Obi-Wan Kenobi

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.

Faith in Something Greater

Speeding down the Death Star trench in his X-Wing Starfighter, pursued by the villain Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker does something unexpected: he turns off his Starfighter’s targeting computer. Rebel leaders question Luke’s decision, asking him if something is wrong, but the young man responds simply and directly. “I’m alright,” he states, no further information provided. Nor could he provide explanation if he wanted, as time is of the essence and the reasoning for his decision, quite frankly, defies reason.

Only moments before turning off the computer, the tension in A New Hope’s climactic battle was amplified by conditions outside of Luke’s control. Leading his compatriots – Wedge Antilles and Biggs Darklighter – “full throttle” into the Death Star trench, the farm boy-turned-Rebel pilot soon finds himself alone. Taking a critical hit to his fighter, Antilles is ordered by Luke to pull out of the trench while Darklighter, a childhood friend whom Luke only just reconnected with, is killed. Already filled with anxiety that the audience and Rebel leaders alike could hear in his voice, Skywalker is now faced with the responsibility of destroying the planet killing Death Star entirely by himself.

Anticipation continuing to mount, the distance to his target seeming to close at an incredibly slow pace, Luke suddenly hears the voice of his recently deceased mentor Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi. Speaking from “the beyond,” the old Jedi Master tells the young pilot to “Use the Force.” Confused, Skywalker continues to look through his targeting computer apparatus only to be implored by Kenobi to “let go” and to “trust me.” Finally understanding, he switches off his computer.

TargetingComputer
Luke Skywalker looks through his targeting computer.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

That Luke responds to Kenobi by turning off the computer is unexpected because one would anticipate that defeating the technological monstrosity that is the Death Star should require some form of technological assistance. After all, in order for the Rebel pilots to destroy the Empire’s “ultimate power in the universe” they must travel down a trench and fire their proton torpedoes with precision into an exhaust port that is only two meters wide. In turn, as the climactic battle unfolds, the audience is periodically allowed to witness the targeting system on the Death Star AND the targeting systems on the Rebel fighters, a cinematic maneuver which works to heighten tension. The entire battle is, in a very real sense, a race against time to see which side can be the first to use their technology to target and destroy their enemy, something we are constantly reminded of through A New Hope’s final act.

On this point, it’s worth remembering that Red Leader, commander of the Alliance X-Wing force, and presumably the best X-Wing pilot in the battle, does fire a torpedo shot at the Death Star’s weak spot using his targeting computer. In keeping with the film’s narrative, these torpedoes miss the mark so that Luke could lead his own deadly trench run. And yet, Red Leader’s miss is important for another salient reason: it shows that even relying on available technology does not guarantee success, and if Luke is to be heroic,he will also need to rely on a great deal of luck. Or, something far greater than luck.

Rather than depending upon on his artificially constructed computer to show him the target, or hoping he somehow gets lucky, Luke heeds Kenobi’s words to use the Force, the immanent and mystical energy field that pervades the galaxy. After only a moment of hesitation, Skywalker takes a leap of faith, believing he will succeed by relying on that which, we know, he has only begun to explore. Only days before this moment Skywalker knew absolutely nothing about the Force, nor was he aware of his strong connection to it. Now, at this most critical of moments, when failure is not an option, where the fate of the Rebellion and galaxy rest son his shoulders, the young pilot defies all logic by allowing himself to succumb to the ebb and flow of this mysterious Force. In this unexpected moment, precisely because he gives himself over to something greater than himself – or technology, or reason, or luck – Luke Skywalker takes a giant step forward into a realm of possibility more profound and amazing than he, or even we, could have imagined. And in doing so he becomes the hero he was always destined to be. 

Transcending Death: The Light

In a recent post – Cheating Death: The Dark – I discussed the hate-filled path Darth Maul traversed in order to survive his horrific wounding in The Phantom Menace. If you have not read the post, or want to refresh your memory, I would encourage you to do so. In this piece I do a 180, flipping the conversation from cheating death to transcending death in order to consider how a Light Sider user can, if they are chosen and deemed worthy, preserve their conscious identity (and bodily form) in the netherworld of the Force. 

As I point out in Cheating Death, the Sith and the Jedi share in having dynamic but also limited understandings of the Force. Just as Darth Maul could not dream of the level of Darkness he would reach in his state of intense hatred, the Jedi also lack full comprehension of what the Light Side offers regarding death. This is not a criticism of the Jedi, though. Rather, it is an acknowledgment that the religious orders in Star Wars – Sith, Jedi, Knights of Ren, Nightsisters, and so on – do not have 100% complete conceptual understandings of the Force. Ultimately, the religious orders believe about the Force is centered around their specific experience of it and, as a result, their respective dogmas directly reflect this experiential knowledge.

