How “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Can Teach Us Something About Obi-Wan Kenobi!

With its first-ever flashback to a younger Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) in the prequel era of “Star Wars,” the penultimate episode of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” has generated a lot of buzzes, and with good reason.

The “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series is a pleasant change from Disney’s early productions after the acquisition of Lucasfilm, which studiously avoided references to George Lucas’s much-maligned prequel trilogy.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Vader and Obi-recollections Wan’s of a training duel between them (which takes place before or during the events of “Attack of the Clones”) are interspersed throughout the episode and serve to contextualize their ongoing conflict.

As much as this season and this episode owe to the Clone Wars era of “Star Wars” canon, they may owe even more to a rather unexpected source: “The Last Jedi,” which is set decades after the events of this season and this episode.

The ending scene, in which Obi-Wan protects a small group of rebels in their underground hideout on Jabiim, is likely to be compared to the last act of Rian Johnson’s movie, which has a very similar setup (even down to the detail of a vengeance-seeking, red lightsaber-wielding Dark Sider leading the attack).

On the other hand, many have pointed out that Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker’s stories share striking similarities. The influence of “The Last Jedi” is evident in “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” with its emphasis on protecting innocent lives rather than taking them.

Failure Is the Best Teacher

Audiences entering “Obi-Wan Kenobi” knew that much of Kenobi’s time in exile between “Revenge of the Sith” and “Star Wars” would primarily deal with his lingering guilt in allowing his former Padawan to fall to the Dark Side.

“The Last Jedi,” which had to retroactively figure out why Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker disappeared from the galaxy between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens.” The failure of both Jedi Masters to properly mentor their apprentices has repercussions throughout the Star Wars saga.

Director Deborah Chow and writers Joby Harold and Andrew Stanton make a point in Episode 5 of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” to emphasize the gravity of Obi-missteps.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi

Wan’s Reva (Moses Ingram) is revealed to have been a youngling who barely escaped Anakin’s bloodthirsty rampage through the Jedi temple following the implementation of Palpatine’s Order 66.

Similar to how Ben Solo blames his uncle Luke for the events of “The Last Jedi,” the Inquisitor ultimately plans to turn on Vader for his crimes, but she holds Obi-Wan personally responsible for allowing such a thing to happen in the first place.

Even though Anakin (and Kylo Ren) is ultimately responsible for his own choices and his inability to learn from his Master, putting these flashbacks of their lightsaber duel right next to Darth Vader’s mission to find and kill Obi-Wan at any cost only highlights our hero’s flaws.

It’s a good thing, to be sure! In the end, not even Jedi are immune to the frailties of the human condition. For starters, we’re interested in seeing Obi-Wan reflect on his past mistakes.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

See You Around, Young Man

In the end, we find out why it is that “The Last Jedi” keeps circling back to this one training session between Obi-Wan and Anakin. To teach his Padawan a lesson, Obi-Wan takes advantage of the young man’s competitive nature and desire to prove himself by winning a training duel.

This is deftly sprinkled throughout the episode in bite-sized chunks that tie in with the viewers’ emotional trajectories at pivotal moments in the current plot.

After Obi-Wan stealthily removes the refugees from sight, Vader is left to reflect on the harsh lesson he learned when Anakin, in the flashback, is robbed of his weapon as a victim of his own recklessness.

To compare this sparring session between Obi-Wan and Anakin to Luke and Kylo Ren’s final “duel” on Crait, a similar lesson in tough love albeit with much higher stakes, was difficult.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Kylo Ren is so consumed by his rage and his obsession with his former Master that he cannot fathom the possibility that Luke’s arrival on Crait to buy time for the Resistance’s remaining members to escape is a trap. Obi-Wan correctly foretells to Reva that Vader will lose all peripheral awareness in his quest for vengeance against a captured Obi-Wan.

“You become too aggressive, Anakin. Take care to pay attention. A Jedi’s duty is to protect innocent lives, not to take them.”

In a neat parallel to Luke’s own actions from decades later, when he uses defensive powers (Force projection) to keep Kylo Ren occupied, Obi-words Wan’s to Anakin reverberate throughout the rest of the episode. There has never been a time when Obi-Wan and Luke, mentor and student, have felt more alike.

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