More from Steven Ellis’s ongoing translations of R2’s bleeps and whistles
STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE (Part III)
INTERIOR: KENOBI’S DWELLING The small, Spartan hovel is cluttered with desert junk but still manages to radiate an air of time-worn comfort and security. Luke is in one corner repairing Threepio’s arm, as old Ben sits thinking .
LUKE: No, my father didn’t fight in the wars. He was a navigator on a spice freighter.
BEN: That’s what your uncle told you. He didn’t hold with your father’s ideals. Thought he should have stayed here and not gotten involved.
ARTOO: Tell him the truth Obi! That’ll be good. Tell him about you trying to teach him to be a Jedi. Tell him how that ended… Tell him about that big fight you guys had! Limbs flying everywhere… Burnt bits of Anakin all over the place…
LUKE: You fought in the Clone Wars?
BEN: Yes, I was once a Jedi Knight the same as your father.
LUKE: I wish I’d known him.
ARTOO: No you don’t, he was a prat.
BEN: He was the best star-pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior. I understand you’ve become quite a good pilot yourself. And he was a good friend. Which reminds me…
ARTOO: No, he wasn’t you liar! He was an OK pod racer. He couldn’t fly a space ship for toffee. I did all the hard work at Naboo. “Ohh, let’s try spinning!” my metal arse! And he was a moany, whiney little brat who never listened. And he went off the handle murdering kids for no good reason! And you weren’t “good friends” at all! You guys bickered all the bloody time! And look how the “friendship” ended up!
Ben gets up and goes to a chest where he rummages around.
BEN: I have something here for you. Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn’t allow it.
ARTOO: No he didn’t! I’m pretty sure Anakin would have preferred to keep the sword, and the hand he was holding it in!
BEN: He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damned-fool idealistic crusade like your father did.
ARTOO: Not really surprising though? He met Anakin once and got a droid stolen off him. Then you dump a baby in his lap and bugger off for years. Trust me Luke: you’re better off walking away right now!
THREEPIO: Sir, if you’ll not be needing me, I’ll close down for awhile.
ARTOO: Oooh, the stolen property speaks…
LUKE: Sure, go ahead . Ben hands Luke something .
LUKE: What is it?
BEN: Your father’s lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster.
Luke pushes a button on the handle. A long beam shoots out about four feet and flickers there. The light plays across the ceiling.
ARTOO: Hey Luke, don’t trust this guy, he chopped off all your dad’s limbs to get that there glowy sword!
BEN: An elegant weapon for a more civilised time. For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times; before the Empire.
Luke hasn’t really been listening.
LUKE: How did my father die?
BEN: A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. He betrayed and murdered your father. Now the Jedi are all but extinct. Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force.
ARTOO: You bloody liar! Luke, your dad’s not dead; your dad is Darth Bloody Vader! Ben here chopped all his arms and legs off and let him burn half to death, then he stole that lightsaber, and then abandoned your dad to die! I mean I know Annie was a moany, spoiled brat, but you can kind of understand why he’s been off murdering folks ever since.
LUKE: The Force?
BEN: Well, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.
ARTOO: Don’t mention midichlorians! Everybody drops off at the mere mention of a midichlorian!
BEN: Now, (turning to Artoo) let’s see if we can’t figure out what you are, my little friend. And where you come from.
ARTOO: You know who I am, and I told you why I’m here. His sister needs help with the mess you helped create 20 years ago. You know, that evil Empire, galaxy wide regime of oppression and death… The fight you ran away and hid from in the desert. All that stuff.
LUKE: I saw part of the message he was…
ARTOO: Alright, here’s the bloody message.
Luke is cut short as the recorded image of the beautiful young Rebel princess is projected from Artoo’s face.
BEN: I seem to have found it.
ARTOO: You haven’t found it! I’m letting you bloody see it! Stop trying to big yourself up you old charlatan.
Luke stops his work as the lovely girl’s image flickers before his eyes.
ARTOO: Obi? You want to tell Luke exactly who it is he’s drooling over?
LEIA: General Kenobi, years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars. Now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire. I regret that I am unable to present my father’s request to you in person but my ship has fallen under attack and I’m afraid my mission to bring you to Alderaan has failed. I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit. My father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.
ARTOO: Obi, tell him who that is. Go on! I dare you!
BEN: You must learn the ways of the Force if you’re to come with me to Alderaan.
ARTOO: Oh, no he doesn’t, look what happened to all your Force user friends. Look what happened to Luke’s dad! You want to stay well away from the Force, Luke, I tell ya.
LUKE: (laughing) Alderaan? I’m not going to Alderaan. I’ve got to go home. It’s late. I’m in for it as it is.
BEN: I need your help, Luke. She needs your help. I’m getting too old for this sort of thing.
ARTOO: You’ve had almost 20 years to do something about this whole mess, only now you get off your arse! For God’s sake…