A perfect example of the Jedi Order’s limit is the skepticism – nay, the outright denial – that one can preserve their individuality after death. In The Clone Wars Season Six episode “Voices,” Anakin Skywalker describes the Order’s dogma on the subject of life after death quite poignantly when he states, “…everything that we know about the Force tells us that an individual retaining their identity after death is impossible.” To this we can also add Jedi Master Ki-Adi Mundi, ranking member of the Jedi Council, who notes “…the dead are part of the Cosmic Force and lose their individuality.” Even Master Yoda, the oldest/wisest of the Jedi and head of the Council, does not at first believe in the possibility of maintaining one’s individuality after death, expressing his own skepticism when he hears the voice of dead Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. Nevertheless, Yoda will come to realize that Master Jinn is speaking to him, opening himself to a possibility he thought impossible. In turn, guided by Qui-Gon, Yoda will begin his own journey towards transcendence.

The journey, though, is not an easy one. Yoda, we find in the last few episodes of The Clone Wars series (starting with “Voices”), must face significant trials to show that he is worthy of retaining his individuality after death. In other words, the great gift of transcendence is not liberally given to all Light Side users. While Jedi Masters such as Mace Windu, Plo Koon, Shaak Ti, and Ki-Adi Mundi are incredibly wise and act with good intentions, they nevertheless are not presented with the possibility of transcendence.

On the other hand, Yoda is chosen to receive the great gift, chosen because he will “teach one who will save the universe from the great imbalance.” Still, even Yoda must be put to the test, and in the episodes “Destiny” and “Sacrifice” he is forced to master himself – his own darkness, hubris, and temptations – in order to prove that he can master transcendence. It is only after passing these difficult tests, coming into a fuller understanding of his own identity and his connection with the Light Side of the Force, that Yoda will begin a long process of training through which he will learn to manifest consciousness after death.

yodadarkside
Yoda is confronted by his own inner Dark Side and hubris.
Photo Credit: The Clone Wars Season 6, Episode, Episode 12 – “Destiny”

Although we are given a fleeting glimpse of this training in The Clone Wars, the training Yoda receives has otherwise never been fully explored – either shown nor described – in any Star Wars stories. The same is also true for Obi-Wan Kenobi, whom we also know is granted this gift of transcendence. While Yoda explains, at the end of Revenge of the Sith, that Qui-Gon Jinn will be Kenobi’s guide in the process, we are not privy to the tests or lessons Kenobi will learn from his former Master.

Yet, all of this is okay. The Force is mysterious, and some of the sacred teachings, artifacts, and rituals that go hand-in-hand with it should be equally mysterious. Just as Sith and Jedi alike are not privy to every aspect of the Force, the same is also the case for fans of Star Wars. In fact, I would suggest that the training Yoda and Obi-Wan receive never be fully explored, lest we water down the sacred mystery of transcendence through over-explanation or take away from each fan’s imagination. Besides, what we do know is that Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi did learn to manifest consciousness after death, proof that their training, whatever it entailed, was successful.

But while Yoda and Kenobi completed their mysterious training, we also know that Qui-Gon Jinn did not. In “Voices,” Master Jinn explains that he was killed before his training was complete, before he had fully learned to manifest his individuality after death. While his concious identity was preserved at death, enabling him to speak from the beyond as a manifestation of the Force, Qui-Gon is unable to appear in bodily form to those who are still alive. As we are well aware, appearing in bodily form to the living is something which both Kenobi and Yoda are able to do. This is precisely because their bodies quite literally disappeared when “death” arrived, transported along with their consciousness to the netherworld of the Force. Thus, the pinnacle of one’s training, the pinnacle of transcendance, is the capacity to “exist where there is no future or no past” in both mind and body.  

kenobistruckdown
Obi-Wan Kenobi’s body disappears as he is struck down by Darth Vader.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

On this last point, it is worth mentioning that what existence is like for Qui-Gon, Kenobi, and Yoda in the netherworld of the Force is outside of the realm of comprehension. There are simply no words – not here or in any Star Wars story – that can capture what it truly means to exist once one has reached transcendence. Certainly finite language can be used to give hints; after all, even Buddhists understand that all suffering will cease once Nirvana has been reached. But what transcendence actually feels like on a subjective level, what existence means for one who now inhabits the netherworld of the Force, that can only be known to the individual whom has entered the new state of being. And because of this, I hope the existence which Qui-Gon, Kenobi and Yoda achieve is kept a mystery to other characters in the saga as well as fans.

The Cantina Incident

This is not the post you are expecting it to be. Read on and see what I mean…

It’s a Star Wars question so common that I rarely think about it: since Obi-Wan uses his lightsaber to cut off Ponda Baba’s arm in the Mos Eisley Cantina, why does the arm bleed? A fair question to be sure – technically, there shouldn’t be any blood because the wound should be cauterized when the blade goes through the arm. When others are dismembered by lightsabers, like Luke in The Empire Strikes Back or Zam Wesell in Attack of the Clones, their wounds are cauterized, there is no blood. But Ponda Baba is the exception, his wound is a bloody mess and I haven’t the slightest clue how to explain it. Perhaps Ponda Baba’s race, the Aqualish, are incapable of being burned and only bleed when wounded? Or maybe Obi-Wan cut the arm at just the right angle to open an artery but not cauterize it? Frankly, your guess is as good as mine.

