There’s so much to go into with this scene, I love it!
My main thoughts:
- The first time we see a woman leader within the rebellion other than Leia.
- Han and Lando have really progressed in their character arc.
- Leia is sensing Luke more and more, tuning into the Force.
- This is a turning point for the Rebellion.
1) I never cared about Mon Mothma when I was younger. I hated the way she said, “Many Bothans died to bring us this information”. I found that line halting and weird…so it made sense not to like her character in my young mind.
Now that I’m older, I wonder why it took so long for us to see another female leader within the Rebellion. Think about it, at this point we are almost done with the entire OT. In fact, according to the webpage I use, there are a total of 235 scenes between ANH, ESB, and ROTJ, and this is the 198th scene. We are 84.25% of the way through the entire trilogy and have only seen Leia as a leading female. Okay yes, I remember she was talking to some nameless woman who had no lines in ESB, but I’m not counting that.
I’m not completely knocking Lucas. The fact that he had Leia standing equal to Luke and Han in a science fiction trilogy is, in and of itself, a great feat and I applaud him for that. But with my 21st century eyes, this trilogy is very skewed in favor of the male. Especially when we argue the case that ANH had quite a few Rebellion scenes where we could have seen some good examples of female leadership. ESB is more understandable due to the fact that it focused on the adventures our heroes went on rather than what happened with the Rebellion.
2) Han and Lando are now Generals. Think about it. That’s a huge step from where they were when we first met them. Han was a smuggler with no interest in any cause, just interested in the side that paid him the most. Lando was a pirate turned business man that stabbed our heroes in the back when he gave them over to the Empire. And now both are going into this battle with the most dangerous missions for the Rebellion, knowing they might not come out alive.
It’s good to see this character development and show how when something is worth fighting for, you are willing to risk your life for it. It’s easy to say Han was doing it all for Leia, which could be somewhat true, but what does Lando have? Regret for a stupid action he took against his friend because the Empire gave him a lot of money. He learned his lesson and knows the greater good outweighs the selfish motivation.
3) We first see Leia sensing Luke through the Force in ESB, when she turns the Falcon around to go rescue him. I wasn’t alive when the OT was released in theaters, but I wonder what fan speculation was about that? Did fans suspect her to have Force sensitivities? Did they think she was his twin?
Well, now we know by this scene that they are brother and sister, but her uncanny sensing that something deeper is going on with Luke has to be attributed to the Force. I loved reading about Leia continuing/starting her training with the Force in the EU. I remember how it had never occurred to me that Leia would train to be a Jedi…but why not?? She has some of the Force too, though she seems to lean more closely to her mother with her love for politics.
4) Not much to say on the fourth point, since it’s the most obvious, but notice how “a volley of spirited chatter erupts from the crowd” when Mothma points out that the Emperor is onboard the second Death Star. I guess this is why I call it a “turning point” for the Rebellion, and probably their greatest in the Saga. They are always fighting, but until they kill the Emperor, they are just fighting the Lernaean Hydra. So now they know if they blow up the Death Star, they kill the Empire’s leader…maybe both leaders since everyone is probably hoping Vader is on the battle station as well. Stuff just got serious.
Great scene, glad I had one that I could go into with depth. With that, I wish you all a great weekend.
EXTERIOR: SPACE – REBEL FLEET
The vast Rebel Fleet stretches as far as the eye can see. Overhead a dozen small Corellian battleships fly in formation. Fighters and battlecruisers surround the largest of the Rebel Star Cruisers, the HEADQUARTERS FRIGATE.
INTERIOR: HEADQUARTERS FRIGATE – MAIN BRIEFING ROOM
Hundreds of Rebel commanders of all races and forms are assembled in the WAR ROOM. WEDGE is among them. In the center of the room is a holographic model depicting the half-completed Imperial Death Star, the nearby Moon of Endor, and the protecting deflector shield.
