Tatooine

A Man in Debt to a Hutt

Guest Talker: Michael Miller

In the lead up to Hutt Week, Jeff (The Imperial Talker) and I were having a discussion about a Hutt-related issue that has always confused me.  It’s not directly a Hutt thing but it’s certainly Hutt adjacent.  It’s the type of thing I try not to think about, lest it keep me up at night, struggling in vain to find a workable answer.  Try as I might, I can’t.  The question is simple – Why doesn’t Han just pay Jabba what he owes him? 

Jeff’s already discussed the Hutt crime organization this week so there’s no need for me to go back over the whole structure when it’s a handy hyperlink away.  But here’s the basic rundown of the plot that ties Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt, culminating in the first act of Return Of The Jedi.  Han smuggles for Jabba.  Han dumps his shipment at the sign of Imperial cruisers.  Jabba’s (understandably) a little upset about this.  Jabba wants his money…or he wants Han dead.  Han (also understandably) would rather not die.  So he needs some money.

In the original version of A New Hope, Han fries poor Greedo and then gets the hell out of Dodge, with plans to pay Jabba back after his easy charter to Alderaan. In the Special Edition, we see Han and Jabba talk it out first – Han promises Jabba a little more money and Jabba’s fine with it…as long as Han delivers.  And then he skips town for his easy charter.  As fate (of the Force) would have it, there’s nothing easy about the run.  Han Solo and Chewbacca end up in the heart of the rebellion against the Empire, rescuing Princess Leia, and helping Luke Skywalker in the assault against the Death Star.  Victory ensues and medals are awarded…and then we jump to the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back.  The classic exchange on the Hoth Base goes like this:

Han Solo – General, I’ve got to leave.  I can’t stay anymore.
General Rieekan – I’m sorry to hear that.
Han Solo – Well, if I don’t pay off Jabba the Hutt, I’m a dead man.
General Rieekan – A death mark’s not an easy thing to live with.  You’re a good fighter Solo, I hate to lose you.
Han Solo – Thank you, General.

You don’t mess around with the Hutts, especially Jabba.  I get that.  But here’s what troubles me…didn’t Han get a reward for saving Leia?  Didn’t we see Han and Chewie loading several crates of credits on board the Falcon at the end of A New Hope?  Even if Han had given his heart and his soul to the Rebellion (or a certain Princess…), why didn’t he take a short detour to Tatooine to pay off Jabba with the money he had?  The Expanded Universe gave us an answer that involved a gambling problem and some Ocean’s Eleven-style high jinks (thank you Timothy Zahn!) but we all know that’s not canon anymore.  And even if it was, even if Han lost all the money doing something stupid, if he’s such an asset to the Rebellion why wouldn’t they help him with the debt??

The Rebellion, by the very nature of an organization like this, has to have decent cash reserves.  They need to maintain their fleet, bases, equipment, and spy network at the very least.  Why wouldn’t they divert a little money to help Han out, especially if it meant they got to keep Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the fastest ship in the fleet?

han-solo-frozen-in-carbonite_3
Han didn’t pay Jabba, so Han becomes a wall decoration in Jabba’s palace. Seems fair to me.

Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

It should be a very simple equation.  Like I said, you don’t mess with Jabba the Hutt or you die.  Han has messed with Jabba the Hutt and is going to die.  Han does not want to die so he needs money.  Han gets money/the Rebellion has monetary reserves.  Han uses his/the Rebellion’s money to pay off Jabba, thus appeasing the Hutt and preserving his life.  Except it all gets a little wonky…  The equation ends up going, Han doesn’t want to die so he needs money.  Han (and the Rebellion) just wait around until a bounty hunter grabs him. Then Luke, Leia, Chewie, Lando, and the droids (some of the Rebellion’s most important assets) have to devote a lot of side time trying to rescue Han.

This has always vexed me.  And unfortunately, this short little post isn’t going to offer any brilliant insights or observations to get us out of this little funk.  Because, quite frankly, I have none. If you do, there’s a lovely little comment section below.  You’d be doing me a HUGE favor if you can put my mind at ease and explain this.  Lacking any sort of logical answer to this question, I’ve found it best to just not think about it!  Is that avoiding the problem?  Yes, but I’ve plenty of other things to occupy my mind as I try to fall asleep – like what did Han do with all that money?  Does he have a gambling problem?  Oh poor Chewbacca…


Check out these other Hutt Week posts:

The Imperial Talker Presents: Hutt Week

Hutts: Galactic Gangsters

Hutt Week: “Cute” Jabba the Hutt Merchandise (by Jenmarie from Anakin and His Angel)

