I just finished a rewatch of every Star Wars movie in preparation for Rise of Skywalker, the last Star Wars entry chronicling the extended tribe of Skywalkers. But what happened to the Kenobis? (I still hold out “hope” that Rey is a Kenobi, somehow.)
Well, we do know old Ben became a Force Ghost, although calling that version of him “more powerful than you could possibly imagine” is a real stretch. As RunPee Dan amusingly put it, Kenobi became little more than a Jedi Whisperer.
So it’s not clear in what way he became more powerful, even a little bit. Yoda seemed to stay reasonably powerful (he destroys the Jedi Tree of Knowledge, after all), or at least, he’s still actively in the game. Obi-Wan is simply…gone. So was he lying? Exaggerating? Trying to get Anakin’s goat?
It became clear in my rewatch that Kenobi likes to lie, and does it as easy as breathing. He excuses himself, saying, “I told you the truth, from a certain point of view,”…but really? If he wanted, he could rationalize away any of the “truths we cling to” if they’re too complicated to actually explain.
Here are a few more lies that could possibly be truths if you wave your hands around long enough to Force-wipe the weak-minded:
- “I don’t seem to remember ever owning a droid.” I guess technically R2 was Padme’s droid. But he and Obi-Wan should be on
speakingbeeping terms, at least. They spent YEARS working together in the prequel trilogy. And for that matter, Obi-Wan also worked with C-3PO. But while Threepio had a memory wipe (which excuses him from not remembering his Maker), Artoo was never wiped. They make a point of this. R2 could have told Luke in Binary that…oh, he used to fly with Luke’s mother and that Darth Vader was his DAD, who created Threepio… No, wait. It would have been simpler for Kenobi to say that, and a whole lot more. Watch Obi-Wan’s face as he lies, below. His eyes dart to the side. He chooses his words, as always, very carefully.
- “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” (Hand-wave, hand-wave.) At least this bald-faced lie has a point. The entire premise of A New Hope rests on it.
- Vader betrayed and murdered your father: I’m sorry, but no, this doesn’t really wash. I suppose Kenobi didn’t think Luke could handle the truth, but still: no. There’s really no excusing this one, no matter how he dances around points of view. Here’s his lyin’ eyes darting around again.
- About Luke’s lightsaber: “Your father wanted you to have this, when you were old enough.” Anakin never said or did anything to imply he would pass on his lightsaber to his son. I’m not clear at what point Anakin knew he even HAD living children. And he used that weapon to try to kill Obi-Won, didn’t he? I doubt at any time he said, “If you kill me during our fight, give this lightsaber to my child some day.” If we can assume that the lie is just there to make Luke want to follow him and learn the ways of the Force, that is some pretty expert emotional manipulation by one Mr. Kenobi. (Watch Obi-Wan casually pick up Anakin’s lightsaber as he walks away from newly-quadruple amputee Anakin, who is on fire. Harsh.)
- Kenobi says he’s from a more ‘civilized day’ in the Republic. The prequels make it plain his youthful days with Qui-Gon weren’t like that at all. Maybe all those trade disputes qualify as civilized. And maybe Obi-Wan even lies to himself about the past, the Jedi Order, and his place in creating one of the worst genocidal maniacs in the galaxy.
- “Your uncle didn’t hold with your father’s ideals.” Everything Kenobi says about Owen and Beru Lars are false. They aren’t even related to Luke. At best, “Uncle” Owen and Anakin are step-brothers who met once. Did Owen and Beru even know Anakin became Darth Vader? From the look they shot Luke when he talked about his father, they seemed in on it. Really, this is clear as mud.
- Kenobi sends Luke to Yoda, saying Yoda was the Jedi Master who instructed him. This is at least a half-truth, or a quarter-truth. Kenobi was Qui-Gon Jinn’s Padawan. Yoda was only his Master to the extent that Yoda was everyone’s teacher from their Youngling days. Maybe Kenobi didn’t think the distinction was relevant.
- “You can’t win, Darth.” Several times Obi-Wan calls Anakin by his Sith title in A New Hope. You may argue that George Lucas hadn’t nailed all those details down yet, or that Ben is simply being insulting. But once it’s written, stick with it. Don’t go changing the rules in your sequels just because it’s inconvenient.
- Who is this “Ben,” anyway? He’s never called Ben in the prequels. His first name is Obi-Wan. I get that Kenobi was in hiding on Tatooine…but if that’s the case, why keep the surname Kenobi? Why let infant Luke keep the Skywalker last name at all? And why raise him on the same degenerate desert slave planet Anakin lived on? If you start digging around these plot holes, the whole thing collapses.
- Finally, even his last line was a lie. Kenobi told Yoda: “That boy is our last hope.” Kenobi held Leia in his hands at her birth. He knew there was another Skywalker, and knew exactly where she was and what she was doing on behalf of the Rebellion. He and Yoda both knew. This is just lazy exposition. Or bad follow-through on behalf of the prequels. Possibly both.
- Speaking of Leia: when Luke plays the holo-vid of the Princess’ plea to Obi-Wan, that would have been an ideal time to tell him that was his sister. He deserved to know, and it might have saved him from a few illicit fantasies. He used Luke’s obvious attraction as a lure to entice the youth to go with him to Alderaan. Is a lie of omission still a lie?
Did old Ben ever tell the unvarnished truth?
Well, Mos Eisley was a wretched hive of scum and villainy. So chalk one up for the old Jedi Master.
We need an expose on The Life and Lies of Obi-Wan Kenobi to sit on the bookshelf next to the one about Albus Dumbledore. Apparently, lying to young orphans who look to you is all part of The Mentor’s Manual.
But I don’t mind Dumbledore and Obi-Wan being a little shady. That adds complexity. It was hard to get a straight answer out of Gandalf, too. It must be a wizard thing.
She’s actually NOT “far too trusting”:
One final addition. Princess Leia knows all about falsehood. She’s a politician. Watch as Grand Moff Tarkin and Senator Leia Organa trade lies. (Leia’s face at 1:24 is the moment she decides to lie to Tarkin about Dantooine.)
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Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)