Star Wars: What Happened in Obi-Wan's Desert Years?


With reports saying Ewan McGregor is in talks to reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi for a Disney+ series based around the character, it seems like the perfect time to take a look at Kenobi’s canonical adventures on Tatooine.

While casual fans of Star Wars might not know much about his desert years, we know a lot thanks to his diary (Marvel's Star Wars #7 by Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi). He didn't spend all that time just hanging out with a bantha herd and bickering with Tuskan Raiders.


According to E.K. Johnston's 2016 novel Ahsoka, the first thing Obi-Wan did when he arrived on Tatooine was visit Shmi Skywalker's grave. There, he reflected on the role he played in keeping Anakin away from his mother, who was still a slave when they left Tatooine with "The Chosen One."

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This forced separation, which only ended with Shmi's death, was the direct cause of Anakin's fall to the Dark Side of the Force, and Obi-Wan must have known that he, his master Qui-Gon Jinn and the Jedi Order were directly responsible.

This guilt is a critical component of his interactions with the Lars family, which go beyond his duty to protect Luke. Even though he has to keep his distance, he gets attached to the boy and helps make his life more comfortable with secret gifts; he pushes the Force to aid Luke when he's racing with his friends and buys him the spare parts to repair his skyhopper.

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He had to back off when Owen Lars visited him, asking not-so-politely to stay out of his family’s affairs. Although Owen had a point, he was still happy to be saved by Obi-Wan when Jabba the Hutt’s minions kidnapped him.

Tatooine's dry climate got even dryer shortly after Obi-Wan's arrival. Jabba the Hutt tried to capitalize in the moisture crisis and sent out thugs to collect "water taxes," which ruined many a moisture farmer and tested Obi-Wan's resolve to keep his Jedi identity a secret.

However, he couldn't always help himself, particularly in his early years. He notably used two Jedi mind tricks on Jabba's collectors: One to ensure that their shots always missed their targets and another to keep them far away from the Lars (and Luke's) farm -- a small mercy that even grumpy Owen is grateful for.

Darth Maul Lightsaber Duel With Ben Kenobi


Star Wars fans know that Darth Maul didn’t quite die in The Phantom Menace, but that he survived to appear again in Star Wars: Rebels and, more recently, in Solo: A Star Wars Story.

It is made abundantly clear in Rebels that Maul considered Kenobi his true nemesis, and he sought him out in the Tatooine desert two years before the events of A New Hope, going to great lengths to lure the old Jedi out.

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During their duel, Maul deduces that Kenobi was protecting a Chosen One -- which one he’s not sure, but Obi-Wan confirms it. Obi-Wan believes or wants to believe that Luke and not Anakin is the prophesied Chosen One.

Darth Maul’s final moments are surprisingly serene and touching, almost as if in dying in his nemesis’ arms under Tatooine’s moons, Palpatine’s apprentice and the leader of the Crimson Sun had finally found peace.

Qui Gon Jinn


Qui-Gon Jinn was not only Obi-Wan’s master but also the first Jedi in generations to master the technique of communicating with the living after death. During his years in exile, Obi-Wan meditated at length and managed to establish a connection with his old master, who offered him counsel that would later prove invaluable.

Obi-Wan Kenobi was able to call on his master's spirit to defeat the Wookie bounty hunter Black Krrsantan, and Qui-Gon Jinn came through. Qui-Gon Jinn had also learned the secret of retaining consciousness after death from the Five Priestesses of the Force, and even after his death he was able to help Obi-Wan achieve the same thing.

Qui-Gon Jinn’s last visit to Obi-Wan happened while Luke discovered that the Empire had set his parents on fire in A New Hope, and it is described in the short story Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray.

Despite what one might think from watching only the Star Wars trilogies, Obi-Wans time in Tatooine was incredibly well spent: He fought his inner demons and tried to fix, as much as he could, the mess that the rise of the Empire had left behind. He broke the Jedi rule of attachment to make life easier for Tatooine's inhabitants and managed to balance his thirst for justice with the need to remain hidden.

He forged an (admittedly one-sided) connection with the son of his fallen disciple, managed to reconnect with his deceased master to keep learning from him and he even defeated Darth Maul. Obi-Wan Kenobi's redemptive arc is classic, and Disney + will have more than enough material to fill an entire season.

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