It’s a great time to be a Star Wars fan. With J.J. Abrams successfully helming the franchise, fans are eager to see how the future continues to unfold in a galaxy far, far away. The Force Awakens paved the way for director Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi to shake the mythos up for Luke Skywalker and the Force on the whole. Along the way, Disney developed the franchise’s backstory in Star Wars: A Rogue One story, which retroactively and masterfully laid the foundation for the Rebels fighting the Empire in the very first Star Wars film, A New Hope.
We have high hopes that the newly reported Obi Wan Kenobi solo movie film can pack the same power, charting the Jedi’s history after he escaped the onslaught of his order in Revenge of the Sith, and showing how he eventually became the recluse fans saw in A New Hope on Tatooine. Ewan McGregor has already stated he’d love to come back as the title character, so barring any surprising casting news, it would seem we have all the tools in place! After all, the comics are canon, so it’s not a question of should they be adapted and acknowledged, it’s more of a question of how and if they will be.
It must be noted that unlike Rogue One, which told an unseen story that had never before been explored, roots have already been laid for a solo Obi Wan epic in Marvel Comics Star Wars series. These stories, both written by Jason Aaron, were presented as writings from a journal Obi Wan intended to leave for Luke, provide a short but very solid insight as to what Obi Wan did in exile, which can easily be slotted into cinematic canon.
A Jedi in Exile
Jedi survivors of Emperor Palpatine’s genocidal Order 66, including Yoda and Obi Wan, had to go into hiding due to the massacre. With Darth Vader’s twins having been born, a haven was needed. Leia was safe, adopted by Senator Bail Organa, while Luke was taken by Obi Wan to Anakin’s stepbrother, Owen, who was living in the last place Vader would look — back home on Tatooine. They knew the importance of safeguarding the youngster after Anakin “died,” and in Aaron’s comics, we saw Obi Wan as a noble relic overseeing Luke’s days as a youth from the shadows.
Star Wars #7, featuring art by John Cassaday, gave Marvel fans their first look at Obi Wan in his new role. As this is where the Jedi’s journal started, we can just imagine a shot of him using the Force, not his hands, to pen the book — an epic scene worthy of opening the movie. Another scene that begs to be translated to film was how he dusted off his lightsaber to save Luke from thugs sent to collect water taxes when Tatooine was in drought — thugs belonging to none other than Jabba the Hutt. This showed us a weathered hero, not unlike a cowboy in exile. In fact, this Obi Wan is more like Jack Schaefer’s Shane than Hugh Jackman’s Logan ever was, simply because Obi Wan wasn’t reluctant to embrace his destiny. The issue also pinpointed Luke’s heroic aspirations as well, of wanting justice, and wanting more — not just for his family — but for everyone!
A Jedi Repentant
Star Wars #15, by Aaron and artist Mike Mayhew, went deeper into Obi Wan’s relationship with Owen, who hated the Jedi for what happened to Anakin. What’s interesting is that we could have some star-power added here because Joel Edgerton (Warrior, Loving) played Uncle Owen in the prequel films, so bringing him back as an older version makes perfect sense. The story is filled with cinematic scenes, featuring Obi Wan, fighting off Sith ghosts of past such as Darth Maul, General Grievous and Count Dooku, and finding himself reconnecting with his Jedi lineage again to strike a deal with the Jawas. Adapting these would allow movie to truly highlight his altruism which, while dimmed, was never snuffed out.
If the film takes its cues from this story, we’d see an Obi Wan who acts as a vigilante of sorts, helping take care of their Tusken Raider threat, and in return they would gift Luke free parts to build his Skyhopper racer. This paints Obi Wan, yet again, as a silent protector, not just of Luke, but of Tatooine. What really makes this an emotionally powerful arc is how Owen, realizing what was occuring, visited the Jedi and lashed out at him. It was very clear he thought Anakin was merely murdered and didn’t know he turned to the Dark Side as Darth Vader, the man who was terrorizing the galaxy — which could make a damning revelation in the movie. Aaron smartly played up Obi Wan’s inner-turmoil here when he took up his lightsaber again to guard those he loves, which would give McGregor some truly meaty drama to dig into.
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