But I’m not really interested in solving the dilemma about the bleeding arm (though I think my “Aqualish always bleed” approach makes sense). Instead, I’d rather take this moment, since I have your attention, to pose a much different question about this particular incident in the Mos Eisley Cantina…

Why does Kenobi dismember Ponda Baba and kill Baba’s partner, Dr. Evazan?

This is a question I have wrestled with for some time, with the starting point to answering it always being the most obvious explanation: Kenobi is simply acting in self-defense.

Baba and Evazan
Ponda Baba argues with Luke while Dr. Evazan (background) looks on.

Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Initially, Luke is the one who is threatened by Evazan and Baba, and when Kenobi intervenes to calm the situation, the two nefarious individuals become rather violent. Kenobi ignites his lightsaber and, rather quickly, puts an end to the scuffle. The deed finished, the bloody arm lying on the ground and the groans of pain being heard, Kenobi stands resolute with his blade upright. And, just as quickly as the incident began, the scene moves along and we are introduced to Chewbacca and Han Solo.

Now, first and foremost, I certainly think Obi-Wan is allowed to defend himself and Luke. But the issue I’m raising in the question is not whether Kenobi can act or should in self-defense, but how he acts in self-defense.

To me, the issue of the bleeding arm is a distraction from the real issue inherent in the incident – the fact that one of the last remaining Jedi, a Jedi Master no less, chooses to kill one individual and maim another. When Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba become enraged and attack Old Ben, why is Kenobi’s immediate reaction also a violent one? Surely a Jedi Master could disarm these two in a less confrontational manner, doing so without the need to call upon the Force in an obvious,  attention grabbing way. Kenobi needn’t, for example, use the Force to throw the two across the room. Rather, using his finely tuned Force skills, Obi-Wan could have easily incapacitated the two, making them trip over their own two feet if he wanted.

cantina-Obi-wan-light-saber
Kenobi holds his lightsaber after the brief fight with Evazan and Baba.

Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

But, that isn’t what happens. Instead, we are left with the absurd reality that Kenobi uses deadly force, inflicting pain and death without the slightest bit of remorse. And this is where things get tricky. Suggesting, for example, that Kenobi’s actions are of the Light Side of the Force would entirely undercut the fact that the Light Side does not lend itself to the destruction of life. At. All. So no, I absolutely do not think Kenobi is guided by the Light when he strikes down Evazan and wounds Baba.

Does this mean, then, that Kenobi was being guided by the Dark Side? Well, if he does the deed out of anger and malice, then sure, we could say he is using the Dark Side. However, we have no idea what Kenobi is thinking in the moment, so it’s hard and a bit unfair to suggest he is dropping into the Dark Side without knowing his thoughts. Then again, dishing out pain and death are specialties of Dark Siders…

So where in the name of Malachor do we go from here? Honestly, I haven’t the slightest idea. The fact that Kenobi kills Evazan and maims Baba opens the door to a cacophony of thoughts and questions, the Light Side/Dark Side being just the tip of the iceberg. Thinking about the incident for some time, and now putting the thoughts into a post, I am pulled in numerous directions with no clear-cut end in site. Part of me wants to absolve Kenobi because he is one of my favorite characters, another wants to chastise him for not acting the way a Jedi Master should act, and yet another wants to throw papers into the air in frustration (maybe I will).

In lieu of all of my hair going gray thinking about this, I want YOU to chime in. Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments and, as a team, think about Kenobi killing Evazan and maiming Baba. I’m curious to hear what others have to say about Kenobi’s actions during this short but violent incident in the Mos Eisley Cantina.

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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Chewbacca and the Jedi

One of the last battles of the Clone Wars, the Separatist invasion of Kashyyk in Revenge of the Sith provides a glimpse of not just the Wookie homeworld, but Wookie warriors charging into battle alongside the Clones and Jedi. Of course, it also gave us a little nugget of insight into Chewbacca’s backstory, namely that he participated in the fight against the droids. Granted, Chewie’s cameo in Revenge of the Sith is fairly short and we never actually see him fight the battle droids. I was always a bit disappointed about that because, let’s be honest, it would have been pretty sweet to see our favorite Wookie blasting some battle droids.

Yoda, Chewbacca, and Tarfful say their good-byes.  Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Yoda, Chewbacca, and Tarfful say their good-byes.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Although we don’t get to see him kick some droid ass, Chewbacca’s cameo is hardly unimportant or without purpose. He and another Wookie, Tarfful, are present with Yoda when Clone Commander Gree and another Clone turn on the Jedi Master. When Gree and his counterpart walk up behind Yoda, leveling their weapons at the small Jedi, the Wookies witness Yoda leap up and decapitate the two Clones. In turn, Chewbacca and Tarfful usher Yoda away to safety, aware that the elder Jedi is in danger. And as Yoda is about to leave Kashyyyk, he thanks Tarfful and Chewbacca by name. With that, Yoda blasts off towards space as the two Wookies look on.

And scene.

