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Insightful News

Obi-Wan Kenobi is back. Here's what it means for the Star Wars saga.

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Star Wars: Rebels episode “Twin Suns.” 

From a certain point of view, Obi-Wan Kenobi sits at the very center of the entire Star Wars saga. 

Dead or alive, Kenobi is the only human character who shows his face in every episode of the original and prequel trilogies. His inability to prevent the rise of the Empire, or the creation of Darth Vader, is the core story of Episodes I-III. Kenobi’s nurturing of Luke — and lying to the kid about his dad — sets in motion the core story of Episodes IV-VI. The core mystery of how he turned into a Force ghost when he lost his duel with Darth Vader in Star Wars lasted six whole movies. 

Whenever the Jedi Master shows up in Star Wars canon, it’s a big deal. Especially when we finally get to see him on Tatooine, roughly disguised as the crazy old wizard Ben Kenobi who guards young Luke Skywalker from a distance, destroying an old enemy, and confirming the reason for his lonely vigil. 

That’s what the animated series Star Wars: Rebels gave fans in its most recent episode, “Twin Suns”: their first official taste of Obi-Wan between the trilogies. One that left you wanting more, not least because Kenobi is a dark and near-broken hero for our dark and near-broken times. 

We almost got that “more” back in 2014. An excellent novel named Kenobi told the story of what the Ewan MacGregor version of Obi-Wan did during his first year on the backwater of sandy Tatooine. Positive reception from fans heralded the possibility of more tales from Kenobi’s Tatooine days; after all, the guy was there for 19 years before the events of Star Wars

But Kenobi had the misfortune to be the last book published before Lucasfilm did a hard reset on the official Star Wars story. All Star Wars books gained the brand “Legends,” a code word for “never really happened.” 

Meanwhile, the animated series Rebels has been struggling with a subplot around Darth Maul. (Yeah, if you’re not following the cartoons, that Darth Maul, the one that was sliced in half by Obi-Wan at the end of The Phantom Menace. He came back in George Lucas’ animated series Clone Wars, his lower half replaced by mechanical spider legs.) 

In Rebels, Maul has been trying to turn Force-sensitive youngster Ezra Bridger into his evil apprentice for some time now, meeting with failure after failure. The former Sith lord has become a pathetic figure and the storyline is long past its prime; Maul needed to be killed off again, this time as definitively and clearly as the rebel heroes in Rogue One.

And who better to do that job than the Jedi who sliced him in half in the first place?