Jedi Order

Ben Kenobi: Desert Father

Theory: Rey is the granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Since The Force Awakens hit theaters, the idea that Rey is related to Obi-Wan  has picked up quite a bit of steam among pockets of Star Wars fans. I’ve not only seen this theory show up across the interwebs, but I have a handful of close friends who are pretty adamant that Rey is directly related to Kenobi. On the surface of things, I’m really not surprised by this theory. If one doesn’t believe Rey is a Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi does feel like he should be the next likely choice. Plus, it is a rather easy leap to go from Skywalker to Kenobi, particularly since Kenobi makes an auditory appearance during Rey’s Force Vision sequence in The Force Awakens. At one point during the Vision, we hear Kenobi say “Rey” while, at the end of the Vision, Kenobi can be heard saying “These are your first steps.”

What could Kenobi’s words to Rey mean!?!?! What do they imply about his relationship with this curious orphan from Jakku? Only time will tell, but for some people his words to Rey are at least partial proof that she is directly related to the former Master of Anakin Skywalker and guardian of Luke Skywalker.

But here’s the thing: I don’t buy it. Actually, not only don’t I buy it, I think it would be a massive mistake for Obi-Wan to be Rey’s grandfather. Do you hear me Lucasfilm – IT WOULD BE A MASSIVE MISTAKE!!! 

Listen, I’m fine with all types of speculation and theories, and say more power to ya if you believe Rey is directly related to Obi-Wan. But keep this in mind: if Kenobi has a granddaughter, that means he had a son or daughter of his own, which means he had sex. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time believing Obi-Wan Kenobi, during his nineteen years in exile on Tatooine, took the time to flirt with someone, let alone have sex with anyone. A relationship of any kind, be it a committed affair or a one-night stand just doesn’t fit who Kenobi is – a Jedi Master, sworn member of his Order and devoted follower of the Light Side of the Force, with a moral obligation to protect the child of his former padawan at all costs.

In fact, in those moments when he was not actively watching over or protecting Luke, Kenobi-in-exile on the desert world of Tatooine should always be viewed as a hermit.

Granted, it is easy to overlook Kenobi’s religious isolation since his early life was massively expanded by the Prequel Trilogy and The Clone Wars animated series. The Obi-Wan who comes to mind for many a Star Wars fans is undoubtedly the younger, more active (and attractive) Jedi Knight/Master who battled Darth Maul and fought in the Clone Wars, not the wizened old man living a life of poverty and spiritual contemplation as he watches over a young boy. Yet, it is important to remember that it is the older Kenobi that informs all of his other iterations. While the stories about his younger life provide interesting and exciting depth to his character, it is his introduction in A New Hope that sets the tone for how we are to view him, and at least in part, how we should view the Jedi Order. 

When the mysterious old “wizard” named Ben first appears in A New Hope, elements of hermitic life bleed off of him. He wears simple and unassuming robes, lives in solitude on the edge of Tatooine’s Western Dune Sea, and he speaks about his devotion to the mystical and mysterious energy field known as “the Force.” For all intents and purposes, Kenobi is meant to be a pop culture re-imagining of a Desert Father.

Beginning their religious practices in the late 3rd Century CE, the Desert Fathers (and Mothers) of Early Christianity were ascetics who lived in seclusion – some as hermits, others in small communities – primarily in the deserts of Egypt. Believing it necessary to withdraw from society, these monastics lived austere lives, believing the harsh desert environment would teach them to eschew the need for material possession and tame their ego. As well, the Desert Fathers engaged in numerous spiritual practices – to name a few: recitation of scripture, interior silence and prayer, kindness and hospitality – all with the hope of becoming closer to and united with God.

Menas

Now in the Louvre, this icon of Jesus (right) with St. Menas (left) is from the sixth century and is one of the oldest in existence. That Ben Kenobi happens to look a bit like this depiction of Menas, a desert father, is coincidental, though the resemblance is striking.