Now, before I go any further, let me just say that I really like Chewbacca showing up in Revenge of the Sith. In fact, it probably would have been really odd for there to be a plot involving Kashyyyk/Wookies and Chewbacca not being there. But Chewie making a cameo, while awesome in and of itself, is not the only reason I like that he is there. I like that his appearance, specifically his proximity and interactions with Yoda, create a new way of thinking about his encounter with Obi-Wan and Luke in A New Hope. Essentially, the question becomes: did he say anything to Obi-Wan and/or Luke about the Jedi Master he helped save 19 years before???

Chewbacca and Obi-Wan Kenobi chat at the Mos Eisley Cantina bar.  Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Chewbacca and Obi-Wan Kenobi chat at the Mos Eisley Cantina bar.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Well, to be honest, we can actually rule out Luke from the get go. When Force ghost Obi-Wan appears to Luke in The Empire Strikes Back and tells Skywalker to “go to the Dagobah system” to learn from Yoda, Luke clearly has no idea who Kenobi is talking about. I would argue that any conversation Chewbacca and Luke have about the Jedi in the new canon material that takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back should NOT include any information about Yoda. Essentially, I believe it is important to maintain Luke’s ignorance so as to safeguard the appearance and directive from Kenobi in “Empire.” And after the events of “Empire,” if Chewie and Luke want to sit down and talk about Yoda, or the Jedi Order, or whatever, then I say more power to them.

But the interaction(s) between Obi-Wan and Chewbacca in A New Hope, that is a different story. Recall that it’s a conversation between Kenobi and Chewie that initiates the meeting with Han Solo. I can’t imagine Kenobi came right out and told Chewbacca he was a Jedi when they first talk, but I can believe that Chewie, having interacted with Jedi in the past, would have picked up on the fact that this old guy was dressed like a Jedi. Certainly Chewbacca, at 180 years old, can recall how the Jedi used to dress.

But then, right after their initial conversation, two other really important things happen simultaneously. The first, the most obvious, is that Kenobi whips out a lightsaber. Hmmmm, this old guy is dressed like a Jedi and has a lightsaber, innnnnteresting. Plus, and this is the key, Luke, having been pushed to the floor by his assailants, calls out, “Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan!!!”

See, if we go back to Revenge of the Sith, right before the fighting on Kashyyyk commences, Master Yoda is speaking to the entire Jedi Council via hologram about the secret location of the Separatist General Grievous. In turn, the Council decides that Kenobi will lead the attack to capture Grievous. And, who just happens to be standing behind Yoda, intently watching and listening the entire time: CHEWBACCA!!! Here, go see for yourself: Battle of Kashyyyk.

Yoda attends a meeting of the Jedi Council while Chewbacca and Tarfful look on. Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Yoda attends a meeting of the Jedi Council while Chewbacca and Tarfful look on.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Given all the signs (the robe, the lightsaber, the name), not to mention his own previous interactions with Yoda and other Jedi, does Chewie know he is speaking with a Jedi in the Mos Eisley Cantina? Honestly, it is a total toss-up. On the one hand, he very well might have no idea; however, it is also entirely possible that he does know. Heck, even if he doesn’t know it is Kenobi, but knows that he is interacting with a Jedi, that is perfectly fine.  But if he does know he is chatting with a Jedi, then the question is – does he pull the Jedi aside and say anything to him about his previous interactions with Jedi, particularly his safe-guarding of Yoda 19 years earlier?

Short of a story being written that either A) shows the two discussing Yoda/the Jedi Order and/or; B) that alludes to such a conversation taking place (say in Chewie’s inner dialogue in the new Chewbacca comic series), there is really just no way of knowing. And frankly, I am not sure that we even need to know. While on the one hand it is intriguing to imagine the two having a private conversation about the Jedi Order, it is also equally interesting to think that Obi-Wan chatted with Chewbacca and had no idea that he was speaking to a Wookie who (may) know who he is but who, 19 years earlier, helped safe-guard Yoda as the Jedi Master fled Kashyyyk. And, on the flip side, it’s equally intriguing to think that Chewbacca had a hunch about this Obi-Wan character but never said anything.

But perhaps what is even more profound is the fact that Chewbacca, on these two separate occasions, is in the right location to aid a Jedi. He is present when Yoda is in need of protection and, 19 years later, is also present when Obi-Wan is looking for passage to Alderaan. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, in an episode of The Clone Wars he also provides assistance to padawan Ahsoka Tano and a couple of Jedi younglings who had been captured by Trandoshan hunters. Not once, not twice, but at least three times Chewbacca is there to help the Jedi. Some (ahem, Han) might call it coincidence or just dumb luck, but I call it the will of the Force. On each occasion, Chewbacca is precisely where the Force wanted him to be, ready to assist a Jedi who was in need. Because of this, I really couldn’t care less if Chewie and Obi-Wan chat about their mutual connection(s). The only connection that really matters is the one they have in the Force. Everything else is just secondary.

