Marvel’s Obi-Wan Comics Are Everything We Want in a Star Wars Movie
Of all the characters in Star Wars canon, Obi-Wan is the one with the most ready-made timegap to fill with untold stories. What does a Jedi get up to while guarding Darth Vader’s kid on a backwater scumhive like Tatooine? How do you keep that kind of secret for 20 years? How did Ewan McGregor rapidly age into Alec Guiness? All of these questions are worth answering, and that’s what makes the prospect of an Obi-Wan movie so tantalizing.
You know how I know this place and time in the Star Wars universe has potential? Because Marvel has already proved it. The flagship Star Wars comic mostly revolves around Luke, Han and Leia’s activities just after A New Hope, but there are a few flashback issues that tell tales from Obi-Wan’s journal. In issues #7, #15 and #20, writer Jason Aaron and artists like Simone Bianchi, Mike Mayhew and Justin Ponsor came together to tell some fantastic stories about a lonely warrior-turned-hermit whose sworn duty is the galaxy’s best-kept secret.
While making sure Tatooine’s ruffians don’t mess with the Lars homestead sounds easy enough for a Jedi, it’s made a little tougher by the fact that he has to keep his existence a secret. Well okay, it’s not that tough. Dopey goons don’t stand much of a chance against invisible magic powers.
Obi-Wan is privately thrilled that he finally got to kick some ass and feel like himself again instead of a dusty shut-in, but as we learn later in this mini-arc, there are some pretty steep consequences for intervention.
In one issue we see Obi-Wan watching/spying/creeping on young Luke flying a T-16 skyhopper like a pro. Obi beams with pride, delighted to see just how much Luke is like his father. Though he wishes he could be training him, Obi settles on buying some skyhopper parts from Jawas and having them deliver the “gift” anonymously. If he can’t be a part of Luke’s life, Old Ben figures he could at least make his would-be padawan’s life a little better.
But it doesn’t really work that way. Luke might not know where those freebies came from, but Uncle Owen sure does — and he’s pissed. Grabbing the box of parts, Owen shows up at Ben’s door and shows him what he thinks about Luke having the slightest hint of a Jedi’s influence.
That’s pretty rough, especially because it’s all true. Obi-Wan was trying to encourage Luke in part because he reminded him of his old friend and student, Anakin. But as Owen points out, things didn’t end well for Ben’s last ward. And Owen doesn’t even know the worst part: Obi-Wan’s padawan didn’t die. Instead, Anakin was corrupted and eventually turned into Darth Vader, who even at this point in the timeline has caused an immense amount of pain and suffering. You can see that failure crease Obi-Wan’s face, illustrated so perfectly by Mayhew. He blames himself for letting a cyborg monster wreak havoc across the stars, the same man Obi-Wan trained, the same man Obi-Wan couldn’t finish off after their climactic battle. And yet, Old Ben is holding onto a single shred of optimism. Maybe this time things will be different. They have to be. Otherwise, what else is left?
Should an Obi-Wan movie go forward, that core emotional struggle between the fear of repeating past mistakes and holding on to hope for the future would be about as compelling a theme as a space opera could ask for.
I know that’s maybe a little too heavy, but don’t worry, it definitely gets more Star Warsy from there. Ready for one of the best premises in all of fiction? “Jabba the Hutt is infuriated by Obi-Wan meddling in his plans, so he sends an evil Wookie bounty hunter named Black Krrsantan to get revenge.” Hell yes.
Thrilling as this might be, we all know where it ends up. Obi-Wan doesn’t die here — he has to live to disappear into some robes on the Death Star so Vader can smoosh them around with his feet. We know that Obi-Wan is successful at protecting Luke and his family, at least until the events of A New Hope. Star Wars history has already been written — anything taking place between Episodes is essentially scribbling in the margins.
But then again, if an Obi-Wan movie fills gaps in the timeline with scenes like this, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world:
I know I’m not complaining.