STAR WARS: ‘Why the World Does NOT Need an Obi-Wan Kenobi Movie’
“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, your’re my only hope.”
– Princess Leia Organa
As some of you may know, Star Wars is a pretty big deal for me. It is, without a doubt, my most beloved franchise and favorite sect of pop culture. So, it should be no surprise that when Disney purchased LucasFilm for a whopping $4.3 billions dollars back in 2012 with a promise that there would be more Star Wars movies with the original cast, I was beyond excited. Like WOOKIE roar kind of excited.
Shortly thereafter, it was announced that we would be getting a whole new trilogy as well as separate “Star Wars Anthology” films and I was LOSING MY MIND. The prospect of seeing Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca and others pass the torch to newer, younger characters made my heart skip beats and I couldn’t wait to see how Disney would reinvigorate the franchise with a slew of new movies that opened the world of the Star Wars Universe.
To give you a taste of how excited I was, take a look at the photo above. When The Force Awakens was announced, it came with this photo and I literally spent HOURS theorizing who was related to who and why certain characters were sitting next to each other. What a waste of time that was!
Anyway, the release of The Force Awakens, Rogue One and The Last Jedi all confirmed to me that, YES, my darling franchise was in good hands and going in a great direction. The portrayal and arc of the older characters spoke to my undying love of the Old Trilogy (OT), the new characters where dynamic, mysterious, and interesting, the stories were satisfying but the idea that I still had even more movies to consume, including Solo, a new trilogy from Rian Johnson, a BUNCH of TV series, a potential Obi-Wan Kenobi movie and more, pushed my love for Star Wars to new heights. Or so I thought…
For those that have been listening to The Fanboy Garage podcast hosted by myself and Chris Lisanti, we’ve gone very deep on Star Wars and unpacked our thoughts on Solo: A Star Wars Story and the future of the franchise as we see it now. During those conversations, I’ve openly struggled with the idea that maybe my tastes were changing and that what I thought I wanted from Star Wars wasn’t actually what I was getting from the franchise. Through that lens – I no longer want an Obi-Wan stand-alone film and we, the WORLD, will be better off without it.
Let me explain. As I examined the new movies produced and released under the Disney regime, it became PAINFULLY obvious to me that they were using my love and nostalgia to sell me something that may not have been an entirely fresh take on Star Wars. Think about that for a second. These “new” movies have a direct link to almost EVERYTHING we’ve seen, heard, and experienced before. And while that’s to be expected considering that the movies are prequels and sequels to the OT, we’ve not stepped away from things we already know and are familiar with.
The elements of nostalgia are an integral part of every story that we’ve seen thus far – from Star-Killer Base and its link to the Death Star, the presence of the Millennium Falcon, the appearance of Darth Vader, to an ENTIRE movie dedicated to Han Solo and then some – we are being bombarded by the “familiar”. And that move right there – an ENTIRE film that “looks back” on one beloved character – seems to have exploited a weakness in the Star Wars franchise and its ability to tell compelling stories. LucasFilm went ahead and made a movie to “fill in the gaps” of a character we already love and are familiar with. We didn’t need the context or rationale on the hows or the whys. Like I said on The Fanboy Garage – “Solo had to compete with your own imagination and nothing ever beats that.” So, creating a story that checks the mystery boxes of a character’s past leaves little room for “the new” or as I like to call it – RISK. See, regardless of what happened in Solo: A Star Wars Story or how fun of a movie it was, the character of Han Solo had to feel the same and end up in or around the same circumstances when we meet him in Episode IV. This will be the EXACT SAME situation if we ever get a Kenobi movie.
The prequels, specifically Episode III; put Obi-Wan right where we he needed to be – on Tatooine silently watching over Luke. The character pops up in Rebels (set a couple of years before New Hope), again on Tatooine and if there is a standalone movie he has to END back on Tatooine. According to Star Wars canon, there’s about 19 years of time that goes by between Revenge of the Sith and New Hope. That’s A LOT of time for one person to spend by himself on one planet and I do not doubt Obi-Wan moved around and had himself an adventure or two. While the prospect of joining “Old Ben” on an off-world adventure could be fun, the fact of the matter is there wouldn’t be any risks or stakes involved and that’s a problem.
Now don’t get me wrong, much like Solo, a story set within this 19 year time period would enrich the other Star Wars movies or could potentially connect a thread to some of the characters across the movies (i.e. Vader or Snoke) but I highly doubt it would do much to serve the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi Master. What’s worse, is that it would have us living in the same sort of timeline we’ve been beholden to over the past 40 years. An Obi-Wan stand-alone would be a limited story within a larger narrative – that being the Saga films.
Imagine the Saga films being a single line that stretches 80 or so years, all of the other “Star Wars Story” movies are just offshoots from that line. Nothing has gone further into the past of the prequels or the future of Ep IX. That’s beginning to feel stale but there is hope and we’ll just have to wait and see how LucasFilm pulls it off. Personally, I’d love movies that explore and dive deeper into Jedi lore without referencing a Skywalker or “the chosen one” or even films set well beyond Episode IX that hint at the start of a new Force using order started by Rey. I could spend years giving you different takes on Star Wars but will save it for another time. All I know right now, like my co-host Chris Lisanti of The Fanboy Garage said, my Star Wars tastes have evolved and for the time being, I firmly stand behind my opinion that we’d all be better off without Obi-Wan.
May the Force be With You Always!