“Stay hidden.” It’s a line Star Wars fans have heard many times now, usually in reference to Obi-Wan Kenobi’s warning to the Jedi survivors after Order 66 to stay away from the Jedi Temple. It has an even deeper meaning in the context of Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series, where Kenobi is far from the only one playing two distinct roles at once.
Ten years after the fall of the Republic and the Jedi Order, it’s too dangerous for Obi-Wan to be who he really is. So he becomes Ben, a quiet man who mostly keeps to himself on Tatooine. We all expected this when the show began — we met a similar version of the character all the way back in A New Hope.
What many didn’t see coming were the other characters going to great lengths to hide themselves in plain sight. Not just the other Jedi survivors and sympathizers. But Leia and her parents, too. No one knows where Leia truly comes from — not even her. And taking things even further, hiding from the Empire as she tries to find her way back home with Obi-Wan’s help, she becomes a motherless child named Luma. She is playing a character, completely unaware that she herself is in some ways already an alternate version of her true self.
And let’s not ignore Darth Vader, possibly the more obvious but still widely overlooked man in hiding in this series. Very few people know Vader was Anakin Skywalker, or that in some regard he still is beneath all his scars. Reva knows. Ben knows. No one else can know.
Tala. Leia. Vader. Obi-Wan. The list goes on. And while you may be inclined to think this means Obi-Wan is a show about hiding, what it really does is speak to a much larger theme across Star Wars storytelling: Only when you stop hiding do you uncover what you need to defeat the shadows that held you back all that time.
Obi-Wan Kenobi stars Ewan McGregor with appearances by Hayden Christensen and Kumail Nanjiani and is directed by Deborah Chow, who previously directed an episode of The Mandalorian. The series is streaming now exclusively on Disney+.
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