Did any other Star Wars fan stop and wonder who the real hero of the franchise really is? Many people might say Luke Skywalker and others might even say Anakin. Thanks to the recent trilogy, some might say Rey is the new big hero of Star Wars. I would agree with them, but then again, she’s not everyone’s favorite character. Rey is often accused of being a Mary Sue, which is accurate to a degree. However, she made her mark and I hope to see more of her in the future.
As for Anakin, the most heroic thing he did was betraying Palpatine, but before he did that, he oppressed the galaxy for two decades and caused the fall of the Jedi Order. Even before he became Darth Vader, he was a whiney and very creepy man-child with a serious grudge against sand. To be perfectly frank, he’s not the best hero material. He did redeem himself in the end, but if it weren’t for Luke, he would still be a cruel Sith Lord.
Speaking of Luke, he is, by definition, the first big hero of the franchise. However, his fairly recent story arc in the sequel trilogy has put him out of the spotlight. He lost faith in the Force and the Jedi, abandoned the fight against the First Order, and on top of that, he almost murdered his nephew, Ben Solo. Yeah, that definitely rubbed fans the wrong way, understandably so. He did have a heroic end to his story, but the damage was already done. He lost some his heroic credibility, but her certainly deserved more.
Before his downfall in The Last Jedi, however, think about who introduced him to the Jedi way of life. It was Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi, the longest recurring protagonist of the series. Luke began as a naive, but ambitious farm boy who aspired to escape from his home planet and fight the Empire. He was also a bit whiney, complaining to his uncle that he wanted to pick up power converters, and didn’t have much fighting experience. So what made him potential hero material? Unbeknownst to him, he was the son of a former Jedi. That Jedi’s name was Anakin Skywalker, but as far as Luke knew, he was already dead. This all changed when he met his wise and powerful mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
It was Obi-Wan who encouraged Luke to become a Jedi like his father and join the fight against the Empire. He taught Luke the ways of the Force and gave him his father’s lightsaber. The most important lesson he taught Luke was to always trust in the Force. Even after he sacrificed himself to save Luke, he remained at his side in spirit and advised him to trust in the Force. His guidance was the beginning of Luke’s transition from boy to man, and he continued to trust in Obi-Wan’s wisdom. Where Obi-Wan failed with Anakin, he succeeded with Luke.
Obi-Wan may not have been the star of the original trilogy, but he made up for it in the prequels. His characterization was greatly enhanced by Ewan McGregor’s stellar performance. By now, we associate McGregor with Obi-Wan more than we do with Alec Guinness. In a very monumental letdown that was the prequel trilogy, McGregor’s Obi-Wan shined like a rare kind of gem. His screen time in The Phantom Menace was insignificant until his fight scene with Darth Maul. Despite being just a Padawan, he managed to outwit and bisect the Sith Lord and took Anakin under his wing. This was the beginning of Obi-Wan’s journey to becoming a more heroic character.
In the course of the next two prequel movies, think about what he did, compared to the other Jedi. Anakin was meant to be the chosen one, but he spent most of his time whining about Obi-Wan being jealous for some reason. While Anakin was creeping on Padme, Obi-Wan was doing the dirty work and dealing with real problems. For someone who had to deal with an irritating pest like Anakin, Obi-Wan sure deserves some credit for that.
Even during the events of The Clone Wars series, Obi-Wan did more than any other Jedi. He constantly went toe-to-toe with General Grievous, had to deal with his old adversary, Darth Maul, and did the most dirty work during the excellent Slaves of the Republic arc. In case you thought he was a by the book Jedi, Obi-Wan even had an on and off lover by the name of Satine Kryze. The two had feelings for each other, but given his status as a Jedi and hers as Duchess of Mandalore, they ultimately decided to devote themselves to their duties. Unfortunately, their love story would only end in tragedy, as the vengeful Darth Maul murdered her out of spite for Obi-Wan. Nothing seems to go right for poor Obi.
Think about how many Star Wars villains Obi-Wan interacted with. Out of all the heroes in the franchise, Obi-Wan qualifies to have his own rouges gallery. He’s the only Jedi to have fought Count Dooku and Jango Fett, barely surviving both encounters. He had a bitter ongoing rivalry with General Grievous and Darth Maul, both villains he fought multiple times, but in the end, he managed to finally kill them both. And of course, he fought Darth Vader twice; he’s the reason Darth Vader looks like Darth Vader and not Hayden Christensen. Vader is his greatest failure and his greatest enemy, probably even more so than Darth Maul.
Throughout the Clone Wars, he took on many of the series’ villains and managed to outwit and defeat them all. The only villain he never had any interaction with was Darth Sidious. This separates him from the other heroes, but in the end, Obi-Wan was able to avenge them all by training the Jedi that caused Sidious’ downfall.
Despite not having any familial ties, he suffered many losses. He lost his lover, his master, his Order, and worst of all, his pupil and closest friend. In his eyes, his greatest failure was to train Anakin to control his emotions. This cost him everything, but he made up for his mistakes by training Luke to become a Jedi. Was it a bad thing he didn’t tell him about his father and sister? That’s debatable, but I’m guessing he didn’t want to break Luke’s heart any further. Can’t really blame the guy.
With the upcoming Obi-Wan series for Disneyplus, there will be a lot more of his story to tell. Who will he trifle with in order to protect Luke and his family? Is there a chance he’ll cross paths with the notorious Jabba the Hutt? That’s something I would love to see, but if they take inspiration from the now non-canon comics, they’ll have something to follow. Obi-Wan contends with an angry Owen Lars, all while dealing with Jabba’s thugs and Tusken Raiders. He even fights a black Wookie bounty hunter. Now that has to be in the series.
Obi-Wan is probably the most well-rounded character in Star Wars for all these reasons. We got to see his journey from obedient pupil, to sarcastic Jedi Knight, to wise and caring mentor. He made mistakes, and he suffered for them, but in the end, he made sure he died doing the right thing. I always thought that if Anakin killed him on Mustafar, the story of Luke and Leia would’ve ended a lot sooner. Because of that, ipso facto, Obi-Wan caused the downfall of the Empire.
Anyone else excited for his upcoming series? If Ewan McGregor can deliver those heroics with the classic Obi-Wan dry wit and one-liners, we’ll be in for a great ride.
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