Very, very few characters in fiction have been as important to me as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Whether in the Original Trilogy, the Prequel Trilogy, or the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” series, he was always given, in my opinion, some of the best character beats in the entire Star Wars Saga.
I grew up with Obi-Wan, and I was always compelled by his struggle to maintain the core principles of the Jedi despite his own losses. If you think about it, he’s the most tragic character in all of Star Wars. His master was murdered in front of his eyes because he wasn’t quick enough to intervene, and the love of his life Duchess Satine was killed by the same man who took his master away from him. Obi-Wan failed to keep his promise to his dying master that he would “protect the boy” — Anakin became the second-most evil man in the galaxy, partially because Obi-Wan wasn’t fit to be a father figure, no matter how hard he tried. Kenobi then cut his apprentice in half and let him burn alive, too weak to actually kill Anakin himself, which would likely have saved the galaxy. But after all of these failures and tribulations, he finally succeeded in executing his final promise: protecting and teaching Luke Skywalker.
Now that’s a brilliant character. What makes him even better are the actors who play the Jedi Knight. Ewan McGregor’s performance as Obi-Wan in “Revenge of the Sith” remains my favorite performance in Star Wars history, particularly in the climax on Mustafar. We see weakness and, most importantly, fear in Obi-Wan more than ever before when he battles Anakin; his eyes alone reflect how frightened he is of what Anakin’s become, how disappointed he is in himself, and his acknowledgment that he’s nowhere near as powerful. Then, McGregor masterfully delivered that emotional, heartbreaking monologue at the end of the best lightsaber battle to date.
For all these reasons and many more, Obi-Wan Kenobi is the best Star Wars character. His humor and hopefulness were constantly tested in many impactful ways throughout every single piece of Star Wars content he was in, and he ultimately was given some of the best storylines of the entire franchise.
So naturally, it’s time for Disney to destroy him!
The most idiotic aspect of the upcoming Disney+ show is its selling point, which is that we’ll get to see the epic battle between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan… for the third time. Not only does this damage the timeline and logic of the saga, but it shows how poorly Disney understands the character. Obi-Wan isn’t about action and spectacle; he symbolizes the pros and cons of the Jedi. Their principles and how they affect others. The sacrifices they must make to fully dedicate themselves to this religion. That’s also what makes Kenobi’s relationship with Darth Maul so interesting. Both of them are essentially failures, but Obi-Wan is able to redeem himself using compassion and empathy, while Maul is doomed to continue failing due to his ego and rage.
If the concept of the series was a dour character study of Obi-Wan, exploring his struggle to forgive himself and move on after the events of “Revenge of the Sith,” I would be ecstatic for the show. I’ve always wanted a “Logan” for Obi-Wan. I want to see him challenged in new, dramatic, and grounded ways.
After seeing the new teaser trailer, it’s clear we’re getting a show that’s using Kenobi as a vehicle for spectacle and the introduction of new, likely inferior characters, as Obi-Wan is barely even in the teaser! I don’t want to see some blockbuster-level science fiction epic with Darth Vader and the Inquisitors; I just want to see Obi-Wan Kenobi again.
The hard work George Lucas, Ewan McGregor, Alec Guinness, Dave Filoni (back when he actually made quality content under Lucas), and others put into crafting this compelling character needs to be remembered. As of writing this, Obi-Wan is the only major Star Wars character left who Disney hasn’t demolished up to this point, so in the two months prior to the show’s release, I’m going to watch and enjoy all the old Obi-Wan content again. I’m excited to return to the great stories of this complex character, and I’m going to savor the good times while I still can.