From Padawan to Knight

“You are on the council, but we do not grant you the rank of master.” – Mace Windu

“What? How can you do this? This is outrageous, it’s unfair.” – Anakin Skywalker

Remember that moment in Revenge of the Sith when Anakin is given a seat on the Jedi Council but Mace Windu tells him he IS NOT granted the rank of Master? Young Skywalker is pretty ticked about not being elevated to Master, and voices his disgust vehemently only to be chastised for his outburst. Anakin takes his seat and the scene moves along.

Anakin learns that he has been placed on the Council but was not promoted to the rank of Master. Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Anakin learns that he has been placed on the Council but was not promoted to the rank of Master.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

I can’t really argue one way or the other if it was the right decision for the Council to deny Anakin a promotion. I could, of course, spend this entire post dissecting the decision of the Jedi Council, and Anakin’s reaction, but my interest in doing so isn’t very high, at least not at the moment. Instead, I want to spend my time in this post wrestling with a different moment, or rather, a different transition point, in Anakin’s life as a Jedi. Basically, I want to know when and why he was promoted from Padawan to Knight because there is no canonical reference to it and, frankly, I want to know what the event/moment was like for Anakin.

Honestly, I think it is curious that we have never witnessed, nor read, anything about this very central moment in Skywalker’s life.[1] And, my curiosity is only amplified when we realize that we DO get to witness other significant points in Anakin’s life, all of which affect him in profound ways. Here is a brief list of some of these moments:

  • As a 9-year-old, Anakin is freed from slavery and leaves his mother on Tatooine (The Phantom Menace)
  • Anakin becomes Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Padawan (The Phantom Menace)
  • Young Skywalker has doubts about training to become a Jedi and considers leaving the Order (Obi-Wan and Anakin)
  • He is given his first, independent assignment as a Jedi guarding Senator Amidala (Attack of the Clones)
  • Anakin witnesses his mother’s death, and slaughters a tribe of Tusken Raiders (Attack of the Clones)
  • He secretly marries Padmé Amidala (Attack of the Clones)
  • Anakin takes on a Padawan of his own, Ahsoka Tano (The Clone Wars movie)
  • Anakin watches as Ahsoka walks away from the Jedi Order (The Clone Wars)
  • He learns that he is going to be a father (Revenge of the Sith)
  • He is appointed to the Jedi Council (Revenge of the Sith)
  • Anakin cuts off the arm of Mace Windu, turning to the Dark Side, and becomes Darth Vader (Revenge of the Sith)

While this list could definitely be expanded, again, what has no possibility of being added right now is the moment Anakin becomes a Jedi Knight. Of course, some might suggest that this event needn’t be developed, that we get to see him as a Knight in The Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith. Shouldn’t that be enough?

Anakin with his Padawan Ahsoka Tano Photo Credit - Star Wars: The Clone Wars (movie)

Anakin with his Padawan Ahsoka Tano
Photo Credit – Star Wars: The Clone Wars (movie)

Well, this is true. But we should also keep in mind that becoming a Jedi Knight is not a trivial thing. A Padawan must go through the “Trials,” the ritual process within the Order whereby a Padawan becomes a Knight. While there are a number of significant moments for a Jedi youngling in their training, from the creation to their lightsaber to their being apprenticed to a Jedi Knight or Master, the “Trials” are THE most significant rite of passage one will ever undertake within the Order because it is what makes one a full- fledged Jedi. While the responsibility of the Padawan is to learn the tenants of the Order, to learn how to follow the Jedi Code, this responsibility flips when one becomes a Knight. The Jedi Knight is a full Jedi because they are no longer tasked with learning, but with practicing and implementing the Code. In turn, the Knight will also take on a Padawan of their own, teaching the beliefs and duties of the Order to a young, up and coming Jedi.

But it is also worth noting that it is the Jedi Council which decides when a Padawan is ready for the “Trials,” and also determines when/if the Padawan has passed. Only then, if they have passed, will the Council confer the rank of Knight upon the Padawan.

Anakin’s Trials

In my mind, this is an event in Anakin’s life that is not simply about his taking and passing a test. Or, to say it another way, I am not interested in this particular story just to be able to say Anakin’s “Trials” were X, Y, and Z. Oh no, I want this story because it opens up a wealth of possibilities to get into Anakin’s head, to see how, during this immensely important period of his life, he viewed himself and his relationship to those around him.

Now, it is worth nothing the possibility that Anakin was granted his Knighthood immediately following the events depicted in Attack of the Clones. In The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan is promoted to Knight after his own Master dies, and he defeats Darth Maul in battle. Perhaps the Jedi Council felt that young Skywalker’s actions, such as protecting Padmé, trying to rescue Obi-Wan, and facing Count Dooku, were ample reason to promote him to Jedi Knight. If this is the case, that is all well and good, but I also think it would be a mistake to think the Council promoted Anakin in the wake of all of these deeds.

