This Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi article contains spoilers.
Obi-Wan Kenobi not only brings back two of the most important characters from the Original Trilogy, it’s also an embarrassment of riches for Prequel Trilogy fans who have longed to see the franchise pay tribute to the Star Wars galaxy of the early 2000s. At last, we have Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen sharing the screen once again, this time trading lightsaber blows on opposite sides of the battlefield. In episode 3, the Jedi Master and Sith Lord finally come face to face after 10 years, and the reunion is anything but heartwarming. Unless you count Vader literally lighting his old master on fire…
But McGregor and Christensen aren’t the only two major Prequel blasts from the pasts featured in the series. Last week, for example, the show featured a Temuera Morrison cameo, putting the Jango and Boba Fett actor in clone trooper armor for the very first time — despite being the face of all clones since 2002’s Attack of the Clones (the “magic” of CGI, am I right?).
“Part III” brings in two more major Prequel era callbacks that likely made Star Wars fans who grew up in the 2000s jump off their couches in excitement. Here’s what these references might mean for the show and the Star Wars canon timeline going forward:
Obi-Wan is shocked to learn that one of the Jedi fugitives who’ve passed through the safe house on Mapuzo is Quinlan Vos, the Kiffar Jedi Master who first appeared as an extra in The Phantom Menace in 1999 (you can spot him sitting at a table watching Anakin as he walks down a Mos Espa street), but is best known for his appearances in The Clone Wars and Dark Horse’s Clone Wars comics from the now non-canon Legends continuity. In fact, it’s in the pages of Star Wars: Republic by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema where he became popular as one of the comic’s central stars opposite mainstays like Obi-Wan and Anakin.
Unlike Obi-Wan’s more virtuous Jedi Knight, Quinlan was known for being more morally gray, which made him the perfect candidate for a secret mission to assassinate Count Dooku during the height of the Clone Wars. But regardless of whether you’re reading his canon or Legends adventures, Quinlan time trying to infiltrate Dooku’s inner circle within the Separatists led to the Jedi falling to the dark side and instead serving Darth Tyranus against the Republic. Fortunately, both versions of Quinlan’s story see him return to the light. In the canon novel Dark Disciple by Christie Golden, Quinlan is driven back to the light after former Sith apprentice and badass bounty hunter (and Vos’ lover) Asajj Ventress sacrifices herself to save him from a killing blow from Dooku.
As the behind-the-scenes story goes, George Lucas was so captivated by Quinlan’s unique design and story that he planned to include the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith, including in his own Order 66 scene. The production went as far as creating animatics for the scene, but it was ultimately cut. But Quinlan is still referenced in a line from Obi-Wan to Anakin in the movie: “Master Vos moved his troops to Boz Pity.”
Later bits of lore place Quinlan on Kashyyyk after his victory on Boz Pity, fighting alongside Master Yoda right up until Order 66 and the start of the Jedi Purge. His whereabouts during the reign of the Empire largely remained a mystery until Obi-Wan Kenobi revealed Quinlan has been working for the Star Wars universe’s version of the Underground Railroad, helping Force-sensitive children escape the Inquisitors.
But does name dropping Quinlan in episode 3 mean he’s bound to make an appearance on the show before the end? It’s hard to say, but fans have been theorizing Obi-Wan Kenobi will feature at least one other Jedi Knight due to just how many classic Jedi the series has referenced in just three episodes, including Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn, as well as Legends heroes like Corran Horn and Valin Halcyon. If we have to guess, the cameo will come in the form of Liam Neeson playing Qui-Gon’s Force ghost, but now that we know which other Jedi are still out there, anything could happen in the final three episodes of the series.
There is a very good chance we will visit Jabiim next week. Fans of classic Clone Wars tie-in comics should know this planet well. After all, in the Legends timeline, it was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the galactic conflict. The forces of the Republic and the Separatists converged on the rain-soaked planet during a local civil war in order to secure Jabiimi resources — whichever side won would get control of the planet’s vital mining operation.
Obi-Wan, his padawan Anakin, and dark side rogue Asajj Ventress all converged on the planet during the battle in the early days of the Clone Wars. While a fast-paced offensive quickly allowed the Republic to gain territory, a counter-offensive led by Ventress and local general Alto Stratus saw the clone army suffer massive casualties, and even Obi-Wan was thought to have been killed, leaving Anakin to fend for himself.
With Obi-Wan gone (he’d actually been captured by Ventress and imprisoned on another planet), it was Anakin who led the Republic’s last stand on Jabiim with the remaining clone troopers and a group of padawans, holding out long enough for the surviving forces to evacuate. The battle ended in a victory for the Separatists and a major setback for the Republic.
Of course, all of this backstory was wiped away after Disney bought Star Wars in 2012. In other words, we don’t actually know whether any Clone Wars battles happened here in the new canon. Surely, Obi-Wan would have said something along the lines of “Oh no, not there!” when Tala (Indira Varma) mentioned that was where he and Leia would be headed next.
If you want to check out the Battle of Jabiim for yourself while we wait for some answers on Obi-Wan Kenobi, track down issues 55 through 58 of Star Wars: Republic by W. Haden Blackman and Brian Ching.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is streaming now on Disney+.