Old Ben Kenobi: From Desert Wizard to Ghost Mentor

Greetings organics, and welcome back to the Sarlacc Pit! This week we will be finishing up the three-part series on Obi-Wan Kenobi. Last week we explored Kenobi’s life as a Jedi Master and a General in the Grand Army of the Republic. This week, we are going to explore a much less glamorous and prestigious part of his life. I will be referring to content that most movie-viewers will find familiar as most of this information will come from the three original trilogy (Episodes IV-VI), but I will also refer to information found in Marvel’s Star Wars comic series, particularly issues 7 and 15. I should also point out that comics telling the story of Kenobi’s life before Episode IV are still being told, and with rumors of a standalone Obi-Wan movie circulating, we may eventually get more information on this time in Kenobi’s life. As I’ve said before, if any large amount of updated canon content becomes available, I will either update posts, or create new ones, so do not fear!

Life on Tatooine

“As hard as it was to become a Jedi, it was even harder to stop being one. But I did… I wasn’t General Obi-Wan Kenobi anymore. I was no longer a Jedi Master. I was only Ben.” -Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi, Star Wars issue #7

At the end of “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” Obi-Wan had agreed to take Luke Skywalker as an infant to be raised by his uncle Owen Lars and his wife Beru. While the two promised to raise Luke as their own, Kenobi stayed on Tatooine as well. Mostly to ensure Luke stayed hidden and safe, but also in hopes to eventually train him in the ways of the Force. However, Owen insisted that Obi-Wan stay away from the boy, hoping to spare Luke the fate of his father, Anakin. Because of this, Obi-Wan spent his years in solitary hiding, keeping a low profile and refraining from using his Jedi skills in public. As a former Master of the Jedi High Council, this was hard for Kenobi, as watching the lawlessness of Tatooine hurt the innocent was something that went directly against his training.

While he could not be a Jedi in public, he did not stop training and exploring into the mysteries of the Force. While we have not yet seen a Force ghost version of Qui-Gon Jinn training Obi-Wan, in the comic series Obi-Wan is seen constantly talking to his late master. Therefore it is likely that Obi-Wan had some sort of contact with Qui-Gon from beyond the veil of death and was training with him at least partially.

While Kenobi knew he had to keep his life as a Jedi a secret (even taking on the not-so-clever pseudonym of “Ben Kenobi”), his placidity changed during the “year of the great drought” on Tatooine. As the name implies, there was a long drought, even by the standards of a desert planet. As such, Jabba the Hutt, the reigning mob boss of Tatooine, collected water taxes from the moisture farmers of the planet. While at first Kenobi did nothing, he intervened on behalf of the Lars household, using the Jedi mind trick to convince Jabba’s men to leave the family alone. This sufficed until young Luke Skywalker, just a boy but just as reckless as his father ever was, confronted the mob bosses men himself, insisting that they return the water they had taken from the farmers. The mobsters decided to take Luke captive, but Kenobi, unwilling to fail in his final duty to the Jedi Order as well as his fallen padawan, interfered. Kenobi used his Jedi training to dispatch the thugs, saving Luke and returning the water to the Tatooinian moisture farmers. After this day, Jabba the Hutt hunted the man who ambushed his tax collectors, but Obi-Wan was also inspired by Luke’s bravery in standing up against the Hutt, and so he decided to use his Jedi abilities to assist those who were most vulnerable.

I am Obi-Wan Kenobi.png

Desert Protector

“My name is Obi-Wan Kenobi. The last of my Order. But the is not the end of the Jedi. All it took was a young boy’s courage to assure me of that.” -Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi, Star Wars Issue #7

“I told you, I’m not gonna let you warp the boy like you did his father. You brought him to me to protect, and that’s what I’m doing. Protecting him from you… Haven’t you murdered enough Skywalkers already, Kenobi?” -Owen Lars, Star Wars issue #15

In the years following the Great Drought, Kenobi found jobs as a sort of bodyguard. Jawas, a native Tatooine species who mostly lived as traders, were often the target of raids by Tusken Raiders, another, more violent, species native to Tatooine. While Kenobi still refrained from using deadly force against the Tukens, he was able to protect the Jawas. While he accepted enough money from the Jawas to live a meager existence on Tatooine, he protected the Lars homestead for free, making sure that no one threatened the lives of Owen, Beru, and, more importantly, Luke.