Here is why: after going through everything we see him go through in Attack of the Clones, Anakin would have believed he had faced his “Trials” and should receive his Knighthood. Imagine, then, how royally pissed off he would be if, after everything he went through, he was still a Padawan as the Clone Wars began!!! You and I both know that HE would believe he had faced his “Trials” in the past few weeks, particularly after taking on a Sith Lord. Instead, upon returning from Naboo, he discovers that he is STILL Obi-Wan’s Padawan. If I was writing the book on Anakin’s “Trials,” I think the Prologue would need to have a scene in which he bursts into the Council Chamber demanding to know why he was not promoted to Jedi Knight…

Anakin and Count Dooku engage in combat Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Anakin and Count Dooku engage in combat
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

The way I see it, if Anakin is elevated to Knight immediately after, and as a result of, his actions in Attack of the Clones, this shuts the door on Anakin having one more reason to be mad at the Jedi Council, one more reason to complain to Padmé, one more reason for Palpatine to plant the seed of Jedi greatness into his young mind. Of course Anakin would eventually end up facing the “Trials,” but there would be an underlying and persistent resentment, a boiling anger directed towards the Council, and even Obi-Wan, for holding him back yet again, a disgust for being treated like all of the other Padawan’s when he is convinced he exceeds them and most other Jedi.

And added to this resentment and disgust would be the ultimate Anakin paradox: that in feeling he should be promoted to full-fledged Jedi Knight, Anakin would also be wrestling with all the ways he has broken the Jedi Code – from killing an entire tribe of Tusken Raiders out of anger to secretly marrying Padmé Amidala. In other words, this story should not be told just so we can see Anakin get upset and pissy once again, but rather to dig into Anakin’s inner-self at a deeper level, to better understand how he reconciles his actions, thoughts, and beliefs with the Jedi Order he is sworn to serve.

Besides, it is in the heart and mind of a Jedi where the “Trials” truly take place and, well, after the things he says and does in Attack of the Clones, I want a front row seat to Anakin’s psychological and emotional turmoil as he transitions from Padawan to Knight. Plus, as a side show to the Anakin’s inner action, the story would also give us insight into the way(s) the Jedi Council view Anakin, allowing us to see their hesitation in promoting him and, perhaps, even the decision to provide him with a Padawan after he has become a Knight.

Oh, and as a final thought, just imagine who would be there to help Anakin through the “Trials,” who his closest confidant would end up being. It is hardly a stretch to imagine Chancellor Palpatine taking the time to work with young Skywalker through this period, a closer bond being forged between the two. And when Anakin did finally receive his Knighthood, Palpatine would be right there, off to the side, just watching and smiling…

I really do hope we get this type of story someday.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Do you agree there should be a story that looks at Anakin’s “Trials” and, if so, what sort of thing(s) would you want to see in it???


[1] We DO get to see Anakin face the Trials, and receive his promotion, in the non-canonical Clone Wars series from the early 2000s.

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.

Happy Father’s Day, Obi-Wan Kenobi!!!

“You’re the closest thing I have to a father.” – Anakin to Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones

On Mother’s Day, I decided to give a shout out to Mother Talzin, the leader of the Nightsisters of Dathomir and mother of Darth Maul. Well, today is Father’s Day and it’s time to honor a father-figure in the Star Wars galaxy.

Of course, the obvious choice to receive such honors is Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Then again, though he might be the biological father of Luke and Leia, he, ah, sorta sucked at the job of fatherhood. I mean, he knowingly cut off his son’s arm and then had the audacity to be all like “join me and rule the galaxy!”

No, I think someone else in the Star Wars universe is a bit more deserving of today’s honor. That someone is Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Now, I know what you are saying: “But Mr. Imperial Talker sir, Obi-Wan Kenobi had no children of his own.” Yes, well, that is true and all, but then again, biological fatherhood is hardly the only form of fatherhood. Besides, if the standard for fatherhood is just biology, then Vader set a REALLY low bar for being a good father.

No, Obi-Wan may not have had any children of his own, but he still exhibited a number of the positive traits expected of a father-figure. And while Obi-Wan may have been “overly critical” and “never listened” to Anakin, Kenobi was still “the closest thing to a father” Anakin ever had.

Obi-Wan and Luke on Tatooine Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Obi-Wan and Luke on Tatooine
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

In fact, it is worth mentioning that while Obi-Wan was father to Anakin, he was also, by both extension and action, the grandfather to Luke.

So sure, there are lots of fathers and father-figures in the Star Wars universe that we could praise today, and in the future I will give them some love, but I believe Obi-Wan is the most fatherly of them all.

Happy Father’s Day, Obi-Wan Kenobi!

Qui-Gon Jinn, A Novel Character

“Finding him was the will of the force, I have no doubt of that.” – Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace

When I saw The Phantom Menace for the first time in 1999, I was absolutely stunned when Darth Maul killed Qui-Gon Jinn. At the time, my 14-year-old brain had to cope with the reality that sometimes the “good guys” can be defeated by one of the “bad guys.” Older now, I naturally have a different perspective on the scene and am not quite as shocked by Qui-Gon’s demise. Darth Maul was much younger and more physically gifted than the Jedi Master, and though Qui-Gon was likely more gifted in the use of the Force, Darth Maul was just the better all-around fighter.