MON MOTHMA, the leader of the Alliance, enters the room. She is a stern but beautiful woman in her fifties. Conferring with her are several military leaders, including GENERAL MADINE and ADMIRAL ACKBAR (a salmon-colored Mon Calamari). Lando moves through the crowd until he finds Han and Chewie, standing next to Leia and the two droids.
Han peers at Lando’s new insignia on his chest, and is amused.
HAN: Well, look at you, a general, huh?
LANDO: Oh, well, someone must have told them about my little maneuver at the battle of Taanab.
HAN: (sarcastic) Well, don’t look at me, pal. I just said you were a fair pilot. I didn’t know they were lookin’ for somebody to lead this crazy attack.
LANDO: (smiling) I’m surprised they didn’t ask you to do it.
HAN: Well, who says they didn’t. But I ain’t crazy. You’re the respectable one, remember?
Mon Mothma signals for attention, and the room falls silent.
MON MOTHMA: The Emperor has made a critical error and the time for our attack has come.
This causes a stir. Mon Mothma turns to a holographic model of the Death Star, the Endor moon and the protecting deflector shield in the center of the room.
MON MOTHMA: The data brought to us by the Bothan spies pinpoints the exact location of the Emperor’s new battle station. We also know that the weapon systems of this Death Star are not yet operational. With the Imperial Fleet spread throughout the galaxy in a vain effort to engage us, it is relatively unprotected. But most important of all, we’ve learned that the Emperor himself is personally overseeing the final stages of the construction of this Death Star.
A volley of spirited chatter erupts from the crowd. Han turns to Leia as Chewie barks his amazement.
MON MOTHMA: (cont) Many Bothans died to bring us this information. Admiral Ackbar, please.
Admiral Ackbar steps forward and points to the Death Star’s force field and the Moon of Endor.
ACKBAR: You can see here the Death Star orbiting the forest Moon of Endor. Although the weapon systems on this Death Star are not yet operational, the Death Star does have a strong defense mechanism. It is protected by an energy shield, which is generated from the nearby forest Moon of Endor. The shield must be deactivated if any attack is to be attempted. Once the shield is down, our cruisers will create a perimeter, while the fighters fly into the superstructure and attempt to knock out the main reactor.
There’s a concerned murmur.
ACKBAR: (cont) General Calrissian has volunteered to lead the fighter attack.
Han turns to Lando with a look of respect.
HAN: Good luck.
Lando nods his thanks.
HAN: You’re gonna need it.
ACKBAR: General Madine.
Madine moves center stage.
GENERAL MADINE: We have stolen a small Imperial shuttle. Disguised as a cargo ship, and using a secret Imperial code, a strike team will land on the moon and deactivate the shield generator.
The assembly begins to mumble among themselves.
THREEPIO: Sounds dangerous.
LEIA: (to Han) I wonder who they found to pull that off?
GENERAL MADINE: General Solo, is your strike team assembled?
Leia, startled, looks up at Han, surprise changing to admiration.
HAN: Uh, my team’s ready. I don’t have a command crew for the shuttle.
Chewbacca raises his hairy paw and volunteers. Han looks up at him.
HAN: Well, it’s gonna be rough, pal. I didn’t want to speak for you.
Chewie waves that off with a huge GROWL.
HAN: (smiles) That’s one.
LEIA: Uh, General… count me in.
VOICE: (OS) I’m with you, too!
They turn in that direction and peer into the crowd as there are more cheers. The commanders part, and there at the back stands Luke. Han and Leia are surprised and delighted.
Leia moves to Luke and embraces him warmly. She senses a change in him and looks into his eyes questioningly.
LEIA: What is it?
LUKE: (hesitant) Ask me again sometime.
Han, Chewie, and Lando crowd around Luke as the assembly breaks up.
LUKE: Hi, Han… Chewie.
Artoo beeps a singsong observation to a worried Threepio.
THREEPIO: “Exciting” is hardly the word I would use.