Kenobi watched Luke from afar while he grew up. He saw the spark of Luke’s Force sensitivity long before Luke felt it himself. He watched as Luke trained to be a great pilot, even having Jawas bring Luke parts for his skyhopper airspeeder. Owen Lars, on the other hand, wanted Kenobi as far away from the young Skywalker as possible, never mentioning Kenobi to Luke as he grew up, and never telling Luke about his true parents. Although Kenobi wanted to train Luke, he let Owen protect the boy, and instead left a journal of his adventures for Luke to find one day when he was old enough.Star-Wars-15-Page-3.jpg

Return to the Battlefield

“Obi-Wan Kenobi? Obi-Wan. Now there’s a name I’ve not heard in a long, long time.” -Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi, “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”

Nineteen years after the Clone Wars had ended, Luke and his family purchased two droids from some Jawa traders: a protocol droid named C-3PO, and an astromech droid named R2-D2. While C-3PO was happy to adjust to life away from the Rebellion, R2-D2 insisted that he was on a mission to bring plans for the Empire’s new battle station, the Death Star, to General Obi-Wan Kenobi. At this point Ben Kenobi had built up a sort of reputation on Tatooine as some sort of wizard, so when Luke and the droids found their way to old Ben he assumed correctly that Ben and Obi-Wan were related. R2 showed a recorded message from Rebel leader Princess Leia Amidala requesting General Kenobi’s assistance in returning the plans R2 had stored in his databanks to the Rebel leaders on Alderaan. It was then that Kenobi found his chance to redeem himself. If he could take Luke to the Rebel Alliance and train him in the ways of the Force, he could find redemption for his failure with Anakin. Luke resisted at first, but after the Empire murder Owen and Beru Lars, Luke agreed to leave Tatooine with Kenobi. The two hitched a ride with a scruffy-looking smuggler and his Wookie companion  on their ship the Millenium Falcon and opened the door to a new adventure.

The Death Star

“You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” -Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi, “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”

On the way to Alderaan, Obi-Wan lost no time in beginning Luke’s training, teaching him all he had learned in the Jedi Order. Luke struggled, but proved to be strong in the Force, showing promise early on. During training, Obi-Wan felt a massive disturbance in the Force, and once the group arrived in Alderaan space they soon learned the cause. The Empire’s Death Star (totally not a bad-guy thing to name a space station) was operational and had destroyed the planet, killing the entire population. Captain Solo attempted to leave the system, but the Falcon was locked on by the space station’s tractor beam.

Thinking quickly, the group split up. Luke, Han, Chewbacca and the droids went to save Princess Leia, who was being held captive in the space station, while Kenobi went to deactivate the tractor beams. However, Darth Vader, Kenobi’s old padawan, was also on the Death Star, and sensed Kenobi’s presence. As Han, Chewie, and Luke rescued the Princess and headed back to the Falcon, Kenobi facilitated their escape by facing off against his old friend one last time.

Kenobi vs. Vader.jpg

The last time Kenobi and Vader had seen each other, Obi-Wan had left Vader, still a man made mostly of flesh and bone, dismembered and burning on the banks of a river of lava on Mustafar. The two had been in their prime at that point, but now Kenobi was an old man who had lived for almost two decades in hiding on a desert planet and Vader was a seven foot cyborg fueled by hatred and the dark side. While this lightsaber fight was not as flashy as their battle on that lava planet, it served its purpose. Vader was distracted long enough for the Millenium Falcon to escape with its crew. Vader defeated his old master, however it is worth noting that either the moment that Vader’s lightsaber touched Kenobi, or perhaps just before, Obi-Wan disappeared. Leaving nothing but a pile of clothing and a lightsaber where the former Jedi master had stood before.

