10 Questions Before the Premiere of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobiby Todd King, contributing writer
Next month, on Wednesday May 27, the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series will premiere on Disney+. That day will see the release of the first two entries in this miniseries of six episodes. It will be a day long-remembered, but I have a few questions before that day. Some questions have been with me since childhood.
Since Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, several stories fill in gaps in the Star Wars timeline. The Mandalorian told us some of the story of the galaxy right after the fall of the Empire from Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. The Book of Boba Fett confirmed that the fate of our favorite bounty hunter didn't end in the sarlaac pit. Solo: A Star Wars Story showed us that the Empire even turned scoundrels against the regime before A New Hope. Rogue One told us the story of the Rebel spies obtaining the Death Star plans—a story I thought Episode III: Revenge of the Sith would have included. Kenobi could fill several other gaps, which I mention in the questions below.
This new series centered on the character of Obi-Wan, will take us to a different time after Episode III—10 years after, to be precise—well before the Death Star's first laser shot and right at the outset of the Empire's power grip on the galaxy. It's a time when Jedi are set as the enemy and must go in hiding. This is where we find Kenobi, hiding on Tatooine, trying to stay undetected all the while looking after the boy, Luke Skywalker. And this is where my questions begin to arise.
If you haven't seen it yet, here's the first official trailer for the show:
Obi-Wan Kenobi | Teaser Trailer | Disney+. Official Star Wars YouTube Channel.
So many questions! Let's just stick to ten in no particular order:
1. How did he get the name, Ben?
It's obvious why he changes his name; he's in hiding and must assume a new identity. What we don't know is the how or why: how did he get the name and why is it "Ben"? When he interacts with Luke in A New Hope, the young farm boy asks him about the person of Obi-Wan. Old Kenobi, masterfully portrayed by Alec Guinness, doesn't seem to be reminded of the name (although his memory may have suffered while exiled), instead he seems to realize that Luke will surely put the pieces together and so he accepts that his mask is off. It's time to start leading Luke in the ways of the Force.
But the name, Ben? Did he make it up himself? Is it the name of a friend he meets? This could be a major flashpoint in the series because the change of a name in literature, going back to the oldest of stories, has great significance. It will take on a bit of ironic meaning for us, the viewers, since we know that the name is used again, given to the next son of the Skywalkers.
Concept art from Disney+ Day last year depicting Obi-Wan facing Vader in a duel. Could this happen? © Disney/Lucasfilm.
2. Will he confront Darth Vader again?
In A New Hope, Vader says to Kenobi, "When I left you I was but the learner, now I am the master." I have always assumed that Vader was referring to their duel on Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith, but it could actually refer to another confrontation between the two.
I think this meeting is made further possible by another quote from Vader in Return of the Jedi when telling Luke that, "Obi-Wan once thought as you do," as his son was trying to turn him to the good side. I believe if there is a fight between them in the series, the point of it would be Kenobi's last-ditch effort to bring Anakin back to the light. Could this also mean a special appearance by the Emperor? Ian McDiarmid would certainly make for an excellent cameo.
3. Could the ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn appear?
Gosh, I hope so! This particlar event is one that I would write into the show if it were up to me. We always wondered why some Jedi disappeared when they died. We learn in Episode III that Yoda has been speaking with Qui-Gon from beyond the grave because that particular fallen Jedi has learned a pathway from the netherworld. This show creates the perfect opportunity to dive into that concept just a little deeper. Besides, Liam Neeson would also certainly make for an excellent cameo.
Aside from the fan-service, they could actually deliver on the mystery of a Jedi's death and how they can become one with the Force ("and the Force is with me"). Is it about dying in grace? Is it about balance of the Force? Furthermore, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon could share their thoughts on the fate of Anakin and what Qui-Gon would have done differently if he had trained the Chosen One. Perhaps this leads to their plans for training Luke?
4. Yoda's alive, will we see him?
From the trailer, Obi-Wan doesn't seem to spend his entire time on Tatooine. Perhaps he pays Yoda a visit for some rounds of Jedi philosophy and some swamp soup. We've all loved "Baby Yoda" from The Mandalorian so why not big Yoda himself? Maybe a nod to Grogu's fate is mixed in there somewhere, too? It is apparent from their conversations in The Empire Strikes Back that these two living Jedi (probably the only ones at this point in time) planned out some strategies to take down Vader and his Emperor. Those could turn into some deep discussions involving the futures of Luke and Leia and which one should be trained to win the day.
Obi-Wan's hut from A NEW HOPE. © Lucasfilm.
5. Will we see Obi-Wan move into his hut?
His dwelling on Tatooine is out there beyond the dune sea. Did he make it himself? Did he close a mortgage on it from some Rodian? His place is full of stuff, too. What's in there? What has he kept? Well, we know one thing he kept: Anakin's lightsaber. You know, that Jedi weapon that keeps ending up in boxes? What else has old Obi-Wan got in these chests and cabinets? Any holocrons or wayfinders? Maybe there is stuff in there that is found later? Speaking of which…
6. Does Luke ever go back to that hut?
We know there's a young Luke in the series but we don't know how much of him we will actually see in action. I'm thinking more about a flash-forward scene where older Luke finds clues and objects that impact stories later (we've seen this version of Luke in The Book of Boba Fett). Perhaps it is in the hut where Luke finds maps to Jedi temples, to Jedi texts, or maybe finds a diary about what really happened in the Clone Wars.
