When I first heard about a potential Star Wars movie devoted to telling Obi-Wan Kenobi’s untold story, I initially rejected the idea. With a universe so expansive and well developed as the Star Wars universe, there just didn’t seem to be any reason, other than a financial one, to continually focus on the small group of characters we already know and love. However, whilst trying to come to terms with the idea, I began to wonder if there was any way an Obi-Wan movie could be A New Hope, rather than a Phantom Menace (see what I did there?).
With that in mind, here is how I think an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie could be an amazing addition to the franchise.
1. Casting: Ewan McGregor Returns as Obi-Wan Kenobi
The Star Wars franchise has a notorious history in casting choices that can range from the spectacular (Harrison Ford) to the misguided (Hayden Christensen). There are many reasons why Ewan McGregor deserves to continue his run as Obi-Wan Kenobi, but above all else is his quality as an actor. Ewan has proven before (Trainspotting) and after (The Impossible) the prequels that he is capable of powerful and emotional performances. If this movie comes into fruition, the role will be much more demanding than his previous performances as Kenobi. This is especially true if Disney decide to…
2. Choose the Right Timeline: Tatooine
When deciding an appropriate time in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s life to expand on screen, the obvious choices boil down to two options. The first would be to focus on a young padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, training under Qui-Gon Jinn. The movie would span from his acceptance into the academy until the opening scene of A Phantom Menace. No matter how emotionally involved I am with the Star Wars universe, there is no part of me that wishes to see this unfold on the big screen, as it would mostly re-tell tropes we already know, namely the path of a young Jedi learning under the wings of a wiser accomplice.
The second significant period of time in Obi-Wan’s life that remains cinematically untold begins at the very end of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Now firmly grounded on Tatooine for the foreseeable future, Obi-Wan certainly transgresses by the time we meet him again in A New Hope. This, in my opinion, is the perfect timeline to provide us with further insight into how Obi-Wan overcame the emotional damage caused by the events of the Star Wars prequels to become at one with the light side of the force.
3. Inspiration: Make it a Western
In A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, it is clear that Tatooine’s inhabitants and their endeavours are inspired by traditional tropes belonging to gangster movies. The Mos Eisley cantina is your scummy bar filled with dodgy dealings, whereas Jabba the Hut is the unapologetic ‘Godfather’ figure, surrounded by his entourage. Strip away the sci-fi elements of this story, and Tatooine is the traditional vice-fuelled gangster setting. Obi-Wan’s story would not be best served as a sci-fi gangster flick, but fortunately for us, these tropes share many similarities with another once-popular genre, the Western.
Taking inspiration from classic westerns (The Searchers, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West, to name a few) would be the perfect avenue to tell Obi-Wan’s time on Tatooine. The genre often focuses on a ‘loner’ or ‘wanderer’, who has a mysteriously troubled past that those around him can’t understand – making him misunderstood and preventing him from fitting into society. Doesn’t this describe Obi-Wan’s persona on Tatooine perfectly? His only meaning in life is to protect a boy who spends his free time shooting womp rats. During Luke’s uneventful years, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that Obi-Wan spent much of his time soul searching, wandering the baron wasteland that is Tatooine and performing acts of kindness and justice whenever possible.
The western genre would also be the perfect inspiration for the tribulations Obi-Wan faces in his stand along movie. I’m talking about space saloons, quick-draw shoot outs and cold-blooded killers. However, even with all this, there is a huge part of Obi-Wan’s character that needs a vital role in his movie – his spirituality.
4. Jedi Spirituality: Show Kenobi’s Path to Inner Peace
Despite taking influence from the wild west, the movie’s underlying focus (and Kenobi’s character arc throughout the movie) should be his relationship with the light side, and how this helps him deal with the trauma of losing Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin’s betrayal and the Empire’s dominance throughout the galaxy. His cave on Tatooine can cleverly juxtapose the surrounding chaos by being his very own fortress of solitude, where he spends time searching for inner-peace.
This offers an entirely different story to the six current Star Wars features. Instead of focusing on a group’s epic adventure, we are taken on Obi-Wan’s lonesome journey both inwards and outwards. As he aids those in need on the outside, we see him help himself on the inside. This is a vital component to making an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie worthwhile – to be able to understand the character better and get closer to his own psychology.
Still taking inspiration from many Westerns, imagine this as the movie’s basic structure:
During a routine journey across the desert, Obi-Wan encounters an injustice he cannot ignore. Due to his kind nature, he is forced to intervene – an act that escalates greatly, but ultimately allows him to find peace with his past, preparing him for his role as Luke’s guardian in A New Hope.
None of which would be possible without…
5. Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn… in ‘Force Ghost’ Form!
In the same way that seeing Ewan McGregor reprise his role could actually make us like the prequel trilogies a little more, seeing Neeson return as Qui-Gon Jinn would likely have the same effect. As Obi-Wan confirms in Revenge of the Sith that he has been in contact with the eternal spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn, it would be illogical for this movie to take place without Qui-Gon appearing as Kenobi’s ghostly guardian. This gives our wandering loner a dialogue with a character we love, whilst also keeping him as an isolated figure. His cave, as I mentioned earlier, would act as his fortress of solitude, where he communicates with his deceased master.
Although Qui-Gon was one of the few redeeming components of The Phantom Menace, most of his actions throughout the movie resulted in carnage. Kenobi’s stand alone movie could also redeem Qui-Gon as a character, allowing him to finish training Obi-Wan so he can be a stronger and better-prepared role model to Luke than he was for Anakin.
So, there we have it! 5 things that I believe can make an Obi-Wan-centered movie a hugely satisfying addition to the Star Wars franchise. What did you think of these points? Let me know in the comments below, or go one step further by creating your own post about this.