Now, it is absolutely worth pointing out that the above paragraph only scratches the surface of the Desert Fathers and their place in Early Christianity. Then again, my intention is not to write an academic treatise on them and the way they influenced Christian monasticism (here is a link to book if you are interested in learning more about them). Rather, my brief description of these ascetics is to highlight the obvious: Obi-Wan Kenobi shares a number of similarities with them, similarities that are clearly present in George Lucas’ seminal film. Again, that Kenobi lives on a desert world is one thing, but that he is also a hermit, a member of once grand religious order, lives an austere life, and is devoted to his “god” (the Force) is reason enough to view him as the Star Wars equivalent of a Desert Father. And, as such, it is imperative that this fact not be undercut by Kenobi’s going off and having “relations” that would take him away from his moral duty of safeguarding Luke Skywalker and, as was added in the 2005 film Revenge of the Sith, his spiritual aspiration of learning to preserve his life force upon physical death. Both are religious commitments which Kenobi is wedded to on Tatooine, duties that he, as a character, would not shun out of a desire for companionship or sexual enjoyment.

Haikuesday: Ahsoka Tano

I have to be frank:
When Young Snips was introduced
I did not like her.

Haiku Addendum:
Regarding the last poem,
I’m now fond of her.


Ahsoka Tano
was basically Padmé and
Ani’s first child.


Scene: on Christophsis;
A youngling is sent to war
by Jedi Masters.


Does anyone know
why Ahsoka went off to
fight without armor?


Jedi Commander
Outranking Clone Captain Rex
Both child soldiers.


The Battle of Teth:
Tano fights for access to
Hutt hyperspace routes.


The Malevolence
destroys Master Plo Koon’s fleet.
Tano will save him.


In Resolute bay,
Ahsoka complains about
being a gunner.


“I feel it,” she says.
“A disturbance in the Force.”
Pellaeon listens.


A duel with Grievous
unfolds in Ruusan moon’s sky.
Snips barely escapes.


Blue Shadow Virus!
Ahsoka is infected!
Oh no, Padmé too!


Scene: over Ryloth;
Tano uses Marg Sabl
in battle with Seps.


Ignoring commands,
rash Ahsoka continues
fight for Felucia. 


Ahsoka Tano,
Jedi Padawan and the
best library guard.


Held hostage by Bane,
Anakin must choose how to 
save his padawan.


Ani and Tano
bicker while battle rages.
“Another fine mess…”


Noble sacrifice;
Tano and Offee “die” so 
that others can live.


“Kill me” pleads Barris,
brain worms infecting her mind.
Can Snips kill her friend?


Maurya Ruler,
Conqueror of Kalinga.
Whoops! That’s Ashoka.


Tera Sinube
helps Ahsoka look for her
misplaced lightsaber.


Mon Gazza podrace,
Ahsoka gets a “Crash Course” 
in high speed flying.


Two Jedi track Fett
from Coruscant to Florrum.
Will they find the boy?


I have to be frank:
Pics of sexy Ahsoka
are really creepy.

Haiku Addendum:
Seriously, she’s a kid,
not a sex object.


Tano with Chuchi;
Just two friends hiding on a
Federation ship.


Padmé in danger!
Ahsoka senses a threat,
but could she be wrong…?


Scene: on Mandalore;
Ahsoka helps some kiddos
tackle corruption


Young Ahsoka speaks
with her older self in the
complex Mortis-arc.


With his dying breath,
Piell imparts Nexus Route
upon young Tano.


Trandoshans capture
Ahsoka and use her as 
prey to be hunted.


I can’t figure out
why Ahsoka came with the
Lego MHC…

Haiku Addendum:
Ahsoka was not in the
Umbaran stories.


Battle in the deep.
Ahsoka protects Lee-Char,
King of Mon Cala.


Ahsoka and Lux,
sitting in a tree, K-I-
S-S-I-N-G!!!!


Tano is all like
cray jelly that dreamy Lux
likes that chick Steela.


A padawan framed!
Ahsoka flees into the
deadly underworld.


“I’m not coming back.”
Ahsoka Tano leaves an
Order in chaos.


I have to be frank:
I don’t like that she leaves but
sees Ani again.


Siege of Mandalore.
Tano duels a tattooed foe.
Rex will spring the trap.


Ahsoka novel
Review: started strong but the
climax was just meh.


Scene: moon called Raada;
A mechanic named Ashla
lends aid to farmers.


