*** This article interacts with reports about what will, if true, be a major plot point in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series. If you don’t want to risk spoilers for the series, do not read this article! ***
An Obi-Wan Kenobi project had been rumored for long enough that we’d all had plenty of time to think about what we did and didn’t want to see, and I was pretty adamant about two things I didn’t want: a rematch with Darth Vader, and Kenobi leaving Tatooine.
Both of those things are all but confirmed to be happening in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series. And, believe it or not, I’m totally good with it – even super excited about it. Why?
The answer to the first concern, about a rematch with Vader, was assuaged by re-visiting the lines from the films that at first made me think it wouldn’t fit – and lo and behold, I came to realize that not only could it fit, but it could add much deeper meaning to it as well. “You should not have come back,” Vader tells Kenobi in A New Hope, which could easily suggest that the Jedi had actually come there before. “Obi-Wan once thought as you did,” Vader tells Luke in Return of the Jedi, which could easily suggest that he tried to save Anakin and couldn’t. By the time of the original trilogy, Obi-Wan and Yoda have no notion of Anakin returning to the light, only him being defeated. What was it that cemented that for Obi-Wan? It’s just as believable that there was something in-between the films than to assume it all happened on Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith.
So that one, upon re-thinking it, is something I’m totally good with, as long as it’s handled well (and I trust Deborah Chow and the team to do so). There’s a much tougher question to answer, however, and I’m convinced that this is the biggest question and the biggest challenge the show will have – in fact, it could wind up being the thing upon which all else hangs when it comes to whether the story works or not. And it’s this: why would Obi-Wan Kenobi leave Tatooine? After all, his job during these two decades in exile is to look over and protect Luke Skywalker, something established from the very end of Revenge of the Sith and all the way through A New Hope. It’s abundantly clear that Kenobi views this as his most important task, as in Rebels we see that Kenobi thought Luke was actually the chosen one who would bring balance to the Force. This Jedi Master is lying low, not wanting to attract attention and not wanting to do anything that would jeopardize his role with Luke.
So, again, the question is this: why would Obi-Wan Kenobi leave Tatooine? That’s the biggest challenge facing these storytellers. And I’ll say that, if some of the reports we’ve heard are true, the storytellers have managed to absolutely nail it and come up with one of the very few things that would drive Kenobi to leave, and be believable and one the audience would actually agree with. That’s no small task, and without having seen the show yet, from the sounds of it I think they’ve done it.
Last summer, Cinelinx’s Jordan Maison dropped a report that included a number of tidbits about the series (some of which have been reinforced or confirmed since), and in it he mentioned that Vivien Lyra Blair had been cast in the role of a young Leia Organa, and that the character would appear “in a big way” and in such a way that it would be “pretty much the impetus for the whole show and what gets Obi-Wan (Ben) into another adventure.”
Recently, others have reported similar. Star Wars News Net’s Val Trichkov on Thursday reported things that went along with what Maison had heard, adding that they heard Leia (who at this point would be around 10 years old) would be in trouble, “being held prisoner in a Cantina-like establishment where we will see a healthy mixture of new and familiar creatures.” So you can probably guess where Kenobi comes in: he’s got to rescue her.
Then Bespin Bulletin picked up a report that filled in even more of the details. The report mentions that the Grand Inquisitor, aware of Kenobi’s connections with Bail Organa, orchestrates a plan to capture Leia, hoping it would lure Kenobi out of hiding. It does, as Bail Organa travels to Tatooine and confronts Kenobi in a cave, pleading for help – which the Jedi Master agrees to provide.
So with these three separate reports, it seems pretty fair to assume that Leia Organa will indeed be appearing in this series and being the key catalyst that gets things rolling. And I think it’s perfect, because what would cause Obi-Wan to leave his post protecting the son of Skywalker? Protecting the other child of Skywalker. Now that’s a reason I can get behind, and I think it’d be pretty awesome to realize that in his exile Kenobi was actually watching over both of Anakin’s kids rather than just Luke, and I think it would also lend all the more depth and meaning behind Leia’s desperate plea to him in A New Hope asking for help. If he’d come to her aid before, she would have reason to believe he would answer again in their most desperate hour. And even if Luke wasn’t ready or willing to go with him, I’m sure Kenobi would have answered the call to help Leia – so why wouldn’t he a decade earlier, too? It’s a perfect reason for him to leave the planet, seeing Bail Organa coming to him desperate for help protecting Anakin’s daughter. Luke’s hidden away and safe while Leia’s in danger – of course Kenobi is going to rise to the occasion!
And then factoring in the details from the latter report, it seems that Leia’s capture is actually part of an Imperial plot to lure Kenobi out of hiding. This, too, could be perfect – but needs to be handled carefully. The Empire and Darth Vader are aware of Leia Organa, and knowing of Kenobi’s connection to Bail fits really well… but the show must be careful against any sort of hint that Vader or the Empire knows her true identity, for that isn’t yet disclosed (although I wouldn’t be surprised if Bail and Obi-Wan worry about the threat of it getting out). But I do trust that this will be handled with care, and so assuming that this seems like a great way for Kenobi to encounter Inquisitors and their boss, Lord Vader, without it tying him to Tatooine. Think about it: if they managed to track him down to Tatooine and fight him there, the Empire’s attention would be drawn to the planet and Luke would be in danger. But by fighting them on their turf, away from the planet, any risk of that is removed. It’s another way for this series to handle these things well.
So yes, consider me a huge fan of this, and I’m hoping it’s actually true. Like I’ve said, I think the biggest challenge this series will face, at least from a storytelling perspective, is providing a good reason for Obi-Wan to leave Tatooine. Leia being in danger is about as perfect of an answer as they could have come up with, and I think it has the potential to not just kick off a fantastic series, but also add much more meaning and depth to the larger saga and the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi. I can’t wait!