Obi-Wan Kenobi has gone through a transformation since the Disney+ series first aired. After Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan isolated himself and looked after Luke Skywalker to ensure his safety. The creators of this series have taken this simple notion of being an onlooker into something much more satisfying.
Obi-Wan Kenobi generates doubt, trauma and pain for the older Jedi master. There isn’t an abundance of hope, if any at all, left in Obi-Wan’s life. He’s meant to watch over Luke, but doing so has left him vulnerable to everything. He doesn’t help a Jedi seeking his aid. He refuses Senator Organa’s request to rescue Leia. His sole purpose of keeping Luke safe withholds his lifelong purpose as a Jedi of helping others who need it.
This stark change in such a beloved character is heartbreaking to see, but fans begin to watch Obi-Wan slowly phase back into something more than where he started from episode 1. This shift in his overall sense of doing what’s right and using his lightsaber comes down to much more than being a Force-wielder. He’s finding his way back to being what he’d been prior to the Empire’s rise to power: being better than Anakin Skywalker.
How does Obi-Wan Kenobi find his way back to being a leader?
Obi-Wan Kenobi has given us great new characters, while revealing intimate details of characters we’ve all adored for a long time. Darth Vader is more devastatingly vile than previously seen on the big or small screen. Obi-Wan is much more fearful of past mistakes, which has led to the monster Vader has become. Although Anakin’s turn shouldn’t be blamed on Obi-Wan, Anakin only sees it that way.
In the darkness, though, comes the light. Obi-Wan Kenobi has brought amazing supporting characters who have helped shine the idea that people still need help in the world. Yes, Obi-Wan needs to look after Luke, but shutting himself away from everything does not make the galaxy a better place. He can still contribute and look after others and have a defining purpose that vastly outweighs any vengeance Vader hopes to seek.
The first couple of episodes highlight Obi-Wan without using his lightsaber. He’s able to wield the Force enough to save Leia from falling off a roof, but it’s clear his abilities as a Jedi are buried somewhere deep. When he faces off against Vader in episode 3, Obi-Wan casts the gleaming blue lightsaber and yet he tries to run and hide to give Leia enough time to escape. He’s outmatched by Vader who hasn’t taken a decade off from the Force or fighting with a lightsaber.
Episode 4 gives fans a look at Obi-Wan defending blaster fire with his lightsaber, while constantly getting better with his accuracy throughout. However, when rebel support flies in to rescue them, he pulls out a blaster to defend himself rather than his lightsaber. Is he not confident in his abilities? Does he not believe in the ways of the Jedi to where using his old weapon has become irrelevant? Is there another reason why he’s hesitant to use his lightsaber at all costs?
Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 5 shines a light on the Jedi master’s way of thinking
Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 5 starts with an amazing flashback. Although brief, the entire episode comes back to a sequence of Obi-Wan and Anakin training together. It shows Anakin’s potential and what seems to be superior fighting skills, but as the episode moves along, it becomes clear why Obi-Wan is and has been afraid to move forward. He’s afraid of the decisions he’s made, but his judgment is one of his greatest strengths.
Obi-Wan has dealt with such a traumatic experience, knowing what Anakin did to younglings, while seeing the Empire dominate the galaxy after the Jedi were defeated. He’s succumbed to that defeat, but it’s wonderful characters like Tala, played by Indira Varma, who serve as a constant reminder of why good people fight for good. They fight to help others who can’t fend for themselves. The rebellion serves a purpose to help those from being brutalized by the empire, including Leia who was kidnapped and then rescued by Obi-Wan, Tala and others.
Episode 5 explains how Obi-Wan is trying to get Anakin to learn how to think for himself. He’s trying to make Anakin understand the lightsaber is not something to depend on like a crutch. There’s much more to being a Jedi than depending on weapons. When Obi-Wan is asked how he’s going to fight Vader without one, he reveals, “There are other ways to fight.” And there it is. Maybe he hasn’t been afraid of using the Force or his lightsaber. He’s obviously rusty, but maybe he’s been afraid to make choices that could lead to ultimate devastation.
Fortunately, when faced with seeing people in harm’s way, General Kenobi comes back to the fray. He starts making decisions and using his voice to ensure people understand what needs to be done to survive. He doesn’t back down. He engages. The best part is realizing his mind is equally brilliant as his heart is kind. Obi-Wan wants to protect Leia and help others escape certain death from Vader’s wrath. He knows Anakin too well and Obi-wan decides to become what he has been and always will be.
Obi-Wan is the light in which Anakin could never see. Even as Darth Vader, darkness, pride and revenge have only been amplified, washing away most of any good left within. Obi-Wan Kenobi gives fans a deep dive into the title character’s purpose and how he operates. He doesn’t depend on the lightsaber to defend himself. He thinks before he acts. He speaks when others need guidance. And, above all else, Obi-Wan wants to help good people and be there to rescue them from the pains of his past.
What do you think about Obi-Wan not depending on the lightsaber? Does it make sense for him to “get back on the horse” with making decisions rather than wielding weapons? Share your thoughts in the comments below!