Lets all just agree
that Team Ahsoka is the
best Tano fan site.


Snips turned fifteen on
September 22nd
1955

Haiku Addendum:
Hidalgo figured this out
so go talk to him.


Mystery figure.
Aiding the Lothal Rebels.
Who is this Fulcrum?


Rex and Ahsoka
are finally reunited.
Memories abound.


It’s pretty damn cool
when Ahsoka schools the two
inquisitive sibs.


“You abandoned me!”
“Do you know what I’ve become?”
“No. No!” she cries out.


Scene: on Malachor;
“I am no Jedi,” she tells
her former Master.


Did Ahsoka live?
Or did she die in the duel?
There’s no wrong answer.

Haiku Addendum:
Ahsoka theories don’t suck,
nor do Snoke theories


If left up to me,
in The Last Jedi I’d have
Luke chat with Tano.


Haikuesday is a monthly series on The Imperial Talker, a new post with poetic creations coming on the first Tuesday of each month. The haiku topic is chosen by voters on Twitter so be sure to follow @ImperialTalker so you can participate in the voting. Now, check out these past Haikuesday posts:

Droids (February 2017)

Darth Vader (April 2017)

The Battle of Scarif (May 2017)

The Truce at Bakura (June 2017)

Queen Amidala (July 2017)

Ryloth (August 2017)

Ahsoka Tano, Child Soldier

“I’m the new Padawan learner. I’m Ahsoka Tano.”

While I absolutely love Ahsoka Tano and find her an enthralling Star Wars character, I am also torn by the reality that Tano, a child, was a combatant in the Clone Wars. Story-wise this was purposeful, as a juvenile protagonist – a “youngling” as Obi-Wan Kenobi calls her – was needed to draw younger viewers to The Clone Wars film and television series of the same name, giving kids a character that they could easily identify with. Narrative necessity aside, no one can deny that when she arrives on the planet Christophsis in the movie, Ahsoka Tano not only takes her first steps towards becoming a Jedi Knight but also becomes a child soldier.

Admittedly, when I first watched The Clone Wars movie and series I was never bothered by this reality. In all honesty, it never even crossed my mind until recently. So deeply enchanted by the new Star Wars stories being told, so excited to experience the Clone Wars which Obi-Wan first spoke of in A New Hope, it never dawned on me that Ahsoka Tano’s participation in the war was/is egregious. That Jedi Master Yoda would see fit to use the youngling as a courier, carrying an urgent message into the heart of a major battle is alarming, especially considering she is sent without any body armor. That he and the Jedi Order would allow Ahsoka and other Jedi children to be warriors in the conflict is appalling.

Then again, while alarming and appalling, it is not entirely surprising. The Jedi Order – Master Yoda included – was quick to take command of the clone army in Attack of the Clones, an army of genetically bred soldiers who were also, technically speaking, just children. That the ancient Order, committed to using the mystical Force for “knowledge and defense, never for attack” would move so swiftly to militarize is disconcerting, proof that the Jedi were not only imperfect but also flirted with the Dark Side. Sending children into battle, younglings such as Ahsoka Tano and Caleb Dume (himself younger than even Tano) is but another reminder that the Jedi Order in the late days of the Old Republic acted, at times, in morally and ethically repugnant ways.


I am interested to hear what you have to say about Ahsoka Tano as a child soldier, but I would also encourage you to check out the sites below to read more about the plight of child soldiers around the world. 

Child Soldiers International

Human Rights Watch

Amnest International

Children and Armed Conflict
(Be sure to watch the video featuring Star Wars actor Forest Whitaker)

Love in a Time of Star Wars

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.

duchess-kenobi
Obi-Wan and Satine engage in a small “lover’s quarrel” as they debate the merits of warfare.

Photo Credit – The Clone Wars Season 2, Episode 13: “Voyage of Temptation”

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.

SatineKenobi
Satine tells Kenobi that the beard “hides too much of your handsome face.”

Photo Credit – The Clone Wars Season 2, Episode 13: “Voyage of Temptation”

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.


 

This post is part of the Star Wars ComLINKS series. Check out more Star Wars ComLINKS over at Anakin and His Angel.

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