|Cr: Vanity Fair|
OK so I have a myriad of feels about this photograph and I'm going to tear it down to pieces.
Because everything about this - their expressions, their body language - everything embodies what I feel and believe about the Skywalker twins and I'm not OK.
In the simplest words: they are each other's backbones.
Ever since ANH, even without knowing they are flesh and blood, Luke and Leia fell into step with each other with a natural ease you don't see anywhere else. Their interactions throughout the original trilogy are speckled with genuine affection and support and intimacy. There is an emotional and spiritual level of comfort and trust between them that they don't share with anyone else (except later Han, but even with him, it's entirely different).
And all of that is right up there, in one picture.
Look at Leia.
If you've read the TFA novelisation, you know it begins with Leia grieving over Luke's disappearance, praying for his safety and wishing more than anything for his return. She's left alone, a son fallen to the Dark Side and a husband on the run, but even then, her greatest wish is for Luke to be there.
Because throughout Star Wars - perhaps most notably in ROTJ - in times of jeopardy, Leia has always trusted her brother above anyone else. She barely realised it herself when she started looking to Luke when things became difficult, when his counsel became the first one she sought. Her trust in her brother is equal to her trust in herself, if not more - and that's saying something.
And now here he is with her finally, and she is all the more stronger for it. Just look at her, look at that fire in her eyes. Her embrace is gentle, loving, but her gaze is aflame and resplendent with strength and tenacity. Remember this is Leia who just lost her family, her husband killed by her own son against whom she is fighting; she's tired, she's heartbroken and she's hiding all her cracks and broken pieces inside her from everyone else.
But with Luke, it's like she's come alive again. There is sorrow in her eyes still, but such force, too. She draws strength from him, from her trust and faith in him, and their mutual connection with the Force and what they can achieve together.
Because with Luke, she can face anything.
And Luke ... oh, Luke. He is at peace.
Consider what little we do know about his situation in TFA: he's been hiding away from a galaxy that is reverting back to the evil he had grown up in. He's living in a hell created by his own guilt as he faces the fact that his own nephew destroyed the new generation of Jedi he was raising; that he couldn't prevent his nephew from falling to the Dark Side.
He bears responsibility for it all; he's always carried a chip the size of the galaxy on his shoulder, put there by Obi-Wan and Yoda and the fact that he's Anakin Skywalker's son and the last Jedi, and he believes he failed.
But here and now, amongst all the chaos and death and the Force that failed him and the Force he had failed, with Leia, he can feel at peace. For a moment, he can put aside the guilt and confusion and have a reprieve from the burdens destiny placed upon him.
Because Leia is the one who grounds him. She's the one he wanted to protect from the moment he saw her, a feeling that grew stronger once he realised she was his twin, but the truth even Luke knows is that Leia has protected and saved him as much as he did her. She's the one he reaches out to in his direst moments, the one he knows with absolutely certainty he can rely on. So here he is, his embrace protective, loving, and his face serene, feeling peace in the eye of a cosmic tornado.
Because with Leia, he doesn't have to shoulder the galaxy alone.
Luke and Leia are both yin-and-yang and two-peas-in-a-pod.
People often see Luke as the twin that resembles their father but carries his mother's compassion and empathy, and Leia as the twin that resembles their mother but carries her father's fire and fearlessness.
But I've always seen them as both. Luke, who has Padme's infinite kindness and understanding, bears every bit of Anakin's rage and impatience. But where his father gave in, he overcame. And Leia, who has Anakin's temperament and daring, bears Padme's benevolence and unconditional warmth. And where her mother gave up, she held on.
Luke and Leia, they keep each other grounded, these two. And I read all of that in this image alone and I'm not OK. I know where I'm going to cry when I finally watch The Last Jedi.
(I'd just like to note that my interpretation of their relationship stems not only from the films but their novelisations too, which provide greater insights into their thoughts.
Also, I've seen some people interpret that look in Leia's eyes as an indication that she might go Dark after losing Han like that. But personally I doubt it. She might have to fight against it as she struggles with Han's death, but Leia during the ending of TFA didn't read to me like that tbh. She comes across as stronger and more in-tune and in-control of her emotions. Even as she bid goodbye to Rey in TFA, she seems calmer despite her sorrow - and in the novelisation, she assures Rey that her fate won't be the same as Kylo Ren and agrees that the Resistance is doing the right thing. So I can't see Leia going Dark though her situation implies otherwise. We'll see when the film finally comes out ^_^)