Disney and Lucasfilm currently have fans in a blast to the past with Obi-Wan Kenobi, long before the battles between Rey and Kylo Ren from the recently-released sequel trilogy. With Ewan McGregor now back to play his iconic character from Episode I to Episode III, this show has the opportunity to fill in a number of gaps throughout the entire Skywalker Saga.
Obi-Wan Kenobi shows the grizzled former Jedi Master being forced out of hiding on Tatooine in order to save a 10-year-old Princess Leia, who finds herself entangled with the Empire as they expand their reign over the galaxy. This, of course, comes decades before her role as a general with the Resistance starting in Episode VII, going up against her own son, Kylo Ren, as he leads the opposing First Order.
While this story takes place before both the original movies and the 21st-century sequels, the Skywalker family legacy is front and center in this story - a legacy that has a thread in nearly every Star Wars project ever released. This thread came up in a recent interview with Obi-Wan Kenobi's head writer, who shed some light on a couple of important connections that fans see in stories that come later in the timeline.
Obi-Wan Writer on Kylo Ren Tie to Disney+
Obi-Wan Kenobi head writer Joby Harold spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about how he tied together small details between this series and other projects from the Skywalker saga. Specifically, he looked at the specific focus on the relationship between Obi-Wan and Princess Leia, which has been a part of the story for much longer than fans may have expected.
Harold noted that it was helpful to have an end goal in the events of Episode IV to look to, specifically the moment when Leia sends the message "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope" with R2-D2.
Obi-Wan Kenobi not only solidifies the reasoning behind that moment, but it also teases why Leia later names her son Ben before the sequel trilogy. Obi-Wan played as big of a role in Leia's life as he did her brother, Luke, so Harold saw this relationship as "a big component in her life" during her growth from childhood to adulthood, with Leia knowing Obi-Wan only as Ben at the start:
"It was very helpful to know where they were going because it answers the question of, 'Why him?' So, 'Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope,' feels less arbitrary as a choice and a decision now that we know the depth of the history they have together. The context within which Leia says that in A New Hope is now canon, and it’s clear. So it will be articulated as the show continues, but I liked the fact that it helped reinforce and better articulate a little piece of the jigsaw that is already in place. If you watch all of the Star Wars stories in a row right now, you’d be like, 'Of course, she’s going to go to Obi-Wan.' She also ends up naming her son, Ben [Adam Driver]. So I liked the fact that he was a big component in her life, as much as he was in Luke’s life up until now. It felt right after everything that happened with Anakin and those two children that he would be there for both children, to the degree he now has been in canon."
The head writer also looked at this show holding the true first encounter between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader after Anakin Skywalker turned fully to the Dark Side.
He noted how there was no specific line in Episode IV that kept the team from having Obi-Wan and Vader meet before their first theatrical encounter in 1977, pointing out the gray areas that were available to use. Harold even admitted to feeling that the decisions made in the original trilogy "actually make more sense now," with this show tying the originals and the prequels together more closely:
"It was much the opposite. There was no line in A New Hope that said we couldn’t. One could argue that Obi-Wan’s 'from a certain point of view' thing is obviously revisionist storytelling in regard to the original trilogy, or it’s another way of saying there are gray areas and things we don’t know. There’s nothing wrong with uncovering the past and its truths in storytelling, so it never felt wrong to me. There’s nothing that I feel like we’ve violated at all. If anything, we’ve informed those scenes so that some of the choices that we’ve taken for granted in the [original trilogy] actually make more sense now. If you came to the entire Star Wars storytelling world fresh and watched it all the way through from Episode I, this would feel like a natural link between those two trilogies."
When asked if Leia was involved when he joined the series in the first place, Harold wasn't exactly sure of the timing, although he admitted that her inclusion was the only thing that could have brought Obi-Wan out of hiding on Tatooine. He described Leia as the only thing that Obi-Wan would actually leave Luke for, also saying how glad he is to actually be able to talk about Leia without using any sort of code name:
"To this degree, I can’t remember. The notion of Leia on the board was always the most interesting way of getting Obi-Wan out of hiding. If you think about it, there’s nothing else that could bring him out. He’s not going to leave Luke for anybody except Leia. Why else would he abandon that post? The notion of him looking over Luke and not looking over Leia was always a question for everybody once you realize the importance of those two characters side by side. So we had that be a question we confronted head on. Bail [Jimmy Smits] says to Obi-Wan in the cave, 'Why him and not her?' So she’s the only thing that I believe he would leave Luke for. There’s nothing else he would be called to do where he wouldn’t stay by Luke’s side. I’m so glad that we were able to keep it a surprise for as long as we were and that I no longer have to use her code name. It’s nice to be able to say Leia out loud. Leia."
Leia's Influence From Old Ben Kenobi
Obi-Wan Kenobi is finally giving fans a look into just why the adult Leia Organa searched so desperately for the former Jedi Master in the first scene from Star Wars 45 years ago. Due to Alec Guinness' version of the character being killed off in the first movie, the two never interacted with one another on-screen, which left many fans wondering what the deal was with their relationship.
As it turns out, not only does the Disney+ show indicate why the two were so close, but Obi-Wan was so important to Leia that she named her own son after the man who will have saved her life by the end of Part VI. With two episodes of the series remaining, and with only a slight nod to Season 2 being a possibility, fans will see are sure to find out why Kylo Ren got his particular birth name decades before he came into existence.
The first four parts of Obi-Wan Kenobi are now available to stream on Disney+.