Aunt Beru

Luke Skywalker: The Loss of Innocence

Frantic to return to his homestead to warn his family about an impending Imperial raid, Luke arrives too late. Slowing down in his landspeeder, the young man leaps out and calls to his uncle Owen and aunt Beru as black smoke billows from his burning home. Scanning the destruction, Luke locks eyes on the smoldering carcasses of his guardians. Not only was he too late, but the extermination was absolute. Luke may have expected, as he sped closer to home and could see the smoke on the distant horizon, that he would find the limp bodies of Owen and Beru. But he surely did not expect such an abhorrent scene – the grotesque, distorted skeletons of his loving uncle and aunt. One cannot help but wonder -and certainly the thought must go through Luke’s mind – if his uncle and aunt suffered in their final moments of life, tortured by the pain of being burned alive.

Grotesque
The grotesque corpses of Owen and Beru.

Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

This short but disturbing moment in A New Hope is one that never fails to move and pain me. Admittedly, the event is a narrative necessity, albeit a disturbing one, a way of jettisoning Luke from the confines of his childhood connections into a larger world. Seeking adventure and desiring to leave home, even petitioning his defiant Uncle at dinner the night before to allow him to leave, Luke’s adolescent dreams can not be fulfilled. There is no longer any resistance standing in his way and he can join Obi-Wan Kenobi on his valiant quest to defeat the Empire.

And yet, as the scene concludes with Luke standing there in the quiet desolation of his childhood as the smoke billows and the carcasses continue to smolder, I have always wondered: what did Luke do next?

Skywalker Alone
What did Luke do after this moment?

Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

This is not a question that demands a definitive answer. In fact, I would be furious if the Lucasfilm Story Group was to provide an “official” or “canonical” account regarding Luke’s actions (or his thoughts/feelings) when the scene concludes. On one level, this is because this scene in A New Hope, which we can link with Luke’s sad return to Obi-Wan and his admission that he can now join the Jedi Master’s journey, work with seamless fluidity even though they are separated. We do not need to be told what Luke did in the interval because the narrative intention in A New Hope is to move Luke from one stage of life to the next. The innocence of his childhood is literally destroyed and he will now venture forth into the responsibilities of adulthood.

On another level, any “official” explanation would usurp the imaginative faculties of fans, taking away the opportunity for one to insert their own thoughts and feelings into the heart-wrenching moments before, during, and after Luke arrives. Not knowing what Luke does, or the emotional turmoil he experiences, is in many respects what makes the death of Owen and Beru so powerful. Without explanation, other than the pained look on young Skywalker’s face as he views the carnage of his familiar surroundings, we are left to fill in the gaps, all of which enables our own, individualized connections with Luke, and the film, to flourish.

And so, the question – what did Luke do next? – percolates in my mind precisely because my imaginative faculties, aided by the emotion which the scene evokes inside of me, consistently arrives at a number of possible explanations. Just as I can believe Luke simply turned around, walked back to his speeder and left his home, I can just as easily imagine that Luke feel to the ground and broke down in tears. Or maybe Luke dropped to his knees and screamed, bellowing out the agony and guilt of not being there to protect his loving family.

Perhaps Luke sprung into stoic action, choosing to carefully bury the bodies as he internally contemplated the loss of his innocent and simple life. Digging graves next to those of his great uncle Cliegg and great aunt Shmi, Luke placed the wrapped bodies of uncle Owen and aunt Beru in graves he methodically dug. The burial complete, Luke returned to his land speeder and drove off into the Tatooine desert, taking nothing but the memories of his family, his home, and his youth with him.

Star Wars: Kenobi

“Obi-Wan Kenobi. Obi-Wan… Now, that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time. A long time.” – Ben Kenobi in A New Hope

In my last post, I presented a small picture of what I feel a movie dedicated to Master Yoda could look like. In this post, I want to take my movie-making imagination in the direction of Obi-Wan Kenobi, our favorite desert hermit. The tone and presentation here will be starkly different than the Yoda film, though. Instead of painting you a picture of the progression of the film like I did with Yoda, I am, instead, going to drive home a few key elements that I feel are necessary in a Kenobi film.

