To the delight of many, we aren’t finished telling stories from “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.” While some remain torn about Disney “Star Wars” spinoffs like “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett,” considering them more of a “cash grab” instead of an honest attempt to expand the “Star Wars” universe, the end of May promises a storyline that fans have been eager for since rumors of it began — an excitement that even skeptics can’t diffuse.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is a beloved character in the “Star Wars” universe, acting as Luke Skywalker’s mentor in “Star Wars: A New Hope” and appearing as a Force ghost in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” Obi-Wan, of course, also served as Anakin Skywalker’s Jedi master throughout the prequel trilogy: “The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones,” and “Revenge of the Sith.” Everyone knows the bulk of Obi-Wan’s story: As a padawan, he trained with his Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn until Jinn was murdered by Darth Maul in “Phantom Menace.” After a duel that ended with Maul cut in half, Obi-Wan took on Anakin as his padawan. From then on, they served together during the Clone Wars, fighting to bring peace to the galaxy while also forming a brotherly bond. This relationship was then severed when Anakin fell to the Dark Side and became Darth Vader.
After Anakin became Darth Vader, the rest of the Jedi were executed through Darth Sidious’ Order 66, which meant to eradicate all Jedi from the galaxy once and for all. As the only Jedi left, Obi-Wan is forced to flee and go into hiding, lest the Sith sense that he is still alive. He takes Luke, a son Anakin doesn’t know about, to Tatooine and brings him to Anakin’s remaining family: his Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen. Obi-Wan resolves to hide out there, as he knows Tatooine’s history is too painful for Darth Vader to revisit.
The period after Obi-Wan’s arrival on the planet but before the events of “A New Hope” has long been a mystery for the “Star Wars” universe. While Ryder Windham’s novel “The Life and Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi” introduced some new tales untold by the films and “The Clone Wars” TV show, they were never confirmed as canon, and much of the plot for this new series remains a mystery — aside from knowing it takes place 10 years after “Revenge of the Sith.” Viewers can also guess that a young Luke Skywalker will also make an appearance.
Ewan McGregor made audiences fall in love with his jokes and charming politeness as Obi-Wan in the prequel series and will once again reprise his role in the new series. It will be interesting to see how McGregor channels the character while drawing inspiration from Alec Guinness, who portrayed Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi in the original “Star Wars” trilogy. Other familiar faces include Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen, played by Bonnie Piesse and Joel Edgerton, respectively. And lastly, Hayden Christensen returns as Anakin, depicting Darth Vader in his early days as a Sith Lord.
In a CNET article written by Sean Keane, the writer quotes Christensen’s reaction to returning to the role: “It was such an incredible journey playing Anakin Skywalker … I’m excited to work with Ewan again. It feels good to be back.” It is always extremely exciting to see actors return to their old characters, as it is often hard to imagine the stories continuing with new faces. The series seems to promise some kind of reunion between the former comrades-in-arms, and audiences may also see the deterioration of their relationship play out in more depth compared to the movies.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) March 10, 2022
While the official trailer was only just released this month, talk of an Obi-Wan spinoff origin story had been discussed for a long time. The original plan had been for a spinoff film, like “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” which explored the origins of another beloved “Star Wars” character, Han Solo. However, with little success at the box office from “Solo,” producers were hesitant about another film and latched onto a new direction for Kenobi. With the Disney+ streaming service in place and popularity garnered through previous shows set in the “Star Wars” universe, “Obi-Wan Kenobi” is sure to deliver the storyline and excitement fans are pining for.
The premise as of now is still pretty vague, letting audiences speculate about what adventures await Obi-Wan. All that is truly known is that Kenobi is in hiding for the protection of himself and a young Luke Skywalker. The recent trailer — through the voiceover of the show’s antagonist — mentions the moral code the Jedi hold themselves to and how they are unable to separate themselves from their principles. “The key to hunting Jedi,” the voice eerily affirms, “is patience … Jedi can’t help who they are.” With this statement, audiences realize that the Empire knows there are surviving Jedi out there. One may wonder if they are just talking about Obi-Wan, or if there are other survivors of Order 66 that will be discovered. It is worth considering since Boba Fett’s first appearance in “The Mandalorian” surprised fans; many had assumed him dead after falling into the Sarlacc pit in “Return of the Jedi.” “Obi-Wan Kenobi” might do the same, rewriting part of the tragedy and all that was lost at the end of “Revenge of the Sith.”
What’s most interesting is that the new series promises more emotional impact compared to previous installments. The trailer opens with Obi-Wan speaking, saying, “The fight is done, we lost.” It’s a reasonable assumption for Obi-Wan to make, as he’s just lost his only family through the Jedi Order as well as his closest friend, Anakin, to the Dark Side. With so much destruction and sadness occurring at the end of “Revenge of the Sith,” audiences notably don’t have to think too much about the devastation that has happened because they can put on “A New Hope” right after and watch everything become, well, hopeful again.
Meanwhile, Obi-Wan is stuck on Tatooine, forced to hide his identity as a Jedi in order to keep not only himself but Luke safe. This portrayal of Obi-Wan will be rawer than ever before: Kenobi may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the horrors he’s witnessed as well as survivor’s guilt since, at this point in the series, he is the only Jedi who lived through Order 66. He is solely responsible for keeping the legacy of the Jedi alive, which is not only daunting but may feel very hopeless. Fans can hope that the series may end on a positive note, but only time will tell.
Obi-Wan’s only hope may be Luke Skywalker: his motivation for staying alive and staying on Tatooine. It’s unknown whether Obi-Wan thinks or knows that Luke is the true “chosen one” at this point, but maybe the series will show him coming to that conclusion. Either way, fans are eager to return to the universe that has been loved for so long and to learn more about one of the characters that has held their hearts over the years.