Today, Lucasfilm revealed the cast of the upcoming Disney+ streaming series Obi-Wan Kenobi, which begins filming in April. The announcement reiterated that the series takes place 10 years after Ob-Wan Kenobi's duel with his fallen former padawan Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith. The series marks Ewan McGregor's first time returning to the role since Revenge of the Sith (and Hayden Christensen's return as Darth Vader). However, it is not the first time Star Wars' new canon has shown glimpses at Obi-Wan Kenobi's exile on Tatooine. Let's discuss the Obi-Wan Kenobi series's context with regards to the more extensive Star Wars timeline.
Taking place 10 years after Revenge of the Sith means the show takes place about nine years before Obi-Wan would face Darth Vader again in A New Hope. It also means it takes place a few years before Obi-Wan Kenobi's appearance in the Star Wars Rebels episode "Twin Suns," where he concluded his rivalry with Darth Maul. At this point, the likes of Saw Gerrera, Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma were already stoking the flames of rebellion, each in their way. Still, it would be years before the Rebel Alliance formed and posed a genuine threat to Emperor Palpatine's reign.
If it's 10 years after Revenge of the Sith, that means Luke Skywalker is 10 years old when the series takes place. With Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse reprising their roles as Luke's Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, fans will likely wonder if we'll get a glimpse at young Luke. We know from some stories set during this era that Obi-Wan watched and protected Luke from the periphery of Luke's life, often to Owen's frustration.
The story "Time of Death" by Cavan Scott (one of the authors involved with Star Wars: The High Republic) in the anthology book From a Certain Point of View (named for one of Obi-Wan's famous lines) tells a story set three years after Revenge of the Sith. Sensing danger at the Lars farm, Obi-Wan arrived to find the homestead under attack by raiders. Obi-Wan defeated the bandits but, rather than showing gratitude, Owen punched Obi-Wan, fearing the Jedi's heroics would inspire Luke to become more like his father.
Years passed, and Obi-Wan's hope for the future waned. The journals Obi-Wan left behind for Luke to find after his death, as seen in Marvel's ongoing Star Wars comic book series by Jason Aaron and Mike Mayhew, reveal events that take place about two years before the upcoming streaming series. Obi-Wan secretly thwarted Jabba the Hutt's attempts to extort local moisture farmers with a water tax. Luke, then only 8-years-old, confronted Jabba's men to retrieve what they'd taken from the farmers. Obi-Wan came to the boy's aid, though Luke was unconscious and unaware that Obi-Wan saved him. But Luke's spirit revitalizes Obi-Wan and offers him, if you will, a new hope.
A year later, this came back to haunt Obi-Wan. After watching Luke crash his skyhopper into the side of a canyon, Obi-Wan took a job to get some money and buy Luke replacement parts, which he had some Jawas deliver anonymously. Luke assumed the present came from Owen, but Owen could piece together what happened and returned the parts to Obi-Wan. Later, Owen decided to buy parts to give Luke himself. Simultaneously, Jabba had hired the Wookie bounty hunter Black Krrsantan to hunt Owen, believing the farmer was the one who roughed up his men in response to the water tax. Obi-Wan came to Owen's defense, and Owen would have died if not for Obi-Wan's skill with the Force and a timely rescue by Luke in his repaired skyhopper.
As for Obi-Wan's old apprentice, we know less about his activities at this time. We know about Vader's actions about five years before the Obi-Wan Kenobi series occurs through the Marvel Comics series Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, the novel Lords of the Sith, and his brief appearance in the video game Jedi: Fallen Order. That was at the Galactic Empire's height. We don't catch up with Vader in the timeline again until his appearances in Star Wars Rebels, which occurs another five or six years after the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, as the Rebel Alliance begins to take shape. There's an approximately 10-year period in-between that's unaccounted for in Vader's timeline. Obi-Wan Kenobi could fill in some of that blank, assuming his appearance is more than a vision.
It's also worth keeping in mind the dialog between Obi-Wan and Vader during their meeting in A New Hope. Besides Obi-Wan calling his opponent "Darth" as if it was his first name, as George Lucas clearly hadn't decided that it was a Sith title yet, Vader tells Obi-Wan that he "should not have come back." This series may redefine what that line refers to, making it a reference to a meeting between the events of the two trilogies. There's also a line of dialog in Return of the Jedi where Luke tries to bring his father back to the light side. Vader tells Luke that "Obi-Wan once thought as you did," implying that Obi-Wan may have made the same attempt to save Anakin in the past. Could that be a part of this series' story?
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