This STAR WARS: OBI-WAN KENOBI article contains spoilers.
Obi-Wan Kenobi finally returns to Tatooine, but not before pitting two Star Wars greats against each other in a reference-filled finale. Darth Vader and Obi-Wan’s rematch opens up the wounds of their former friendship, while also setting them up for their future roles in the Original Trilogy.
Meanwhile, Reva heads back to the Lars homestead. While she has a big decision to make, it’s inevitable that she comes face to face with a young Luke Skywalker, played by newcomer Grant Feely. The fate of the galaxy is once again at stake!
Here are all the Star Wars references, easter eggs, and cameos we spotted in this episode…
Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine
Iam McDiarmid makes a welcome return to his Original and Prequel Trilogy role as the evil Emperor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious). Here, he appears as a hologram in Vader’s castle on Mustafar.
McDiarmid isn’t technically the first actor to play the Emperor in Star Wars: it was Marjorie Eaton who first put on a grotesque mask to portray Palpatine in his shrouded hologram form in The Empire Strikes Back, while the character’s creepy voice was provided by Clive Revill. McDiarmid took over the role in the subsequent and more famous appearances of the character.
Unless you own a much earlier home release version of the trilogy, you won’t find any sign of Eaton and Rivell’s original performances. The hologram scene was re-edited for consistency with the rest of the saga for the 2004 DVD release. Now, it’s McDiarmid speaking to Vader in the Emperor’s iconic first appearance in the Original Trilogy.
You can read more about what Palpatine’s cameo means for the show here.
Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn
Liam Neeson makes a welcome return as Jedi mentor Qui-Gon Jinn. Known for his dislike of the dogmatic Jedi Council, Qui-Gon shaped Obi-Wan’s life circa The Phantom Menace. His ability to transcend death was a Prequel era attempt to formalize the Jedi ability to live on after death as a ghost, guiding future Force-users such as Luke to Rey. Neeson also reprised his role as Qui-Gon in the animated The Clone Wars and will do so again in the upcoming animated anthology series Tales of the Jedi.
You can read more about what Qui-Gon’s cameo means for the show here.
“Hello There” and Other Movie Quotes
“Part VI” abounded with quotes calling forward (or backward) to the Prequels and Original Trilogy:
– Little Luke’s “I’m not afraid,” is the same response he gave Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back at the prospect of learning to use the Force to face Vader.
– Obi-Wan and Anakin’s confrontation mirrors their life-changing battle in Revenge of the Sith in many ways. Vader is scarred even further, and Obi-Wan gains further understanding of how far (and how far away from him) his former apprentice has fallen. Their dialogue in Obi-Wan Kenobi parallels it directly, too. Obi-Wan says, “I will do what I must,” and Vader replies “Then you will die.” It all rhymes, but a similar exchange in Revenge of the Sith ends with Anakin saying “You will try,” instead.
– Apparently, Luke is actually paralleling a Skywalker-Kenobi saga refrain in one of his Original Trilogy scenes. “Then my friend is truly dead,” Obi-Wan says to a hateful and defeated Vader, calling back to Luke’s dialogue (“Then my father is truly dead”) from Return of the Jedi. But the audience knows both will see their faith in Anakin restored.
– Another Return of the Jedi reference comes courtesy of Emperor Palpatine himself. McDiarmid reprises his role as well as the line, “I wonder if your thoughts are clear on this,” which he intoned to Darth Vader aboard the Death Star as both Luke and the Dark Lord were having second thoughts about their upcoming familial and galactic conflict.
– Obi-Wan’s famous “Hello there,” of course, copies Sir Alec Guinness’ delivery in A New Hope as well as McGregor’s own in Revenge of the Sith. It’s with these words that Luke was ushered in to a larger world. Beyond Star Wars, the line has become a recurring meme on the internet.
Darth Vader’s Shattered Helmet
Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones work together to combine Star Wars trilogies in a very literal (and thrilling) way in Obi-Wan Kenobi. When Obi-Wan breaks Vader’s helmet, both voices come through.
This moment also reminds us of a similar scene in Rebels. Anakin’s apprentice Ahsoka Tano discovers her former mentor’s sinister new identity when she swipes his mask off with her lightsaber in a similar manner.
Obi-Wan’s Lightsaber Stance
Obi-Wan displays several signature moves in the fight with Vader, all iconic choreography from the Prequel era. You’ll recognize his initial lightsaber stance from Revenge of the Sith, which is known as “Form III,” or “Soresu,” the Jedi fighting style preferred not only by Obi-Wan but Luminara Unduli, Depa Billaba, Kanan Jarrus, and others.
Vader Has the High Ground
Obi-Wan’s much-memed claim that “It’s over, Anakin! I have the high ground” in Revenge of the Sith has become a Prequel classic, often in a tongue-in-cheek way. Vader does lose that duel, anyway, and the line comes right before the more emotional and equally quotable “You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.” For whatever reason, it sticks in people’s heads, including the Obi-Wan Kenobi team’s. After shattering the earth with the Force, Vader sends Obi-Wan tumbling down into a pit, gaining the high ground definitively.
Obi-Wan and Vader both throw rocks at each other in a way reminiscent of Rey lifting the rockfall to free her friends in The Last Jedi.
A New Hope’s Opening Shot
The chase sequence that opens this episode is clearly meant to evoke the opening shot of A New Hope where Princess Leia’s Blockade Runner is being chased down by Vader’s Star Destroyer, the Devastator.
Obi-Wan’s Robes from the Comics and A New Hope
Obi-Wan’s orange goggles in the episode finale certainly demand attention. They have appeared before in Marvel’s Star Wars comics, particularly on the cover of issue #15, one of several “From the Journals of Obi-Wan Kenobi” stories. We see on the show that the vest and googles are mixed in with his classic A New Hope robes. McGregor’s version is another step closer to Sir Alec Guinness.
The dramatic rock formation toward which Obi-Wan rides at the very end of the episode is Beggar’s Canyon, former site of the The Phantom Menace podrace. It was also a haunt for teenage Luke Skywalker. He mentions it as the place where he honed his flying skills “hunting womp rats” in A New Hope.