Photo Credit: MARVEL Comics - Star Wars Issue #007

Photo Credit: MARVEL Comics – Star Wars Issue #007

Now, I want to mention a few things before jumping into my ideas. First, there has been a lot of speculation about the possibility that the third anthology movie is going to be about Obi-Wan. In fact, Ewan McGregor, who played Obi-Wan in the prequels, has stated his interest in returning to play Obi-Wan. Personally, I would LOVE to see McGregor return to his role as the Jedi. Who knows, perhaps his recent movie, Last Days in the Desert, where he portrays Jesus, is a preview of what’s to come.

Moving along, I also wanted to point out that Issue #007 of the Star Wars comic series focuses exclusively on Obi-Wan. In it, Kenobi’s story is presented in journal form, with Luke reading an entry about Obi-Wan’s time in exile. While I was not overly wowed by the story, the overall tone and feel of the comic does work well, and I would be interested in experiencing more of these journal entries in the future. Plus, it would be cool to SEE Kenobi writing the journal in a film!

The cover for Star Wars: Kenobi (the EU novel) Photo Credit - LucasBooks

The cover for Star Wars: Kenobi (the EU novel)
Photo Credit – LucasBooks

Lastly, there is, as a lot of you may already know, a novel devoted to Kenobi that takes place in between Episode III and Episode IV. Written by John Jackson Miller, it is part of the Expanded Universe (Legends) and, therefore, not canon. Chances are if Miller had written this novel after the dissolution of the Expanded Universe, it would easily be part of the canon (with a few tweaks here and there). Even though it isn’t, it is worth reading.

Now, your feature presentation…

Star Wars: Kenobi

First thing first, there is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that a Kenobi film will be made. Like I already said, McGregor is interested and it just makes sense in my mind to bring a prolific actor like him back into the fold. If I was in charge at Disney/Lucasfilm, I would pay the man anything he wants to get him to reprise the role.

I will talk other actors in a moment.

Now, in terms of time period, the film would take place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. There is a 19 year gap between those movies so a lot of things could certainly happen with Kenobi in that time. The downside, really, is that Alec Guinness, the actor who played Kenobi in the original trilogy, died a number of years ago. This would really limit McGregor to portraying Obi-Wan in the earlier years of exile.

Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan in A New Hope Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan in A New Hope
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Speaking of his exile, the film MUST take place entirely on Tatooine. The reason is simple and two-fold. Most importantly, he is watching over Luke during those 19 years. In Star Wars #007 above, a situation arises with Luke that necessitates Obi-Wan intervening.

Number two, Kenobi, along with Yoda, are in exile for a reason – they are hiding from Sidious and Vader until the time to reappear is the right one. For the safety of the child, and for his own safety, Kenobi has to ensure the utmost discretion and this would mean staying in one place and keeping a low profile.  Again, in the comic, this is presented really well when, in the opening scenes, Ben walks right by some thugs who are beating up a farmer.

Time period, check. Location, check.

Now, at this point, I am not going to start rattling off every minor detail that may or may not happen. No, I am more interested in the big picture, the major pieces of the film that would paint a vivid image of Kenobi and add to the overall mythos of Star Wars.

The Big Picture

  1. Luke, the Lars Family, and Kenobi

The underlying theme that would dominate the film would be Obi-Wan’s guardianship of Luke. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we would need to watch Luke grow up. Yes, we would see a young Luke (maybe 5 or 6) in the film, but it is hardly necessary for Obi-Wan to have constant interaction with the boy. I will let you imagine how these encounters would go, but I think they would be few and far between.

