragging I had been expecting a new ship, not the scrap heap that was resting on the sand. I had my misgivings but Obi-Wan didn't seem at all worried so I tried to appear as calm as he did. I don't think that I succeeded. I was just about to voice some of my objections when a bright red blaster bolt whizzed past my head effectively distracting me. Solo pulled his blaster out of its holster and started firing at the Stormtroopers who were firing at us. Obi-Wan, the two 'droids and I boarded the ship as quickly as we could and rushed to strap ourselves into the cockpit.

I had never been in a real spaceship before and even though I was very frightened there was an element of excitement as well. My excitement was magnified in Solo's face; he looked positively gleeful at the prospect of a good fight. As the nose of the Falcon rose towards the clear blue sky I felt a rush of excitement I had never known before. It felt like I was meant to do this. Part of me felt like grabbing the controls away from Solo and flying myself. This thrilling thought was rapidly replaced by fear when I saw gleaming bulk of an Imperial Star Destroyer blocking our escape route.

I had never imagined a ship could be that big. I had heard stories of course, but no story could ever have prepared me for this…a ship that looked like it was the size of a city. It bristled with guns. Suddenly what we were doing looked like suicide. I couldn't imagine how we were going to make it out of this alive. I looked over at Solo and for the first time saw something other than a smug grin on his face. He didn't look scared, though now that I know him better I know that he was terrified, to me his expression looked like one of mild concern. This was the first time I was acquainted with one of the Falcon's many quirks, namely that it tends to not want to work when you really need it to. Han was trying to get the hyperdrive to work and it wasn't cooperating. Just when it looked like we were going to be blasted into space debris the ship decided to work. Suddenly the stars seemed to explode around us in a burst of light. We had done it!

Once we were safely in hyperspace Obi-Wan told me that it was time I learned how to use my lightsaber. He retrieved some drones for me to practice on and put a helmet on my head that blocked out all of my vision. I didn't see how I was expected to fight like this and my skepticism was borne out when a low-level bolt of energy hit me in the leg. Obi-Wan ignored my anger and told me to feel the Force. I took a deep breath and raised the lightsaber again. Suddenly I could "see" not just the drone but everything in the cabin. I felt as though I was connected to everything in the universe. Then I suddenly felt a shift in energy from the drone and I realized it was about to fire. I quickly raised my lightsaber and deflected the bolt of energy. I pulled the helmet off and could feel my face splitting into an enormous grin. Solo, of course, had to make a snide remark about how he didn't believe in the Force. But I knew what I had felt and it was the most amazing thing ever.

Suddenly Obi-Wan seemed to experience a feeling of profound weakness. His eyes became unfocused, as if he were looking at something far away. I grabbed his arm and helped him sit down. He looked at me and told me what had happened, his words sent chills down my spine, "it was as if thousands of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced."

Solo scoffed and we all headed into the cockpit because we were going to be dropping out of hyperspace soon. We dropped out of hyperspace in the right place according to the Falcon's instruments but where there was supposed to have been a planet there was an asteroid field. Alderaan was conspicuously absent. Before we had time to absorb the disappearance of an entire planet a TIE Fighter came streaking from behind us. Considering we were in the middle of nowhere the presence of a TIE Fighter was a little disconcerting because they are not long-range fighters.

Then we saw it. The Death Star. A huge grey sphere that looked like a small moon, and the TIE was headed right for it. Han did manage to destroy the TIE but in the process got us too close and we were grabbed by the Death Star's tractor beam. It turned out to be a good thing that Solo was a smuggler because we were able to hide in the well-hidden cargo holds under the floor. As we hid Solo and Obi-Wan devised a plan. Solo knew enough about Imperial procedures to know that they would send a few technicians to investigate the ship. So we lay in wait for them, knocked them out, and then Han called for assistance from the two Stormtroopers standing guard outside. We quickly subdued them and Han and I put their uniforms on.

Unfortunately the technicians in the control room overlooking the hangar quickly realized that the two Stormtroopers weren't at their posts. Han decided to pretend that his transmitter was broken while the rest of us went up to ambush whoever was in the control room. As soon as we had gained control of the room R2 plugged himself into a computer terminal and brought up the locations of the tractor beam controls. Obi-Wan decided to go disable the tractor beam on his own. At the time I didn't understand why he would go off on his own like that. Looking back I think there were two reasons: the first was that he knew that Vader knew he was on the Death Star and knew that it was inevitable that they meet and fight and the second reason was that he knew that he could be more helpful to me once he had become one with the Force.

Solo made his feelings quite clear when he called Obi-Wan a "crazy old fool." I quickly jumped to Obi-Wan's defense but to be perfectly honest I agreed with Han. I've never told him that… and I probably never will. Han has a big enough head as it is.

So Obi-Wan left and Han immediately declared that he was bored. Never in my life have I ever met a man who has less tolerance for waiting. That turned out to be a classic example of "be careful what you wish for" because R2 suddenly started beeping wildly. It turned out that he had found Princess Leia and learned that she was scheduled to be executed. I did want to find her and save her life because I had the feeling that she was very important to the Rebels, but I had also fallen in love with her. I had learned a lot about Solo in a short period of time and managed to convince him to help me by mentioning that she was a princess and could probably pay him a hefty reward. His boredom and his greed finally prompted him to finally agree to help me fid her.

I found a pair of restraints lying on one of the control panels surrounding us and came up with a plan. I grabbed the restraints and moved towards Chewbacca, only to jump back when he growled at me, exposing a mouthful of sharp teeth. Fortunately Han had caught onto my plan and convinced Chewie to let him put the restraints on. Han and I then grabbed our blasters and put our Stormtrooper helmets back on. We then told the 'droids to stay in the control room and walked into the corridor flanking Chewbacca as though he were a prisoner. Han and I headed towards the detention area. The station was huge and we walked down long corridors made of grey plasteel filled with Stormtroopers, technicians and 'droids. Because of Chewbacca people gave us a wide berth, so there wasn't much chance of discovery.

We managed to make it to the turbolift that would take us to the detention center. I suddenly realized that this was the craziest plan that I had ever come up with but we couldn't turn back now. The turbolift stopped and the door opened to reveal several Imperial soldiers who looked up at us. Han told the story that we had made up: that we were transferring a prisoner from one of the other detention block. Unfortunately, Imperial soldiers are trained to follow procedures to the letter. The officer in charge decided to check with the authorities at the cell block that we said we were bringing Chewbacca from. Before we had headed down to the detention area and in the turbolift Han had loosened the wrist bindings on Chewbacca. Chewbacca now ripped the bindings off and went berserk. Han and I began shooting, hitting Imperial soldiers, security cameras and communication equipment. Han headed towards a console and found out which cell the princess was in. I quickly headed down the corridor- a narrow hall between two rows of grey cell doors. Eventually I found the cell I was looking for and opened it. As the door slid up I saw the princess in the flesh for the first time, and my breath caught in my lungs.