With all the recent talk about the new batch of Star Wars films, there’s a lot of interest about the spinoff films announced by Disney. Already Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank are slated to direct two of them, which are rumored to be about young Han Solo or Boba Fett. But if there is one character that should headline a Star Wars spinoff it’s the unsung hero of the films, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
For non-fans, Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi was a Jedi Knight who was played by both Ewan McGregor and Sir Alec Guinness in both Star Wars trilogies. He mentored both Anakin Skywalker and later on his son Luke Skywalker for a brief period before allowing himself to be killed by Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Out of all the heroic characters featured in the Star Wars films, his was arguably the most heroic and selfless with noble traits only rivaled by the diminutive Jedi Master Yoda.
What made him so heroic? Look at what he did, how he led his life. Obi-Wan Kenobi clearly put his duty over his personal wants and needs. This was seen in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith and the aforementioned Episode IV.
At the end of Episode I, Obi-Wan honors his dying master’s wish and chooses to train Anakin to become a Jedi. He did this even though he didn’t hold Anakin in high regard like his master Qui-Gon Jinn did. In Episode III, after the Jedi have been vanquished by Emperor Palpatine and the new Galactic Empire, Obi-Wan could have just hung up his Jedi robe and gone into hiding. Well, he did do that to an extent, although he wanted to continue to fight the good fight against evil. Instead he chose to follow Yoda’s bidding by protecting Anakin’s infant son Luke. He went into hiding on Anakin’s home planet Tatooine where he would live out the remainder of his life looking after Luke from afar. In the dialogue in Episode IV, Luke, now a young man, knew Kenobi so it can be inferred that Obi-Wan kept an eye on Luke as he grew up and only stayed away because of Luke’s uncle’s wishes. Still, he came to Luke’s aid early on in the film when the young man was in danger.
In Episode IV, despite his old age, he was willing to leave the planet and aid Princess Leia after she sent him a holographic plea for help in her fight against the Empire. Towards the end of the film, Obi-Wan made the ultimate sacrifice while confronting Darth Vader.
During that battle Luke came upon them and was about to come to his aid. Obi-Wan knew that it was imperative that Luke be kept from Vader and escape so simply stopped fighting and allowed Vader to kill him. Luke soon learned that death wasn’t the end for Obi-Wan, who would continue advising Luke as a spiritual presence.
This spiritual aspect enhanced Kenobi’s compassionate, amiable manner that he displayed in the films and which made him likable. In Episode IV, he had a gentle, patient way about him and only fought at the last resort, which is why Luke was so drawn to the old Jedi. In Episode II, during an investigation, Obi-Wan visited his old friend Dexter Jettster for some help. In a rare moment, when the two met at Jettster’s greasy spoon diner, Obi-Wan dropped his stoic Jedi demeanor and came off as an average Joe type who was very relatable.
But Kenobi was also a formidable warrior. In the prequel films, Obi-Wan proved that he was an adept warrior who was more than capable of taking out superior opponents. He first showed this knack in Episode I when he killed Darth Maul. Later in Episode III, he was dispatched to defeat the cyborg Jedi killer General Greivous, which he did in a convincing manner. But later in the film, he was able to defeat Anakin Skywalker who had turned evil. Even though Anakin was more powerful in using the force, Kenobi had better experience and skills, and used that advantage to cripple his one-time friend and student.
As great as these films were, they focused so much on the Skywalkers and Han Solo that Obi-Wan Kenobi didn’t get much screen time. A spinoff film about Obi-Wan Kenobi could explore what he did in between the trilogies and even go into his life before Episode I. Lots of questions about him and his life could be answered. Not only will these details flesh out his character, but a Star Wars spinoff film will finally let Obi-Wan Kenobi have the spotlight that he deserves.
Lewis T. Grove