Lessons from Beyond the Grave

“The Force will be with you, always.” -Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi, “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hop”

This marked the end of Obi-Wan’s life, but Obi-Wan had presumably trained for years in the deserts of Tatooine under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn so he could learn the method of transcending death through the Force. When the Rebel Alliance’s base on Yavin IV was targeted by the Death Star, Luke was the last fighter who could make the critical shot to destroy the moon-sized space station. As an experienced pilot, Luke relied on the targeting computers of his X-wing starfighter. It was at this moment in the Alliance’s most desperate hour that Obi-Wan reached out to Luke through the Force, urging him to use the mystical energy field to make the shot. Kenobi’s advice got through, and Luke was able to destroy the battle station. While this was a key moment in Luke’s journey to become a Jedi, Luke believed that he was going crazy and hearing voices for the longest time, until he almost froze to death on Hoth.

Go to Dagobah.png

On Hoth, Luke was attacked by a vicious wampa. Due to his training and growth in the ways of the Force, Luke was able to escape from the beast, but almost froze to death in the process. While he was in the frozen tundra, Kenobi appeared to Luke, telling him to seek Jedi Master Yoda on Dagobah. While Luke knew he was probably just seeing things, he decided to investigate, setting his course to the Dagobah system.

On Dagobah, Luke found Yoda, who was worried that if he trained the boy Luke would end up like his father. Again, Kenobi intervened in disembodied voice form to plead to Yoda to train Luke. Yoda agreed, and carried out Luke’s training. Obi-Wan appeared as a ghost once again, when Luke, not yet fully trained, wanted to face Vader to defend his friends against a perceived threat. Obi-Wan pleaded for Luke to think twice, but Luke, being a Skywalker, did what Skywalkers do best: not listening to Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Luckily, Luke survived, but only after learning the truth about his father, finding out that Kenobi had lied when he said that Vader killed Anakin. After this confrontation, Luke continued his training with Yoda, eventually becoming a full-fledged Jedi Knight. Soon after his training was complete, Luke watched as Yoda passed on, also disappearing with no trace but a pile of clothing. It was then that Obi-Wan returned once again, wishing to comfort Luke after the loss of his master. Luke confronted Obi-Wan, wishing to get an answer as to why Obi-Wan kept this secret from Luke. Obi-Wan answered with what might be the lamest excuse: “So what I told you was true from a certain point of view.” That’s kind of a lame answer. It was hear that Obi-Wan told Luke what he must do: kill Darth Vader and the Emperor and restore balance to the Force.

I will say this: Obi-Wan Kenobi must have been so proud when Luke was able to instead of killing Vader, bring him back to the light side. Luke was able to bring back Kenobi’s old friend and destroy the Sith, as well as thwart the Empire’s plans for a second Death Star (because the first one worked so well). While Kenobi may have failed with Anakin Skywalker, he found redemption in Luke. The young Skywalker not only brought his father to the light, but saved the galaxy in the process. The last time we see Obi-Wan Kenobi, he is smiling along with Yoda and Anakin, once again reunited with his old friends.

Force Ghost

Fan Theory: Rey Kenobi

While this marks the end of Kenobi’s story so far, he was featured recently in “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” during Rey’s vision. During this vision you can hear Kenobi saying “Rey…these are your first steps.” Due to this, many fans have circulated the theory that Obi-Wan Kenobi is either Rey’s father or, more likely, her grandfather. I want to address this theory because it directly addresses Kenobi’s character traits. While I think it would be cool to see a grudge match between Obi-Wan’s granddaughter and Darth Vader’s grandson (Kylo Ren), I do not personally believe this theory is credible. There are two main reasons: 1. Obi-Wan was above all, a Jedi. Even though his years on Tatooine were difficult, I do not believe that Kenobi would have left the tenants of the Jedi Order so easily. 2. Yoda’s voice was also featured in this scene, so by the same logic, Rey is somehow related to Yoda, which seeing as she is not a 3-foot green alien seems unlikely. Now, it’s still possible that Rey is a Kenobi, but I just wanted to go on the record that I disagree with this theory.

Conclusion

So now we have the full (so far) Kenobi saga. From padawan to Force ghost. Obi-Wan is one of my favorite Star Wars characters, so I hope I have done him justice. I want to thank everyone who has read the last few posts and I really hope you have enjoyed them. Next week, I will be discussing everyone’s favorite dinner conversation topic: politics. I will discuss the workings of the Republic, Imperial, and New Republic Senates. Thanks for reading, and remember, the Force will be with you, always.

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