Darth Maul stabs Qui-Gon Jinn Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Darth Maul stabs Qui-Gon Jinn
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Or, perhaps it had nothing to do with Darth Maul being the better fighter. Just as Qui-Gon states that finding Anakin Skywalker was “the will of the Force,” I would suggest that the death of Qui-Gon Jinn was also the will of the Force. At first, reluctant to allow Qui-Gon to train Anakin as a Jedi, it is only when the Jedi Master dies that the Jedi Council agrees to let his padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, train the young boy. Qui-Gon’s death, then, functions as the catalyst the Force uses to propel Anakin along the path towards balancing the Force.

Qui-Gon’s story does not come to an end in The Phantom Menace, though.

At the end of Revenge of the Sith, Yoda explains to Obi-Wan that Qui-Gon Jinn has returned from the netherworld of the Force, noting that he will teach Kenobi how to converse with the former Jedi Master. Although the scene is brief, it never-the-less establishes that it is Qui-Gon Jinn, teaching from the beyond, who directed Kenobi in unlocking the secrets of existence after death. When Obi-Wan “disappears” in A New Hope, and reappears as a Force ghost in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, we now know that it was Qui-Gon Jinn who guided Kenobi in discovering how to do these incredible things.

Further, it is in Season 6 of The Clone Wars, in the episode titled “Voices,” that Qui-Gon reaches out to Master Yoda as an incorporeal voice, instructing the Jedi to travel to the planet Dagobah. There, Qui-Gon will reveal new realities about the Force, and will explain that both he and Yoda had been chosen to maintain their life force after death so that in the dark times ahead, there would still be light. Though Qui-Gon notes that he died before completing his training, which hinders him from appearing to Yoda, he reveals that Yoda will learn this ability as he continues on his journey of discovery.

Along with what Qui-Gon explains to Yoda about the Force, another rather intriguing point is also introduced in “Voices.” When Yoda explains to the Jedi Council that Qui-Gon has conversed with him from the beyond, Master Ki-Adi Mundi states that, “What Yoda claims is not possible…the dead are part of the Cosmic Force and lose their individuality.” Even Yoda, the wisest and oldest of the Jedi, does not at first believe in the possibility of maintaining one’s individuality after death. Knowledgeable about the Force they might be, but even the Jedi Council is limited in their understanding of the mystical power.

This fact, though, also reveals something about Qui-Gon Jinn: before he died, he had ascertained a unique understanding of the Force – an understanding that fundamentally differed from the Jedi Council’s own knowledge – and had kept this knowledge to himself.

At Odds with the Council

Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Anakin stand before the Jedi Council Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Anakin stand before the Jedi Council
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

In The Phantom Menace, the Jedi Council and Qui-Gon Jinn are clearly at odds, particularly over the fate of Anakin Skywalker.

  • While Qui-Gon is certain the boy is the Chosen One, the Council is not as certain.
  • The Council believes the boy is too old to be trained; Qui-Gon does not believe this should disqualify him from being trained.
  • Qui-Gon chooses to take Anakin as his padawan, but the Council states that the Jedi Code forbids his taking a second padawan.
  • Qui-Gon states that Obi-Wan is ready to face the Trials and become a Jedi Knight, the Council rebukes him by stating that they will decide when Obi-Wan is ready.

Four points of contention in only a minute. These may not be enough to argue that Qui-Gon is always at odds with the Council, but the interaction between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan only moments later can do it for me.

Obi-Wan: Do not defy the council, Master, not again.
Qui-Gon Jinn: I shall do what I must, Obi-Wan.

From this small exchange, we can glean that Master Qui-Gon has a tendency of refusing to follow the Council’s directive. His padawan implores him not to defy the Council once again, but Qui-Gon will do what HE feels he must do. I don’t know about you, but this leaves me wondering not only how, and how often, he has defied the Council in the past, but WHY he has done so. Was it in his nature to be defiant? Did he learn it from someone? Or was it perhaps a little bit of both? Whatever the case, there is a very obvious way he would have learned some of this defiance: from his own former Master, Count Dooku.

It is in Attack of the Clones where we learn Qui-Gon Jinn was once Count Dooku’s padawan. Given that Count Dooku left the Jedi Order after becoming cynical and disillusioned by it, and because he craved more power, it is hardly a stretch to imagine that Dooku held these feelings for quite some time, perhaps even while he was training his young padawan. As Qui-Gon’s master, Dooku would have exerted an incredible influence over his padawan, impacting the way the burgeoning Jedi would have understood the Force, the Jedi Order, and the role of the Jedi, amongst other things. The fact that Qui-Gon Jinn learned how to preserve his individuality after death probably did not come from Count Dooku directly, but his interest in discovering new realities about the Force would have certainly been planted by his Masters encouragement to question the Order’s views. It is also likely, though, that as Qui-Gon grew and formed his own, independent views, that he would have most certainly questioned his Master. Defiant he might have been towards the Jedi Council at times, Qui-Gon Jinn never left the Order, and his former Master did.

With all of this in mind, I am going to propose a novel idea. No, seriously, I am going to propose an actual idea for a novel.

