This Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi article contains spoilers.
Obi-Wan Kenobi has reached its final act. One climactic duel and a few farewells later, all paths are now pointed directly at the Original Trilogy. As we watch Obi-Wan riding off into the desert beyond Beggar’s Canyon, the Disney+ series has done what it set out to do, bridging the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. The Jedi Master has made peace with the past; meanwhile, Luke and Leia are safe.
But the finale isn’t just about happy endings. It also features a few key cameos that set up what’s next for Obi-Wan and Darth Vader…
Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine
Every now and then, Emperor Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid is asked whether his vile Sith Lord will be back for a future Star Wars movie or TV series. He almost always answers with a cryptic, “You’ll just have to wait and see.” Well, if you’ve been dying to see Darth Sidious on screen again, the Obi-Wan Kenobi finale gives you exactly what you want, and in a scene that spells out why Vader stopped chasing his former master in the years leading up to A New Hope.
In his final scene, a defeated Vader sits in his castle back on Mustafar. Not only has he suffered the embarrassment of losing to his rusty Jedi Master but Obi-Wan has even spared his life out of pity. But now that his suit is all patched up, and presumably after a long bath in his bacta tank, Vader is ready to continue the hunt. He tells the Emperor that he will stop at nothing until Kenobi is found and crushed.
But the Emperor, speaking to his apprentice through hologram, seems unimpressed. In fact, he’s pretty annoyed Vader has wasted so much time seething over his former master. Although Sith Lords are fueled and driven by a thirst for revenge, even Palpatine thinks Vader needs to forget about Obi-Wan.
“You seem agitated, my friend. I wonder if your thoughts are clear on this, Lord Vader,” the Emperor says. “Perhaps your feelings for your old master have left you weakened. If your past cannot be overcome…”
In other words, Palps is saying, “Get over it, bro, or I’ll find a less whiny apprentice.”
Ever eager to please (because what other choice does a giant evil robot man on Empire-subsidized life support have), Vader quickly changes his tune, once again pledging his allegiance to the Dark Lord of the Sith: “Kenobi means nothing. I serve only you, my master.”
For weeks, fans have feared that Vader finding out Obi-Wan is still alive would muddy the effect of their final confrontation in A New Hope. If Vader knows Obi-Wan’s out there, why didn’t he keep searching for his old master for the decade leading up to the 1977 film? And why is the Empire so surprised that the Obi-Wan is still alive in that movie if he was running around, shooting down stormtroopers, just a few years before the Original Trilogy?
Even I thought about this a little too deeply. In my own finale theories article, I suggested Obi-Wan would maybe have to fake his own death in order to disappear into anonymity again, which is how he’s able to surprise Vader and the Empire with his return in A New Hope. Surely, that is the only way Vader would ever end his pursuit…
Nope. All it takes is for the Emperor to say, “Cut it out.”
Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn
Someone in our comments section called it “Chekhov’s Force ghost” the other day, and they were absolutely right. After Obi-Wan called out to his master’s spirit in the very first episode of the series, and then again later on, we knew Liam Neeson’s return to the Star Wars universe was an inevitability. For the first time since 1999’s The Phantom Menace, we see the familiar face of Qui-Gon Jinn, this time as a Force ghost waiting for his former apprentice in the desert.
“Well, took you long enough,” Qui-Gon says to a surprised Obi-Wan, who believed after all this time that his master would never answer his calls. “I was always here, Obi-Wan, you just were not ready to see,” the Force ghost assures him. Qui-Gon then turns to lead his old friend into Beggar’s Canyon as twin suns set on Tatooine.
Even back in 2005, Prequel fans knew that this reunion between master and apprentice was never a matter of if but when. Revenge of the Sith ends with Yoda spelling out for the audience that Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon are going to meet again in the future. In fact, it’s Qui-Gon who will teach Obi-Wan how to become one with the Force. It’s because of his master’s teachings from the afterlife that Obi-Wan is able to transform into a Force ghost, becoming more powerful than Vader can possible imagine, after the Sith Lord strikes him down on the Death Star. This transformation is all part of the grand plan to defeat the Empire and the Sith, a way for Obi-Wan (and later Yoda) to continue to guide the next generation of heroes from beyond the grave.
It all begins here, with Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s heartwarming finale scene.
Grant Feely as Young Luke Skywalker
Last week’s episode teased a dark fate for the 10-year-old Luke Skywalker played by newcomer Grant Feely. Of course, we knew no harm could actually come to the future hero of the Rebellion and the last of the Jedi. The show finds a clever way to not only circumvent any potential wrinkles in the canon but also uses little Luke as a way to speak to Reva’s own arc.
While at the beginning of the episode she’s out to avenge her fellow younglings by killing the son of Anakin Skywalker, murdering Luke wouldn’t make her any better than her nemesis. And when she finally has the future galactic hero right where she wants him, Reva chooses not to become the monster that’s haunted her since Order 66. Sparing Luke, and presumably agreeing to keep his existence a secret, Reva decides to abandon her thirst for revenge and to finally live her own life. She throws her lightsaber aside and leaves the Lars homestead for good.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is streaming now on Disney+.