Obi-Wan Kenobi was sent to Tatooine to watch over Luke and learn to commune with Qui-Gon Jinn through the Force. When the series opened up, he is struggling to make contact with his former Master, and he is having recurring nightmares of his fight with Anakin 10 years ago. Kenobi’s ultimate failure has manifested into his deepest fear, which is preventing him from connecting with the Force on a level that is required to see his Master’s Force Ghost.
Reva finds herself on Tatooine, which is where her character debuted in “Part I.” She has something to say: that she is looking for farmer Owen. She recently learned about his connection via holographic message left by Senator Bail Organa for Obi-Wan.
Meanwhile, Darth Vader has ordered his officers to increase firepower, as his Star Destroyer chases down Kenobi and crew’s ship. Roken puts on a brave front by suggesting Tessen as a destination for refuge, but admits to Obi-Wan that the ship is in rough shape. With a dusty motivator and bad power couplings, it is clear that the protectors of the Path need a miracle.
Owen and Luke are in town to replace a belt for their speeder (for which Owen blames Luke), when a man comes to inform them of the imminent danger. This tells a lot about Uncle Owen’s character – the elevated status he has earned from his reputation among the townspeople.
The Lone (But Not Last) Jedi
There is a great deal of shock when Kenobi announces his departure to lure Vader, not the least from which is Leia. He tells everyone they have spent 10 years protecting Jedi and that he wishes to return the favor. He entrusts Haja with returning Leia home.
Owen and Beru are battening down the hatches, with Luke’s Aunt making the executive decision that they will defend their home from the invader. Leia wants Ben to promise he will come back while he gives her Tala’s holster and tells her she would’ve wanted her to have it.
Without getting a response, Obi-Wan attempts to tell Qui-Gon that he must face Vader until one of them is gone. Roken suspects Obi-Wan’s mission is deeper, suggesting that the conflict is all about the two of them. Kenobi commends Roken for his great leadership and takes off in an escape craft.
Despite the Grand Inquisitor’s position that the Path is a higher-value target than a lone Jedi, Darth Vader makes the order to follow Kenobi. This is that obsession, where Anakin is reacting out of emotion rather than following the machinations of a cold-hearted killer, as clearly the existence of the Path is more threatening to the Empire than the existence of a seemingly washed-up Jedi.
Round 3: Fight!
The two confrontations are ramping up as Uncle Owen warns Luke that the Tuskens are raiding again, and even though he is not afraid he is told to run at the first sign of trouble. The Dark Lord of the Sith tells his officers that he will face Kenobi alone, and takes his Imperial Shuttle down to the planet where his former Master awaits.
The rematch for the ages is afoot! Darth Vader asks Obi-Wan if he has come to destroy him, and just as he had told Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, he replies with “I will do what I must.” What follows is Ewan McGregor’s classic Jedi pose, which serves as reminder that this is a return to form for the great Jedi Master.
Will the return of the old Obi-Wan Kenobi be enough to vanquish this powerful Sith Lord? We’ve seen how far the need for revenge can take someone, but Kenobi’s failure has been haunting him since their last confrontation. The fight with Vader is quite the spectacle, however, in which the lightsaber choreography is firing on all cylinders.
On Tatooine, Reva is doing some haunting of her own, as she stalks the inhabitants of Lars’ Homestead in search of this boy. Owen and Beru are able to put up a fight against this severely injured inquisitor, but the ferocity with which she moves through their home is something out of the horror film The Terminator (1984). The attacker appears conflicted, as she questions why Owen would go to such lengths to protect a boy that isn’t his – except that Luke’s Uncle does feel responsible for his nephew.
Rise (to the Occasion)
Obi-Wan is strong with the Force once again, as Vader points out, yet his Padawan also taunts him with his weakness and claims that he will always lose because of it. Darth Vader displays incredible Dark Side power as he splits the ground beneath Kenobi and attempts to bury him alive. He leaves him beneath the rubble with the following words: “Did you truly think that you could defeat me? You have failed, Master.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi is using his Force abilities to prevent the rocks from crushing him, as he recalls all that he has been through with Anakin. Once he centers himself; he is reminded of Leia and Luke, the strong connections he has made since his exile on Tatooine, and the responsibility that he has to their protection. He becomes one with the Force and blasts the rocks above him so that he can get back to the fight at hand.
In what could be considered peak performance from this seasoned Jedi Master, Obi-Wan uses the Force in astonishing ways to elevate all of the rocks around him and pelt Darth Vader with them relentlessly. As we have seen Kenobi get the better of Anakin previously, we see him succeed again and slash Vader’s helmet to reveal Anakin’s scarred face.
