How does Obi-Wan Kenobi keep from being the GFFA's Ebenezer Scrooge?
I don’t think about Obi-Wan Kenobi very often. Of all of the Jedi we get to know in the six film saga, his story is by far the least exciting. To me, anyway. Even though his character manages to hang around for all six films, chronologically speaking, his plain old human life is over before A New Hope’s final credits roll. He has no lone, dashing, heroic rescue onscreen, though his duels with Darth Maul and General Grievous are pretty spectacular. Funny, though, that in those two monumental battles, Obi-Wan is almost overshadowed by uber-cool light sabers. There’s no hot, young senator pining away for him like Anakin has. He’s not the go-to master and teacher in the same echelon as Yoda. He doesn’t pick up a stray slave kid at a pod race who could be the Chosen One to train as a Jedi, hinting at a rebel streak like Qui-Gon Jinn has. When we meet the stumbling old wizard who is Ben, the fact is that Luke is only interested in him because he’s a disgruntled, hormonal teenager and there’s a princess involved. Heck, he doesn’t even get a fancy schmancy purple light saber like Mace Windu does. Let’s face it, kids. Obi-Wan Kenobi is a pretty boring guy on his own merit. So what made me think of him now? Scrooge.
The Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, could apply to the sidekick of the Hero-Without-Fear by the time we meet him as “old Ben” on Tatooine. By reputation, a case for Obi-Wan’s likeness to the South Bend Shovel Slayer of Home Alone fame could also be made. You know…the old guy who moseys along the sidewalks with a shovel and a garbage can of salt…to “turn the bodies into mummies,” says Buzz. But I digress. The point is that on Tatooine, Ben Kenobi has a somewhat mysterious rep for being an “old hermit,” and that’s only what they will say about him on camera. A decidedly Ebenezer Scrooge comparison is fair. Old guy who doesn’t like people and keeps to himself. They don’t talk about money much in the GFFA, but I can’t see Ben spending wads of cash on anyone. And he clearly isn’t overly comfortable around scads of people.
To the best of my knowledge, Christmas doesn’t exist in the GFFA, but a long time ago in a blogosphere far, far away, I decided that Balanced Force Day does. It would be in that spirit that Dickens’ ghosts would visit Ben Kenobi, sequestered in his cave on Tatooine just before Luke reaches out to him…
The ghost of Balanced Force Day Past appears before Ben first as a Stormtrooper, but as the old wizard’s sleepy vision clears, he sees the distinct markings of a clone trooper on the figure’s white uniform. The clone hovers over Ben then speaks with a Jango-esque voice, “Obi-Wan. Come!” as it pulls Ben from the cave and opens his eyes to familiar scenes past: Qui-Gon Jinn, the only father-like figure in young Obi-Wan’s life, broken by the sinister Darth Maul; a tow-headed boy thrust onto Obi-Wan’s shoulders in the moment of his greatest grief and the responsibility for training him that he vows to his dying master; a growing fear and resentment toward his young padawan’s attraction to the stunning senator from Naboo and the sure knowledge that nothing good could come of it; the flash of light sabers, then darkness, as Count Dooku bests Obi-Wan for the last time; Obi-Wan’s heart, shredded, forcing him to destroy his best friend and brother on the shore of lava river on Mustafar; and the moment when he turns to the life of a crotchety hermit after handing his best friend’s infant son to his aunt.
“Oh, how I wish I could change these things,” thinks Obi-Wan, “helped Anakin and Padme in their time of need. Things would be so different,” and the apparition fades.
The ghost of Balanced Force Day Present menaces Obi-Wan in the form of a Tusken Raider as it pulls the old man toward the moisture farm of Owen and Beru Lars. There Obi-Wan is privy to a lunchtime conversation over blue milk, his young charge, Luke, receiving the news that he would have to stay on at the farm for another season. Obi-Wan senses the rush of the Force through Luke and knows his path must lead far, far away from this desolate place. The specter drags Obi-Wan off to a strange, moon-shaped ship where his old friend and brother, cloaked and encased in black, sits in a meditation chamber with his fists clenched, his head bowed. The Dark Aura of the Force surrounds him. Obi-Wan wants to reach out but he can’t. His blind eyes see only that it is far too late to restore the good in his friend.
“What will happen to Luke and Anakin?” Obi-Wan implores, but the Tusken Raider only bellows and fades.
Obi-Wan senses the Dark, hooded figure of the ghost of Balanced Force Day Future before he sees it, a familiar almost regal presence. Without time to think, Obi-Wan is transported to the once lush forest moon of Endor, now an Imperial stronghold. Stormtroopers march and Force lightning flares. Ewoks in armor patrol the perimeter of the Emperor’s compound, killing anyone who crosses. Obi-Wan feels a stab in his chest as the ghost leads him past an overgrown bunker.
“Wait!” he says. “I remember this place, but,” the stabbing pain throbs, “Why?”
Obi-Wan follows the ghost’s gnarled finger to stone atop a grassy mound. Etched into the stone are the words, “The End of the Rebellion and the Rebel Scum.” It is the grave of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, the last of the Jedi.”
“Nooooooooo!” he screams. “How can I change these things? Please, spirit! Show me the way!” but the spirit fades and Ben is returned to his cave.
The very next day, Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi learns of Luke’s quest to find him. I theorize that on that day Obi-Wan’s heart was infused with the strength of ten Grinches plus two, or at least the sure knowledge that he truly is Princess Leia’s only hope. Without the help of a few Dickens-esque apparitions, there would be no New Hope. Perhaps I should think of Obi-Wan more often.
Happy December, everyone! Whatever you celebrate, if you celebrate at all, I wish you peace, joy, and Balance in your life. Always.
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