There are plenty of rumors about a spin off Star Wars movie that chart Obi-Wan Kenobi’s adventures on Tatooine between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. But Marvel’s Star Wars comics have been doing a grand job of exploring that ground already. This week the comic returned to not-quite-old Ben with some interesting insight to his relationship with Owen Lars.
Spoilers ahead for Star Wars #15, by Jason Aaron, Mike Mayhew, and Chris Eliopoulos.
Even in the brief mention of Obi-Wan that Uncle Owen mutters over dinner in A New Hope, it’s pretty clear that there’s some hostility between him and that crazy old wizard. And so far in these “interlude” issues between story arcs, that beef has mainly been around Owen’s ceaseless desire to keep a Jedi like Obi-Wan as far away from young Luke Skywalker as much as possible. He might actually be onto something there, too, because Star Wars #15 is pretty much entirely about showing that Obi-Wan is doing a terrible job of keeping himself secreted away from the world.
Obi-Wan has a good reason for that. He spent his entire life as a Jedi, trying to help and protect people. It’s in his blood to stand up for the needy, whether that’s watching over Luke, protecting Jawas from Tusken Raider attacks, or going out of his way to get parts for Luke to repair his crashed Skyhopper.
Even though Obi-Wan is doing good, here it’s framed almost like he’s just addicted to the thrill of being a Jedi again. He’s a crazy old man who spends all night flinging Tusken Raiders around for the fun of it like some mercenary for hire. He’s out there watching Luke, day in day out, hoping that he’ll show a spark of force talent like his father did. He’s already attracted the attention of Jabba the Hutt, from the last time he saved Luke. Obi-Wan’s dictionary must have a very different definition of “laying low” to ours.
It’s all from a good place that Obi-Wan does these things, but to Owen it’s just painting a giant target on Luke’s back. After his night of Tusken-beating, Obi-Wan gets Luke some parts to repair the Skyhopper he crashes at the start of the issue. Then, Ben confronts him and tells him that even though he thinks he’s doing the right thing, eventually, his interventions are going to get Luke killed:
He comes off like a dick himself, in turn. After everything we see in this issue, however, Owen is kind of right. Obi-Wan might not have gotten Anakin killed like Owen thinks he did. (Presumably, Obi-Wan skipped the bit where he sliced his step brother’s limbs off and waltzed off while his stumpy torso immolated on Mustafar when he told the Lars what went down.) But sooner rather than later, his actions and his open use of his Force powers are going to get noticed. Obi-Wan can’t help but help, and one day it’ll damn Luke, as well as his Aunt and Uncle… well, it’ll damn his Aunt and Uncle, certainly.
These little slices of Obi-Wan’s life in the comics have offered some pretty great insight into the character. They’ve also found a great middle ground between the charming young hero we met in the prequels and the wise old wizard of the original trilogy, while exploring how those two halves of Obi-Wan have to eventually reconcile with each other.
Honestly, if we keep getting these one off interludes every few months, I could live without an Obi-Wan spin off movie. Marvel are already doing a great job of delivering on this story already.