Obi Wan Kenobi is an immensely important character in the Star Wars franchise, but also one who has an incredible story to tell outside the eleven canon Star Wars movies. That is what Obi-Wan Kenobi, the upcoming Disney + show about the old Jedi master, promises to do. The show is aiming to show its titular character in a darker place as he is currently still dealing with the grief and guilt of training Anakin who joined with Palpatine and destroyed the Jedi Order. A guilt the show promises to tackle directly with the confirmation of Hayden Christensen returning as Anakin.
However, there’s also a whole wealth of other material, both in current canon and legends, that tell us about the life and times of Master Kenobi, from the Star Wars TV show The Clone Wars to the comic book series Obi Wan and Anakin. According to the official Star Wars websitethis also includes a comic book series that is releasing in May alongside the TV series that follows a similar story of Obi-Wan on Tatooine. Perhaps one of the most insightful sources of information about Old Ben are the Star Wars books. In fact, they include some deep dives into the character that may very well give us an idea of what the Disney + series will do with Obi-Wan.
Kenobi by John Jackson Miller
Kenobi, written by John Jackson Miller, tells the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi in exile in Tatooine, much like the Disney + show. In the novel, Obi-Wan has arrived on the desert planet very recently and tries to lie low, but he finds himself embroiled in the local problems despite his attempts to remain isolated. Despite being part of the Legends canon, as opposed to the Disney canon, it can still give key clues as to what Obi-Wan may have to face on Tattoine. For one, it’s likely the Disney show will have Kenobi interact with Tatooine settlers in much the same way: conflicted between helping them and his mission to keep Luke safe. In the novel, there is also a heavy exploration of the Tuskens. It’s also likely that the show will explore, similarly, how Obi-Wan became “crazy” old Ben to the settlers.The shows on Disney + seem to be keen to explore themselves, even, according to Colliderbringing on Troy Kostur to create a sign language for them.
But perhaps the most important thing that the Kenobi novel can shed light on is the drama and emotions the character is going through during his stay on Tatooine, a time which is going to be very bleak for the Jedi Master for the most part. Obi-Wan Kenobi is a Jedi Master who is used to action and helping those in need. During the book, he finds that he can no longer be that Jedi and, in fact, any action he takes to help people jeopardizes his mission to watch over Luke. What’s more, he has to deal with the guilt associated with training Anakin. If you want to understand the mindset of Obi-Wan during his time in remote Tatooine ahead of Disney +’s May release for the show, then this book is a very good choice.
Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray
Master and Apprentice, written by Claudia Gray, tells the story of Qui Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi as they strive to resolve a dispute on a world while trying to mend their own differences as a Padawan and Jedi Master. As opposed to Kenobiwhere Obi-Wan is at the beginning of the end of his story, Master and Apprentice is the starting point of that journey. During Master and Apprentice, much of the groundwork of who Obi-Wan is and why he becomes the by-the-book Jedi he becomes is laid. We see that straight-and-narrow attitude clashing with Qui Gon’s dedication to good, regardless of the Jedi Code. In the Star Wars series, Obi Wan will be challenged because being without that structure will be unfamiliar to him, and without an order to belong to, Obi-Wan has been robbed of much of the guidance and purpose he once had. Qui Gon’s relationship with Obi-Wan is also important as he is a character fans are likely to want to see return in the show.
One other detail in Master and Apprentice that’s very relevant is the idea of the Jedi Prophecies. These prophecies are explored in the book and are eventually what lead Qui Gon to decide to take Anakin under his wing, which, in turn, leads Obi-Wan to mentor the young Force user when their master dies. Now Obi-Wan is responsible for someone he believes will bring balance to the Force once more in the form of Luke Skywalker. Those old prophecies, which kicked off all these events, will be very relevant given they are what Obi-Wan is putting his faith into.
From a Certain Point of View
From a Certain Point of View is an anthology of short stories based on moments from A New Hope except each is told from a different “point of view”. Obi-Wan stars in a few of these, but the three most important ones are ‘Master and Apprentice’, ‘Rites’, and ‘Time of Death’. ‘Rites’ follows the story of the Tuskens that attacked Luke, with Obi-Wan coming in to stop them. Here, his strange reputation for being a mystic is seen as the Tuskens regard Kenobi as a sort of Shaman, letting the audience see a bit of his reputation outside of being Old Ben on Tatooine. It’s likely, if the show is going to have Tusken characters, that this reputation as a strange wizard will be important. This is also the first canon appearance of the Tusken known as A’Yark, who was a major character in Kenobi. It’s possible that A’Yark, since she was canonized in this story, may make an appearance in the Disney + show. The story is even written by the same author as Kenobi: John Jackson Miller.
‘Master and Apprentice’ and ‘Time of Death’ deal with the same topics: Obi Wan’s mentorship of Luke and his eventual death. In ‘Master and Apprentice,’ written by Claudia Gray who wrote the novel of the same name, Qui Gon and Obi-Wan have their last conversation before Obi-Wan’s death, with the former manifesting as a force ghost. This element of Star Wars mysticism is almost certainly going to be explored in the Disney + show as the end of Obi-Wan’s journey is to become one with the force itself. In ‘Time of Death’, written by Cavan Scott, we see that transition from human to force ghost when the old Jedi Master is killed by Darth Vader’s lightsaber. Both stories show Obi-Wan at the end of his mortal life, something which the series will have to prepare audiences for as almost everyone knows what happens to Kenobi during his fateful duel on the Death Star. Critically, by this point, Obi-Wan knows he is going to die even before the steps onto the Death Star and that he will “become more powerful” than Darth Vader can imagine.
All these novels reveal key pieces of what goes into Obi-Wan’s character and his storyline thus far, which will make seeing Ewan McGregor return to portray him even more special.
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