Jabba the (CGI) Hutt

Why Ziro’s  My Hero (by Andrew – @AndrewinBelfast)

Hutt Haiku Poems

The Hutts of Mataou

Hutt Profile: Gardulla

Heir to a Criminal Empire

Hutt Week: A Conclusion

Crossing the Threshold

The scene in A New Hope when Luke enters the Mos Eisley Cantina is,  in many respects, one of the most important scenes in the film.  In fact, I would even put it close to the top of the list (perhaps AT the top). You see,  Luke’s entrance into the Mos Eisley Cantina quite literally represents the crossing of a threshold, the moment he, as the hero of the movie, enters an entirely new, foreign realm and truly leaves his past life behind him. One of the stages in what mythologist Joseph Campbell dubbed the Hero’s Journey, “Crossing the Threshold” is the moment where the burgeoning hero puts his/her past life behind them. Life will truly never be the same again for the individual in question, and they must now begin the process of adapting to this new, unexplored territory.

And that new, unexplored territory is precisely the galaxy that Luke will encounter once he leaves Tatooine. The Cantina, then, serves as a small microcosm of the galaxy-at-large, a cross-section of intriguing and frightening beings he may (and will) come across as he ventures forth. Very quickly, though, Luke discovers, and we along with him, that this realm, with all of its fascinating strangeness, is also incredibly dangerous. Only moments after his entrance into the Cantina, Luke is accosted by two individuals, Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba, who wish him harm because they “don’t like him.” In fact, Dr. Evazan will even level a death threat at the young Skywalker.

Star-Wars-Evazan
Dr. Evazan threatens Luke while Ponda Baba looks on. 
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Nothing says “Welcome to the Real World” like your life being threatened.

Of course, we can feel bad for the poor kid receiving the threat, but this danger is also necessary for Luke, even if it seems sudden and extreme. More dangers await Luke in the future and, frankly, he has to start growing up at some point, leaving his boyish immaturity behind. Metamorphosis is necessary for the hero, and transformation will only happen as one encounters the realities of this new realm.

Yet, while it may be that Luke physically enters the Cantina and begins to encounter this new, unchartered territory, he is not the only one who crosses the threshold. We also cross it with him. Luke’s crossing is our crossing, the moment when we are also introduced to a number of the strange creatures and mysterious sounds of the Star Wars galaxy. Even though we have, up to that moment in the film, encountered some of the exciting wonders of the Star Wars, these moments were limited in scope. Now, as Luke enters the Cantina, that universe rapidly expands for him and us.

But what makes this all the more interesting is that writer/director George Lucas intentionally allows you and I to experience the sights and sounds BEFORE Luke. It is, in a sense, as if we descend into the Cantina ahead of the young Skywalker and then turn around to see his expression.

And what we experience, what Luke experiences a moment after us, is anything but subtle, overwhelming the ears and eyes.

Cantina Band
The Cantina Band (they are Bith).
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

The iconic music of the Cantina band begins playing immediately as the scene begins, music that is nothing like the orchestral sounds we have heard up to this point in A New Hope. Plus, this music is diegetic, coming from the strange looking band in one corner of the establishment. What we are hearing is exactly what Luke  will hear, and  what the other patrons of the Cantina  hear.

And speaking of those patrons,  we are introduced to them as the band plays. In shot-after-shot, we get to meet these new, and quite literal, alien creatures. Having crossed the threshold into the Cantina with Luke, our old ways of describing reality, and Luke’s, are left behind, and we must now begin to formulate new terminology and definitions going forward. These beings push our limits of conceptual understanding, we simply have no words to adequately describe them.

Duros in Cantina
A pair of Duros sit in the Cantina.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Of course, today, we DO have names for the numerous alien species that inhabit are in the Cantina. Plus, many of those species  have appeared in a number of other parts of the Star Wars canon (and Expanded Universe). But knowing that there is a Duros, Bith, Devaronian, Ithorian, and Aqualish in the Cantina should not distract us from the original purpose of  the Cantina scene: as a physical representation of his crossing the threshold into the unknown, introducing both him and us to a handful of the strange, fascinating, and terrifying mysteries that the galaxy (and Star Wars universe) offers.

This is also precisely why I suggest newcomers to Star Wars begin with A New Hope. In doing so, they will not only cross the threshold of the Cantina with Luke, but will cross over into the Star Wars galaxy in the same way so many of us have also done.

Cantina Creature
An Arcona in the Mos Eisley Cantina.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

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.