Why the Path is important in Obi-Wan Kenobi

(L): Haja Estree (Kumail Nanjiani) in Lucasfilm's OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.
(L): Haja Estree (Kumail Nanjiani) in Lucasfilm's OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved. /

Warning: This article contains spoilers for episodes 1-3 of Obi-Wan Kenobi

The third episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi revealed the existence of a network known as the Path. As explained by Indira Varma’s character Tala Durith, the Path helps Jedi and Force-sensitive children hide from the Empire through a network of safehouses throughout the galaxy, such as the one Tala takes Obi-Wan and Leia to on Mapuzo. The safehouses lead to the planet Jabiim where new identities are given to those in need of a fresh start and a new life where they won’t be found by the Empire.

In addition to the former Imperial officer Tala, the audience also knows that Kumail Nanjiani’s con man character Haja Estree and Jedi survivor Quinlan Vos are involved with the Path. Haja used the Path to send a mother and her Force-sensitive child to safety in the second episode, along with helping Obi-Wan and Leia reach Tala on Mapuzo. In the third episode, Obi-Wan discovered that Quinlan Vos was at the safehouse on Mapuzo at one point, with Tala sharing that Quinlan sometimes helps with smuggling younglings to safety.

Why the Path is important in Obi-Wan Kenobi

Beyond helping Obi-Wan and Leia get out of trouble, the Path is important to Obi-Wan’s character growth and the themes of the series. As fans heard in the teaser trailer and as Obi-Wan told Benny Safdie’s character Nari in the first episode, “The fight is done. We lost.”

Obi-Wan has been haunted by his mistakes and has let those mistakes define him. He feels like a failure and that there is nothing that he or anyone else can do to make things right again.

The Path is helping Obi-Wan see that just because costly mistakes have been made, doesn’t mean that the fight is over and that there’s nothing to be done. Three of the people fans know are part of the Path–Tala, Haja, and Quinlan–are all people who have made mistakes.

Tala joined the Empire and became an Imperial officer. Quinlan made mistakes during the events of the novel Dark Disciple, even succumbing to the dark side for a time. The specifics of Haja’s mistakes have not been explicitly stated, though he presumably conned people even if it meant hurting them, thus why he is now working so hard to make amends.

Obi-Wan can learn from these individuals and from the Path that regardless of the mistakes one makes, it is never too late to find redemption and to make a difference.  If a fellow Jedi who succumbed to the dark side, a former Imperial officer, and a con man can grow from their mistakes and help others in need, so can Obi-Wan.

Obi-Wan realizes that not only have many of the surviving Jedi and their allies not given up, but they’re taking risks and actively working to protect the galaxy as best they as they can during this dangerous and difficult time.

Accepting and embracing these lessons will help Obi-Wan no longer be the broken man he is now and to instead become the wise, hopeful Jedi with a sense of peace and purpose who fans see in the Star Wars Rebels episode “Twins Suns” and in A New Hope.

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Parallels to the High Republic

It was revealed during the April episode of The High Republic Show that the upcoming High Republic novel Path of Deceit will feature an extremist organization on the planet Dalna called the Path of the Open Hand. Led by a character known as The Mother, this group believes that no one should use the Force, especially the Jedi Order.

It is ironic that the Path in Obi-Wan Kenobi is dedicated to helping those who used the Force, from Jedi to Force-sensitive children. While the groups have opposite agendas, their beliefs are both considered extremist during their respective time periods.

When the Jedi are at the height of their power in the High Republic and the Force is seen as something to be embraced, the Path of the Open Hand’s anti-Force views are extremist. At the height of the Empire during Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Force is mostly feared and hidden, which makes the Path’s assistance to Jedi and Force-sensitive children extremist for this time period.

There will always be those who reject the status quo. During the High Republic era, the Path of the Open Hand will seemingly reject the status quo on the Force for their own twisted agenda while the Path during Obi-Wan Kenobi rejects the status quo to help those in need.

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