One theory that's been proposed in the past is that Luke did eventually visit the old hut and found such things. But some have guessed that Luke also found a green kyber crystal that would power his new lightsaber in Return of the Jedi. Some have even postulated that the green crystal in question would have belonged to Qui-Gon Jinn, Kenobi's old master from whom Obi-Wan took up the green laser sword!
Obi-Wan consults Dexter Jettster for help with clues in "Attack of the Clones." © Lucasfilm.
7. Will we see anyone from Obi-Wan's past, like Dexter Jettster?
There is chatter online that Obi-Wan may get to see some friends from his past. Perhaps there could be a flashback with Duchess Satine from The Clone Wars? I'm not sure how likely that is but it could add to the feeling of loss that the series is portending. Her appearance would even tie into The Mandalorian because of Satine's past with Death Watch and the fall of Mandalore.
Dare I say he could meet up somewhere with Jar Jar Binks…?
With the story being that Obi-Wan is on the run, he'll need someone with information and answers. Who better to turn to then his old pal Dexter? When we first met him, he was just a cook in a diner on Coruscant in Attack of the Clones. However, even then he was more than he appeared. Dexter offered Obi-Wan advice and indicated to us that he knows much more than just how to stew some good jawa juice. The guy's obviously been around the galaxy but we know little more than that. So, perhaps he fled the capital planet when the Empire took over and now he, too, is on the run just for being a Jedi-friend?
8. Will Ahsoka Tano's story continue here, too?
Throughout The Clone Wars, Ahsoka had a long history with Anakin and Obi-Wan. Her story continued into Rebels, then to live-action in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. She has ties to these central characters and we know that Jedi are scarce at this time in the galaxy. Those Jedi who remain need to help each other, right? She would have an impact on this story that could prefigure her own Disney+ series coming sometime in the near future. Besides, Rosario Dawson would certainly make for an excellent cameo.
Bail Organa in ROGUE ONE. © Lucasfilm.
9. Might there be any contact with Bail Organa (Leia's adoptive father)?
Okay, so I've mentioned lots of other character cameos but I belive all of them could be important to the story of Obi-Wan. They're not all necessary but can certainly go a long way in fleshing out the dire times of the setting. All Obi-Wan's friends are separated and all feeling defeated in this time of darkness—at least until the Rebel Alliance truly gets going and finally makes their decisive move in Rogue One.
Speaking of which, Bail Organa is a seldom-seen but vital character to the Jedi and to the Rebellion. He's a bridge from the past into the present and could bring gravitas to that bridge. While Kenobi is watching Luke, Bail is raising Leia. The twins' paths are not in sync as siblings, but more as separated orphans. Besides, Jimmy Smits would certainly make for an excellent cameo.
10. What happened to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant?
Although I'm more curious about Kenobi's hut on Tatooine, I can't help but think of other important locations from the prequels. Most importantly, the Jedi Temple on Coruscant was last seen in Revenge of the Sith after Vader began the purge and led troops to kill all the padawans, knights, and masters within its walls. Later, Yoda and Obi-Wan managed to break the remaining defenses and get inside in order to send messages to the remaining Jedi in the galaxy. They didn't have time to mourn the deaths of their comrades, but had to move quickly and try to take down Palpatine and Vader. But what happened in the temple after that?
In the comics, the Empire displays their might as they destroy the weapons of their "enemies," the Jedi, by incinerating their lightsabers. © Marvel/Lucasfilm.
There are a few pieces of stories in Star Wars media including scenes where Imperial forces incinerated lightsabers from fallen Jedi as a symbol of the new government's power and making the Jedi out as defeated enemies. What of the temple itself? At the time of this series, is the Temple still standing? In other media there are stories of the Temple's destruction closer to the time of Rogue One (which could provide some story opportunities for the Andor series).
At this time, we have Obi-Wan hiding, but probably trying to do the best he can to keep the trappings of the Jedi from total annihilation. So, a journey to the Temple could be in order. But maybe that journey isn't by Obi-Wan. What's in there? Jedi texts, star charts, records, all this stuff that, supposedly, the Empire stole for their own databases. Since Vader is leading the purge, he may need some information from their archives in order to hunt down the Jedi. I think it would be fascinating to revisit those grounds and use them in the story to show how evil has truly taken over.
Obi-Wan watches over Luke from a distance after creating a new meme. © Disney/Lucasfilm.
As you can see, I'm quite excited for this series whatever it may bring. Obviously I'm geeking out here about all the possibilities swimming in my head of which little or none will actually be in the show. Regardless, it will be a great adventure especially with the return of Ewan McGregor as well as some new music from John Williams. I've kind of dreamt of this show for a while.
A long time ago… before the prequels came out, I heard about or read somewhere that the upcoming episodes 1, 2, and 3 would be subtitled, "The Adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi" and the original trilogy would be retroactively subtitled, "The Adventures of Luke Skywalker" putting focus on the primary protagonist from each trilogy. Since that didn't happen, I've always wondered about a story focused soley on Kenobi and now it is about to premiere! May the Force be with us.