It is here where Obi-Wan tries to apologize for his hand in creating a monster, yet Darth Vader admits that he alone is responsible for killing Anakin – confirmation that it is the choice made by the ‘chosen one’ that ultimately led to the downfall of the Jedi and the rise of the Empire.
Meanwhile, Reva is chasing Luke into the desert. Obi-Wan leaves a defeated yet enraged Vader to make it back to Luke, yet Reva has already gotten to him first. With Reva seeing her youngling self in Luke and having flashes of Anakin attacking her at the temple, she cannot bring herself to murder the boy.
Revenge (of the Sith) is NOT the Way
When Kenobi returns to Lars’ homestead, he discovers that Reva has brought an unconscious Luke back from the desert. She confesses her failure to Obi-Wan and fears that she has become like Anakin, but his response is that Reva’s choice to show mercy brings peace to her fallen family. As she discards her lightsaber, he reminds her that they are both free now and that she can choose what she will become next.
Cut to an epic wide shot of Mustafar and Darth Vader’s castle, where the Dark Lord is checking in with his current Master: none other than Emperor Palpatine. He assures him that he will stop at nothing until Kenobi is found, but Darth Sidious views his familial ties to his past as weakness and warns about what might happen to him if he cannot overcome it. In a shift that is consistent with Vader’s claim that Anakin is truly dead, he reassures his Master that Kenobi means nothing to him.
It is strategic to save Palpatine for the final episode (similar to his role in Return of the Jedi), as Darth Vader’s conquest to face Obi-Wan has been deeply personal and arguably driven by whatever is left of Anakin inside him. Once Vader reconnects with his Master, he is reminded just how trivial such feelings are in the eyes of the Sith and vows to only serve the Emperor.
As the closing shot of Darth Vader evokes nostalgia through the use of the Imperial March in the score, it would be enough to just end the series right here and surely many would be satisfied with what we were given. But alas, this is about Obi-Wan Kenobi’s journey, and we first have to check in with Princess Leia on Alderaan. While Leia rocks Tala’s holster and prepares to rule her own way under the tutelage of Bail Organa, they receive a surprise visit from ‘Old Ben’ and her droid Lola.
Return of the King… er… Jedi!
Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Leia that she is kind-hearted and discerning like her mother, but also passionate and fearless like her father. When asked if she will ever see him again, he reminds her that no one must know or it could endanger them both. He imparts some final words before he returns to Tatooine: “May the Force be with You.”
Ben Kenobi prepares a departure from his cave, and pays one last visit to Owen and Luke on the moisture farm. He tells Owen that he is the only protection he will need from now on. In a surprise moment of generosity, Owen invites Ben to meet Luke where Ben can give him a nice Star Wars toy and a “Hello there” – which, I can’t lie, brought a huge smile to my face.
In what feels like it could have been a post-credit scene, though Star Wars is not accustomed to those in the way that Marvel is, Kenobi finally encounters the ‘Force Ghost’ form of his Master Qui-Gon Jinn. As he leads him off into the twin sunset, so to speak, he advises that his former Padawan was not yet ready to see him prior to this. This makes me think of the quote that Obi-Wan Kenobi found written on the wall from Quinlan Vos in Mapuzo (Part III): “Only when the eyes are closed, can you truly see.”
There are three main journeys observed here in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series: Obi-Wan must reconcile with his past failures in order to become one with the Force and communicate with his Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, on Tatooine. Darth Vader must deal with his obsession to find Obi-Wan and ultimately serve at the right hand of the Emperor. Reva must evaluate her quest for revenge and make a choice as to what length she is willing to take it.
There are certainly parallels to Return of the Jedi when you consider Reva’s decision to spare Luke, as it is Darth Vader himself that makes a similar choice. Vader must commit to Emperor Palpatine’s will if he is to thrive, and to do so he must embrace the notion that Anakin is truly dead. Obi-Wan Kenobi’s guilt & fears are preventing him from advancing to the next stage, and acknowledging that the worst days are behind him will help him accept that he is still able to do good in the galaxy (similar to Tala’s philosophy).
When Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi have their final encounter on the Death Star (A New Hope), Vader says he was still the learner when they last met but now he is the Master. This makes sense given that he was bested once again by his former Master in this series.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is strong in the Force, and this series highlights the journey from losing one’s way, to having the perseverance when it matters to find your way back and in some ways grow even stronger for it. The importance of choice is highlighted here, as each character is defined by the path that they choose to follow. There is inspiration derived from the idea that it is never too late to start making positive decisions and working to make the world a better place.
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