Aunt Beru (holding baby Luke) and uncle Owen Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Aunt Beru (holding baby Luke) and uncle Owen
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Personally, I would be more interested in seeing relationship between Uncle Owen and Obi-Wan. In A New Hope, Owen Lars clearly dislikes Old Ben, and I have often wondered why this was the case. If I put myself in the shoes of Owen and Beru for a moment, I can see them having a real problem with Kenobi hanging around on Tatooine. If the purpose of hiding the child is to keep Luke away from his father (and the Emperor), then Kenobi’s presence could very well attract unwanted attention. Plus, Obi-Wan’s hovering presence would also certainly create a sense of distrust in Owen and Beru, the feeling that Kenobi does not truly believe the Lars family can protect the child.

One way or the other, I would really like to see Aunt Beru (played by Bonnie Piesse) and Uncle Owen (played by Joel Edgerton) get into a heated argument or two with the Jedi Master over Luke’s safety, and the type of presence Kenobi would have in the boy’s life. Let’s just go ahead and note right here that it would be a very small direct presence.

  1. Obi-Wan’s Guilt

Moving along, the second major piece that would run through the film would be Obi-Wan’s struggle with Anakin’s downfall. It is easy to imagine Obi-Wan feeling intense guilt for Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side, and would surely be searching his conscience for answers, trying to understand what he could have done differently. Ultimately, what this would provide the audience is the opportunity to see the otherwise level-headed Jedi Master in moments of true despair and inner turmoil.

Obi-Wan looks down at Anakin, pained expression on his face. Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode II: Revenge of the Sith

Obi-Wan looks down at Anakin, pained expression on his face.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Added to this would be Kenobi’s attempt to reconcile the physical harm he inflicted on Anakin. In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan does not want to confront Anakin, and expresses his desire to confront Palpatine instead. In turn, Obi-Wan not only bests young Skywalker in their duel, he does so by maiming his former apprentice, an act that leads to Anakin’s exothermic misfortune. The thought of killing Anakin was burdensome from the start for Kenobi, the reality of the encounter would indelibly leave a deep scar on Obi-Wan mentally and emotionally.

All told, there would be a number of scenes in the film where Kenobi would struggle with memories and feelings that would leave him emotionally exhausted.

  1. Kenobi and Qui-Gon

Let’s cut right to the chase: a Kenobi film set between Episodes III and IV would need Liam Neeson, the actor who played Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. As I mentioned in my piece on Qui-Gon, Neeson has reprised the role in a number of episodes of The Clone Wars, voicing Jinn from the netherworld of the Force. Using the technique(s) Master Yoda taught him before they both went into their respective exiles, Master Kenobi would converse with Qui-Gon in order to learn how to preserve one’s life force after death, a feat which Qui-Gon partially mastered.

While these conversations would serve the purpose of providing Kenobi with the pathway to immortality, they would also provide the audience with a new level of understanding about the Force. Essentially, as Kenobi learns from Qui-Gon, so too would we be learning, gaining new and exciting insight into the metaphysics and philosophical underpinnings of Star Wars.

Obi-Wan as a Force ghost talks to Luke Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Obi-Wan as a Force ghost talks to Luke
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

However, these conversations can also offer Kenobi the opportunity to voice his feelings about Anakin’s downfall. Recall that it was Qui-Gon who was initially determined to teach the young slave boy from Tatooine, believing the child to be the Chosen One. With his dying words, Master Jinn implored Obi-Wan to train the boy, a promise Kenobi kept. While laying out his feelings about what happened to Anakin, Kenobi could flip the discussion, quizzing Qui-Gon on why he was so adamant about Anakin being trained as a Jedi…you know, given that it all came crashing down in the end.

Or, if we think about it like this, their conversation would make it possible for the Prophecy of the Chosen One to finally be explained in full!!!


So, there you have it. Obviously, there are hundreds of directions a Kenobi film could take, but these three core ideas, in my opinion, are essential for the further development of Obi-Wan’s character as he lives in exile on Tatooine. Plus, these also create avenues to expand the mythos that lies at the core of the Star Wars universe.

But enough from me, what do you think? What would you include in a film dedicated to Master Kenobi? Leave a comment and let me know.