How much of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi should be flashbacks?

Obi-Wan Kenobi. Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm. 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd ™ . All Rights Reserved
Obi-Wan Kenobi. Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm. 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd ™ . All Rights Reserved /

With Obi-Wan Kenobi slated as the next Star Wars television series, speculation about the show continues to intensify. One of the common points of speculation has been that the series will feature numerous flashbacks, particularly flashbacks from the Clone Wars era.

This speculation is rooted in the fact that both Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen are confirmed to be in the show, rumors of de-aging technology being used, and the hopes of Clone Wars fans.

There is definitely merit to having some flashbacks in this show. Yet, an overabundance of flashbacks could be more hurtful than helpful to the show and given what little fans know about the series, it is unlikely.

The last Star Wars television series The Book of Boba Fett relied heavily on flashbacks because the audience needed to know who Boba Fett had become and how and why he had changed so much since the original trilogy. There were a lot of gaps to be filled in between Return of the Jedi and his return in The Mandalorian.

Fans already know who Obi-Wan Kenobi was during the Clone Wars and they know he has been living in hiding on Tatooine as he watches over young Luke Skywalker from afar. There are already movies, 7 seasons of The Clone Wars, and both current and upcoming comics and novels that cover this.

There is not a need for numerous Clone Wars flashbacks and for flashbacks in general as fans know how Obi-Wan got to this point. The question is who he is now–10 years after Revenge of the Sith–and why this particular point in his exile and watching over Luke is an important story worth telling.

It is more interesting to explore Obi-Wan at a time of his life that has barely been explored in canon. His character during The Clone Wars has already been thoroughly explored, as has his relationship with Anakin during that time.

Instead of retreading old ground, show new sides of Obi-Wan, Darth Vader, and a time when the Empire is in control without strong opposition or resistance. A flashback needs to provide new insight and direct bearing on something happening with Obi-Wan or Darth Vader in the present story of the show.

For example, The Mandalorian had Clone Wars-era flashbacks of when Separatist droids killed Din Djarin’s parents and young Din was saved by Death Watch. The flashbacks worked because they provided new insight and had a direct bearing on Din’s story and his character development, they were only used briefly, and they filled in some important gaps.

Fans also need to keep in mind that Kenobi has been referred to by as a “limited series” and is reportedly only going to have 6 episodes. No matter how long the episodes are, there is not enough time to do extensive flashbacks and go in-depth with the present story of Obi-Wan protecting Luke, facing Darth Vader, and everything else that it will entail in a mere 6 episodes.

A flashback or two could provide more context and emotion, especially when it comes to the relationship of Obi-Wan and Vader, but too much reliance on flashbacks could take away from the main story. While anything is possible, fans need to brace themselves for the possibility that there will not be many flashbacks, even from the Clone Wars era, and that this might actually be a good thing.

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Obi-Wan Kenobi will premiere exclusively on Disney+ on May 25, 2022.