Look, I’m going to come right out and say it: This is the project I’ve been anticipating the most. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm from George and announced their ambitious plan of one Star Wars film per year, I immediately went to banana-town with my own speculation about what these “Anthology” films (remember those?) could be. The subject which seemed most obvious to me: Obi-Wan Kenobi. A story about an exiled Jedi Master, spiritually lost in the desert while trying to protect one of the last hopes for the galaxy and the child of his former apprentice who he feels betrayed him… Well, that seems like low hanging fruit to me. Nine years later, we are getting something much better than a single-film: a six-episode television series! While I’m twiddling my thumbs, hoping to avoid hearing the inevitable casting and plot leaks, I thought of five things I hope to see in Obi-Wan Kenobi and why I feel they are important to this character at this point in his life.
1. “Obi-Wan once thought as you did…”
We all have our gripes with Star Wars. One of my biggest is the inexplicable absence of prequel explanation regarding this contemplative dialogue from Vader in Return of the Jedi. Luke is desperately trying to convince his father to look inward, beyond the more than two decades of darkness Anakin Skywalker has been buried under, and Vader makes this huge statement that Obi-Wan once made this argument, too. Even as a kid watching this, I remember thinking there must be an amazing story there. That story or some sort of connective moment never really materialized in 2005, when I eagerly sat down for Revenge of the Sith hoping it would. Though I enjoyed the film very much, Obi-Wan’s assassin role in the final act never sat well with me, and it was mostly because of this line.
Think about it. The only moment of hesitation on Obi-Wan’s part is when Yoda orders him to go after Anakin. And yes, I don’t blame Obi-Wan for coming out swinging after what he witnesses: Anakin’s assault on Padmé. But I’m not arguing whether his motives were justified in killing Anakin. What I’m saying is there was never a moment where Obi-Wan believed Anakin could be turned back from the dark side. Even in their back-and-forth dialogue during the duel, nothing would lead us to believe Obi-Wan saw any chance of redemption for Anakin. Not to mention he brutally dismembered Anakin and left him to burn to death.
Obi-Wan Kenobi opens a door to explain this line with the inclusion of Hayden Christensen. During that announcement, that’s the first place my mind went. No, I’m not excited about this whole “rematch of the century” spin of Hayden’s inclusion. I’m interested in how they get to that rematch. There are so many possibilities. We’ve seen in Charles Soule’s Darth Vader comic the internal conflict between the light and the dark is present. Perhaps Obi-Wan, in his remote hut on Tatooine, awakens in the first episode to the sound of his former apprentice calling out to him from the Force. Or perhaps another, little green Jedi Master has heard the call and seeks Kenobi’s help. Let your mind do the spinning, we’ll have our answers soon enough. Or, maybe, a former master…
2. A Reckoning with Qui-Gon Jinn
We know Yoda gave Obi-Wan his final lesson on how to commune with his former master, and we’ve even witnessed it in Claudia Gray’s short story, “Master and Apprentice” (From A Certain Point of View: A New Hope). If Obi-Wan is facing Darth Vader again, there has to be some damn good motivation for him to break his watch over a young Luke Skywalker and risk exposure to the galaxy. Perhaps Qui-Gon calls to him from the Force because his spirit senses the conflict stirring in Anakin. Obi-Wan, feeling Anakin’s presence because of their deep connection through the Force (hell yes I’d take some ForceTime scenes between Anakin’s consciousness and Obi-Wan), sets off to potentially save what’s left of his former apprentice.
There is also a reckoning to be had between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon. However, when we meet Obi-Wan in this story, I don’t imagine he’s going to be in the best of spirits. We’ve seen glimpses of his state in the first run of Marvel’s Star Wars (Issues #7 and #15), and he’s not in a great place. Disconnected from the Jedi, living in solitude, and with a singular purpose to watch over a child and hope one day they can undo the mistakes of their father. It’s not too hard to consider Obi-Wan may have some resentments, and the person who put them on that path was Qui-Gon. Qui-Gon’s dying request fulfilled ultimately cost Obi-Wan and the galaxy so much, so I imagine the first conversation between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon will not be a pleasant one. Perhaps a subplot of the show will be Obi-Wan learning to let go of his anger and disappointment in his former master. We need more Star Wars stories about healing and forgiveness, so Obi-Wan working through a resentment would give a hopeful subtext to an inevitable failure if he attempts to redeem Ankakin. We shall see.
3. Young Luke
We’ll see Luke in this series, though I really hope it’s just for a brief moment at the end. Again, I don’t really follow leaks, so maybe there is already reliable information confirming this. It’s well established in A New Hope Luke knows Obi-Wan as Ben, and it’s not the first time they’ve met. If Luke is a large presence in this series, maybe it means the road to Vader is laid out for Obi-Wan in a completely different way. Perhaps Obi-Wan leaves Tatooine, afraid he’s been discovered by the Empire, and wants to distract them from any possibility of finding Luke.
We really don’t need to see young Luke blasting womp rats, flying his T-16 through Beggar’s Canyon, and any other fan service creators may be tempted to toss in. The story should remain fixed on Obi-Wan. We know Luke’s story, and it’s likely we’re going to know a lot more with forthcoming novels and likely reappearances in The Mandalorian, so a brief appearance would be effective. Honestly, I’d be more excited to see a young Biggs.