My proposition is that a novel dedicated to Qui-Gon Jinn’s back-story be added to the Star Wars canon. With all that we know about Jinn, that he was apprenticed to Count Dooku, was defiant of the Jedi Council, believed that Anakin was the Chosen One, and was able to preserve his life force after death, I am curious to find out even more about this fascinating Jedi. What was he like as a child? What was his relationship really like with Dooku? Did he ever challenge his Master? What were his beliefs regarding the will of the Force? When did he begin training to preserve his life force after death? How and why did he consistently defy the Council? When was Obi-Wan apprenticed to him and, for that matter, what was Obi-Wan like as a child?

Such a book could certainly answer some of these questions about Qui-Gon, and could also be used to develop other characters, story-lines, events, and ideas. Plus, as it currently stands, a dark area exists in the Star Wars canon prior to The Phantom Menace, with only small pockets of information that provide clarity for this period. A novel dedicated to Qui-Gon Jinn would be a great way to start filling in the gaps in the timeline, and would help paint a small picture of what the galaxy was like prior to the crisis on Naboo.

It is my hope that someday we are able to explore the Star Wars universe through the life of this fascinating Jedi Master. In the meantime, I decided to play around with what the prologue for said novel could look like.

Qui-Gon Jinn: A Prologue

Master Yoda stood in the center of the icy Temple, watching the seven younglings walk towards him. Shivering and exhausted, the children looked up and around as they entered, awe struck by beauty of the icy hall. Behind them, the outside wind could be heard far down the passage, blowing through the entrance they came through.

Master Yoda standing in front of the entrance to the crystal caves on the planet Ilum Photo Credit - Star Wars The Clone Wars: Season 5, Episode 6 -

Master Yoda standing in front of the entrance to the crystal caves on the planet Ilum
Photo Credit – Star Wars The Clone Wars: Season 5, Episode 6 – “The Gathering”

The younglings had traveled for miles across the wintry landscape since landing in the Crucible, the Jedi training cruiser. They did not yet know why they were on the planet Ilum, only knowing that the ice-covered and wind-battered planet was one of the Order’s most sacred locations.

“Where are we, Master Yoda,” a female Chagrian asked the elder Master as the group approached.

“Come, gather round younglings. Share with you, I will, why you have come,” Yoda responded.

Moving into a half-circle around the old Jedi, the younglings watched as Master Yoda used the Force to manipulate an object on the ceiling. Reflecting a sliver of sunlight streaming in from an opening in the top of the hall, the object reflected the light onto the wall of ice behind Master Yoda. On command, the ice melted away revealing a passage way, and beyond, a cave.

“Arrived, you have, at The Gathering,” the Jedi Master remarked. “A rite of passage for young Jedi, this is. Into the cave will you go to find your Kyber Crystal.”

This time, a young Zabrak male spoke up.

“Master, what are Kyber Crystals,” the child asked.

“In harmony with the Force, the crystals are. The heart of the Jedi’s light-saber, the crystal is.”

The younglings, hearing that they would enter the cave to discover the most important component in the construction of their light-sabers began to talk excitedly. Finding their crystal would put them one step closer to becoming full-fledged Jedi.

Letting out a small laugh, Yoda silenced the group.

“Into the cave you must go if Jedi you are to become. Trust the Force, you must, if successful you hope to be. But be mindful, as the sun sets, slowly freeze, the entrance will. Once frozen, trapped inside will you be.”

Looking upwards, the younglings saw that the tall entrance was already beginning to freeze as the light from outside slowly moved downwards.

“Go now, enter the cave, and discover your crystal.”

Eager to discover their crystals and not wanting to be trapped inside, the younglings frantically rushed past Yoda and into the cave to begin their searches. All, that is, except for one.

A young human boy around the age of 10 stood in place, continuing to look at the ice that was slowly creeping downward from the ceiling and which, in a few short hours, would cover the entrance.

Turning, the Jedi Master saw that the child had not left his spot.

“Stand here when inside the cave should you be, Qui-Gon,” Yoda said. “Losing time, you are, yes. Trapped, by the ice if not you hurry.”

For a moment, the boy did not respond. Then, slowly, the youngling turned his head downwards to see the Jedi Master in front of him. Turning his gaze back to the ice, the boy finally spoke, “I will go in soon, Master. I just wanted a moment to admire the ice.”

“And what have you to say about the ice, hmmmm,” the Yoda asked.

“That if it is the will of the Force for me to be trapped, then it is the will of the Force,” Qui-Gon responded looking back at the Jedi Master.

Walking past Yoda, Qui-Gon ascended the few stairs to the caves entrance. Stopping at the opening, he gazed into the darkness beyond, feeling the Master’s eyes fixated on him as he stood there.

Turning his head and body half-way around, the child let out a small laugh.

“Besides Master,” Qui-Gon called back, “it’s just ice. If I am trapped, I will break it.”

Turning, the boy ran into the darkness of the cave.


***Content for this prologue was inspired by Star Wars The Clone Wars Season 5, Episode 6: “The Gathering.”***