Obi-Wan Kenobi sits at the heart of the Star Wars saga. His friendship with Anakin Skywalker, role in Luke’s training in A New Hope, and adventures in The Clone Wars make him a fan favorite. It also helps that actors Sir Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor have so much charisma, which helped give the Star Wars franchise its lasting appeal. The latter has long said he would be interested in putting the Jedi robes back on for another live-action performance, and it’s finally come true, with Ewan McGregor signing on to star in an Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series on the Disney+ streaming service.
This charming and complex character surely has a lot of stories to tell. Here are some that could fill in gaps in the Star Wars saga:
Obi-Wan’s Relationship with Qui-Gon Jinn
Ewan McGregor, now 48 years old, is the perfect—really the only—choice to play Obi-Wan between the prequel trilogy and the original films. His casting provides continuity from the Old Republic, where he trained Anakin Skywalker and learned Jedi philosophy under the maverick Qui-Gon Jinn. An Obi-Wan series has a chance to show how Obi-Wan’s opinion of and relationship with his old Master changed in the decades after Qui-Gon’s death.
But even dead, Qui-Gon isn’t totally gone. He was the first Old Republic Jedi Master to discover how to live on as a Force ghost after death, and this show could display his ongoing influence. It would be nice to see Liam Neeson make an appearance with a shimmering blue aura to advise his former padawan.
The canon short story “Master and Apprentice” in the collection From A Certain Point of View shows Qui-Gon speaking to Obi-Wan from beyond the grave and providing guidance. In the novel Master & Apprentice, author Claudia Gray further detailed what was at times a rocky relationship. It had mellowed out a bit by the time of The Phantom Menace, with Obi-Wan clearly disagreeing with and loving his sometimes difficult teacher. The complexity of this relationship could be a background point in the television series.
It’s a bit of a gotcha in the Star Wars fandom: the supposedly upstanding Obi-Wan manipulated Luke Skywalker. Obi-Wan lied, used people, and carefully failed to mention Darth Vader’s true identity to Luke. In Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan’s actions are discussed in one significant conversation, where Luke confronts his old teacher’s Force ghost about hiding Darth Vader’s identity. Obi-Wan’s belief that it was Luke’s destiny to destroy the evil man Darth Vader had become sat well with some fans but not others. The television series should have a chance to show why Obi-Wan behaved as he did, whether that is explaining why he believed Vader was past saving, or showing how he gradually abandoned any hope he might once have held for Anakin’s redemption.
Luke Skywalker’s Early Life
With Obi-Wan watching over Luke Skywalker, there is a chance that the series might show the farm boy’s early years. Both characters are such powerful figures in pop culture that it seems unlikely anyone could resist creating some kind foreshadowing between the two of them. In order to preserve the canon of A New Hope, Luke and Obi-Wan can’t meet. But Luke, as well his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, knows of “Old Ben,” and Obi-Wan’s Jedi powers have filtered through Tatooine rumor until he’s known as a “wizard…a crazy old man.” Besides being a charming example of an in-universe approximation of what a Jedi is, this term also means that Obi-Wan might have used Force powers somewhere just degrees of separation from Luke.
In the Legends comic “Old Wounds”, Obi-Wan fights a resurrected Darth Maul just yards from the Lars homestead. Recent canon turned this Obi-Wan/Maul rematch into the Star Wars Rebelsepisode “Twin Suns,” which stays away from the young Skywalker. But the Obi-Wan television series still might be a chance to see how his uneventful childhood looked from the Jedi’s perspective, even at a distance.
Daily Life on Tatooine
The novel Kenobi was very close to being part of the new canon, but is in fact part of the non-canon Legends line. Published in 2013, just before the reboot of the tie-in universe, it uses the prequel films as its main point of reference rather than anything that happened in the other books. As well as showing Obi-Wan at the mid-point of his story, it also detailed the lives of human settlers and Tusken Raiders on the harsh desert planet of Tatooine.
Because the novel isn’t canon and because filmed media do not generally require tie-in reading to follow, it’s unlikely any specifics will filter through to the television show. But the tone is spot-on for what the supporting characters in an Obi-Wan TV show might be like. Tusken villagers, a bartender in the inhospitable desert, and gangsters are all part of the tapestry on Tatooine. Seeing more of the planet’s everyday life is sure to appeal to fans, especially since this was the first planet the Star Wars saga visited.
Where Are The Animated Series Jedi?
A lot has happened in the canon universe since the first rumor of an Obi-Wan TV show. Animated shows like The Clone Wars and Rebels have populated the galaxy with several Jedi from the Old Republic, including Ahsoka Tano, Kanan Jarrus, and Ezra Bridger. It’s possible that the show might simply remain loyal to the fiction that Tatooine is too far away from any other planet to be involved in any other Jedi stories. As often as the expanded universe is tempted to return to supposedly out-of-the-way planets like Tatooine, Jakku, and Batuu, neither The Clone Wars‘ Ahsoka nor Rebels‘ Kanan have canonically set foot on Tatooine. The last thing Obi-Wan wants is to get Luke tangled up in Jedi business before he’s ready, so it’s also possible that “old Ben” might have to intentionally discourage other characters from visiting.
No release date has been set for the new Obi-Wan TV series, but production is set to start in 2020.
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