The safety of Luke will likely be a great motivator for Obi-Wan, whether we see Luke or not. Kenobi was close with both Padmé and Anakin, so he must feel an obligation for the feelings he has for them. Obi-Wan knows the honor of Luke’s pedigree; both from his mother’s wisdom and strength, as well as his father’s power with the Force. For so many reasons, Obi-Wan will protect this child with his life, but it will be an interesting dilemma if Obi-Wan has to make a choice about Luke’s safety. Save the galaxy and sacrifice the child or vice versa? Trying not to speculate on specific story ideas so I don’t get too in the weeds here, but it would be an interesting dilemma to make Obi-Wan choose between Luke if an alternate path toward defeating the Sith is presented.
4. The Clone Wars in live-action
I would be very surprised and disappointed if we don’t see a Clone War flashback featuring Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka. All the pieces are there. Rosario Dawson has already brought Ahsoka to life onscreen, and it wouldn’t be hard to fit this into a scene where Obi-Wan reflects on his days. And this doesn’t have to be a happy flashback.
I imagine Obi-Wan carries a great deal of trauma from the things he saw in the Clone War, especially with the weight of knowing what the result of all the battles ended in. Can you imagine the horror of knowing all the fighting you did was in service to your enemy the entire time? That’s another thing Obi-Wan is living with: he was a general in a war orchestrated by the Sith.
A flashback in the opening moments of the series would be a great way to establish so many things. It would provide a look into the bond forged between Obi-Wan and Anakin for casual viewers who might not have seen The Clone Wars. If this happens at the beginning of the series, it would get the past out of the way to focus on whatever story the showrunners hope to tell, avoiding a series bogged down in flashbacks and fan service. Including Ahsoka would also provide connective tissue to her live-action future from the prequels, and remind folks she’s also a creation of George Lucas.
It would also just be really cool. I would love to see these three characters together, whether they are slicing battledroids or counseling each other at the edge of the war, it would be rewarding. And I don’t think it would be fan service. Ahsoka must weigh on Obi-Wan as well, and if he indeed confronts Anakin in hopes of redemption, Ahsoka’s spirit deserves to be there. Her inclusion in a flashback or cameo is absolutely justified, and I’ll be disappointed if she’s not included.
It would be a hard diss to The Clone Wars if Satine Kryze isn’t at least mentioned. I’m going to roll the dice and say she’ll be included in another flashback. If the writers want an easy way to humanize Obi-Wan and make him relatable, talk about the affair he and Satine had. Obi-Wan says he would’ve left the Order for her if she’d asked him. That’s huge and shouldn’t be glossed over, especially as the aging Jedi sits in solitude, reflecting his regrets over the sands of Tatooine.
Arguably, the story between he and Satine is wide open for telling. I’m not saying I want this series to be a montage of flashbacks, but I don’t see how they get around not touching this story. It adds so much depth to Obi-Wan’s story, character, and trajectory. He loved Satine, he loved Anakin, and that makes Obi-Wan so much more than just the token sage Jedi in the desert, patiently guarding Luke. It emphasizes his sacrifices to the greater good. The sympathy viewers would feel for Obi-Wan, who’s led a life of sacrifices for the greater good, goes through the roof.
Star Wars is at its best when it’s a love story, so tell that damn love story. Satine is a character we deserve more of, whether it’s involving Obi-Wan or not, and this would be a great way to re-introduce her for future stories. Notice I didn’t mention Darth Maul in my list of what to expect, but let me play Sith advocate and suggest the live-action retelling of her death scene would be an effective way to accomplish a cameo for him as well. If Satine is mentioned, I hope her life is celebrated and revered, and she’s not just included as Obi-Wan’s love interest or Darth Maul’s murder victim. I know this show is Obi-Wan Kenobi, but we can respectfully honor whatever legacy Satine Kryze passed down through the galaxy. It’s hard to imagine Obi-Wan not wanting to do that himself.
Hell, maybe the catalyst to leaving Tatooine on some damned fool idealistic crusade has more to do with Satine Kryze than it does Anakin Skywalker. I mean… we still need some answers about Korkie. Yes, I went there and if that’s what the story is about, buckle the heck up and get ready for the internet to melt in glorious Star Wars fashion. Make Obi-Wan a good dad up there with all the other good dads. Maybe Obi-Wan learns Korkie is in danger and it’s his last way to honor Satine by protecting him. While searching for Korkie, Obi-Wan learns something about himself. It would open so many doors for future storytelling and could also connect to whatever is going to happen when we rejoin Bo-Katan and Din Djarin’s Darksaber dilemma in season three of The Mandalorian.
Perhaps I’m wearing a Beskar foil hat, but I really think this could work.
Keeping this list at five saves me from going on a wild bantha chase of my own theories. Whatever we end up seeing next year, Obi-Wan Kenobi seems to have all the potential for some great storytelling. While I’m sure each fan will find things to enjoy and criticize, this is a welcome revisit of an endearing character for Star Wars fans. There are so many great possibilities for Obi-Wan; self-exploration, emotional healing, forgiveness, and atonement are on the top of my list. Obi-Wan is a character who never lived for himself, and maybe this series will give us a look at that. He’s free of the Jedi, the frontlines of an endless war, and the duty to a now dead Republic. Perhaps the sands of Tatooine have been healing him, and we’ll see an Obi-Wan Kenobi like no other. Whatever that is, I’m excited to see it and will enjoy passing the time while considering the endless possibilities.