In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, and in conjunction with this month’s Star Wars ComLINK topic, I decided it would be fun to write about one of my favorite couples from the galaxy far, far away. Now, on one level, I am a fan of every couple that has appeared in Star Wars, though a few certainly stand out more than others. However, there is one that not only stunned me when I learned of it, but has left me mining the depths of the imagination, picturing what these two were like together. The couple:
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Satine Kryze
You see, when I first watched The Clone Wars episode “Voyage of Temptation” years ago, it came as a delightful shock that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Duchess Satine had, once upon a time, been very close to one another. In that episode, we learn that long before the events of The Phantom Menace, padawan Kenobi and his Master Qui-Gon Jinn had protected Satine for a year, always on the run from forces that would have brought harm to her. While “Voyage of Temptation” provides very little direct information about their time on the run, it does give us a profound understanding of the feelings Satine and Obi-Wan felt for one another during that time, feelings that clearly persisted. These feelings are on full display during the climax of the episode when Satine admits that she has loved Obi-Wan from the moment she met him. In turn, Kenobi acknowledges that had she “said the word” he would have left the Jedi Order to be with her.
Wow! Wow Wow Wow!!!
Every time I watch the climactic moment in “Voyage of Temptation” when this exchange takes place, I get chills, my mind exploding with thoughts and questions. While it is only Satine who uses the word “love” in that instance, Kenobi’s admission is proof that he too loved her. Obi-Wan Kenobi LOVED Satine Kryze. LOVED HER! And yet, he didn’t leave the Jedi Order for her. Had SHE said the word, he would have done so, but he could not make the decision himself. Love her he may have, but his commitment to the Jedi Order, to non-attachment, was, in the end, the stronger bond.
It would be easy to criticize Obi-Wan for that decision, for placing all the burden on the shoulders of Satine, but I can only imagine the internal struggle Kenobi experienced, torn between his feelings for Satine and his commitment to the Order. Still, hearing how Kenobi talks about his close-ness to Satine throughout “Voyage of Temptation” is none-the-less difficult. We all, at some point, experience a similar struggle in life, having to make the hard decision of choosing the direction of our lives and having to live with the decision(s) we make. I feel for Kenobi, and admire his commitment to the Jedi Order, but in saying that I am still left wondering – what could have been?
Imagining what could have been is a far cry different than imaging what their time together was like, though. I’m not the only Star Wars fan who has been left wondering about the young love Obi-Wan and Satine shared in their past. In fact, I have hoped for a while that we would eventually be given the story about their time on the run, that we would be allowed to experience their short-lived relationship.
And yet, the more I have thought about it, the more I have come to feel that any “official” or “canonical” account of their time together is just unnecessary. “Voyage of Temptation” does a fantastic job establishing the former intimacy of Obi-Wan and Satine, but it does so in a minimal way, without over-explaining that intimacy. Instead, we are given smaller, more subtle clues to help us understand, just a little, about their feelings, both past and present.
So we hear Obi-Wan speak longingly of his time with Satine, and with a sense of disappointment when he describes his duty was to the Jedi Order. We hear the inflection in Satine’s voice, and can see the expression on her face, as she confesses her love for him. We see Kenobi’s demeanor change when he hears her say this and he admits he would have left the Order for her. We are allowed to share in an intimate moment when Satine gently places her hand on his cheek, admitting that she is unsure of his beard because it hides his handsome face. Moments like these allow us to piece together a picture, even a small one, of their past.
And while that picture may not be fully complete, it also doesn’t need to be. Natural as it may be to want to know more about their history, I find it far more moving to imagine them growing and maturing in their feelings as they spent that year together. That said, if a story is ever written that adds to this duos intriguing relationship, I just hope it is short and subtle, giving us no more than a hand on the cheek, or a kiss on the hand.
Speaking of a kiss on the hand, I almost forgot to mention it. The kiss, depicted in the feature image at the top of this post, takes place in the season 5 episode entitled “The Lawless.” I shall spare you all the background details, but this particular episode is difficult because we, along with Kenobi, look on helplessly as Darth Maul stabs Satine through the gut. Held in Kenobi’s arms after she is stabbed, Satine looks at up at him, gently touching his cheek, and reminds him, just before she dies, that she will always love him. In turn, he lifts her hand to his bearded face and softly kisses it. Just thinking about this scene gives me chills, and I can no more put my feelings about it into words than you could. But I will say this – that final, intimate moment between Obi-Wan and Satine is perfect, even though it hurts like hell to watch.