“Hidden, safe the children must be kept…split up they should be”
This is how Yoda explains his plan to hide Luke and Leia’s existence from Their father Anakin Skywalker, and his Sith master, The Emperor. It’s a sound plan, but there’s a few places it could have gone horribly wrong…let’s examine one of these possible downsides in a ‘what if’ scenario, drawing on what we now know about the final confrontation between Maul and Kenobi in Season 3 of Rebels.
Bail Organa volunteers to take Leia with him to Alderaan, to be raised in luxury as a princess, while Obi-Wan takes Luke back to Tattooine to ‘surprise’ Owen and Beru with their new adopted son. Leia is raised in the royal household, trained in diplomacy and eventually in rebellion becoming a critical element in the founding of the Rebel alliance as seen in Rebels and Rogue One. Luke however is raised by Owen and Beru to farm moisture – whatever that means, and is basically a male version of Cinderella, wishing not to go to the ball, but instead to escape Tattooines heat and dust and go somewhere, anywhere more adventurous.
We know Obi-Wan has been watching over Luke to keep him safe and presumably was planning on eventually slipping a note under Luke’s door announcing his destiny to become a Jedi. But what if Maul had been faster with his Saber, and Kenobi had died instead? At the end of Rogue One Princess Leia would not have been sent to look for Kenobi, perhaps she would have run to Alderaan to try and go into hiding on her homeworld, perhaps she would have flown straight to Yavin 4, either way she would not have been anywhere near Tattooine.
If she wasn’t near Tattooine, the droids would not have come looking for Obi-Wan, Luke would not have stumbled on the recorded call for help and he would have most likely joined the Imperial academy or been trapped forever, working on his Uncles farm. Would Yoda then have to scrub twenty years of Dagobah swamp-gunk off his little spaceship and go drop in on Luke like a shorter version of E.T. and break the news to him he was late for Jedi school? I think it more likely the death of Obi-Wan would force Yoda to contact Bail and tell him to send Leia to Dagobah to begin her training when she was in her teens.
So if Yoda had to fall back on Plan ‘B’, Star Wars would look very different indeed. A fully trained Jedi would have been on-board the Tantive IV to face Vader at the end of Rogue One or to escape in the pod on the way to collecting Luke when the ship was boarded. Leia would then either train Luke herself throughout the movies, or take him to Dagobah for Yoda to train while she got on with Rebelling.
I don’t think plan ‘B’ would have been a great start to the Star Wars universe, not as good as the hero’s journey George Lucas gave us in 1977. Would that movie have even been made with a female protagonist in the 70’s? If it was, would it have succeeded as gloriously as the original trilogy? Personally I’m glad Master Yoda has proven to be as lucky as he is wise, and Plan ‘B’ will remain an unwritten episode of the Star Wars story.