Samuel Brace pitches an Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Wars Anthology movie…
Star Wars is here to stay, gang. Star Wars is here to stay and we better get used to seeing one of these films each and every year for a very long time. Right now, with only one film released, this is nothing not to be excited about. Give us something to complain about and then we can change our optimistic tune, but so far… everything looks pretty darn swell. The trailer for Rogue One has been released, it looks wonderful. Optimism is still the word. These interstitial Star Wars stories provide an awesome opportunity, an opportunity to revisit old characters, moments in time and of course to create new stories outside of the back-breaking demands of a trilogy. We’ve got our first one on the way, about stealing the plans to the original Death Star. A Han-Solo film is also in the works, and I am sure a whole host of other ideas are written down on a white board somewhere. But a film many a fan has been clamouring for, asking for, is a movie about Obi-Wan, specifically Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of the character – one of very few highlights from the prequels.
This has never been an appealing prospect to me. Like Han Solo, of all the directions one could go, surely there is more interesting and fresh places to visit than the ones these characters can afford. I’ve felt like this, about an Obi-Wan movie, because I haven’t really thought about what a film could be like, about what I would like to see from a film starring Anakin’s old mentor. But then I did. I did think about it, and I’ve changed my tune pretty dramatically. Picture a film, a short while after Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan alone on Tatooine, his only purpose in life to make sure the son of his former friend stays a secret. Obi-Wan, at this moment in time, would be a tormented soul. What he has just gone through, the things he has witnessed, would plague his thoughts at every turn. The guilt he must feel over what happened to Anakin, to his brother in arms, must be a constant knife in his gut. Could he have done more? Could he have saved him? After all, it was his job to mentor him. It was under his watch, his tutelage, that Anakin was seduced by a Sith Lord. It was his apprentice that was instrumental in destroying the Jedi Order and bringing the galaxy to its knees. What this would do to a man, to his mind-set, is mighty interesting and would surely provide a wonderful underlying narrative for any movie.
The world that Obi-Wan would now find himself inhabiting, would be, to him, nearly unrecognisable. The galaxy is on fire, everything is tipped upside down, and he has to navigate it. Where before, towns, people and communities, lived in relative peace, protected by the Republic, in its place, an evil totalitarian Empire had seized control, using various factions of their regime to enforce their fascist doctrine on the galaxy’s citizens. This would be an awfully scary place to find yourself in, even if you’re a master Jedi. So what kind of stories could Obi-Wan kind himself being a part of? What would the film’s main narrative look like? There are many options of course, but one has stood out to me above all others. Thinking about this hostile world, about the tortured nature of his psyche, about him, this mysterious and dangerous man wondering through the desert, a certain other type of movie came to mind — The Spaghetti Western. The ‘man with no name’ films of Clint Eastwood’s early career.
Who Obi-Wan was before the Republic’s fall doesn’t matter, his job is not to restore peace, his job is not to rebuild the Jedi order or to assassinate the Emperor. He only has one purpose, to protect Luke. He isn’t a General anymore, he is just a man with some obviously very useful skills. So what if he came across a situation, with Luke as safe as he can be, hidden and secret like planned, where he stumbled upon a desert town whose people are hurting, whose people are being extorted and attacked by the evil Empire, whose children are being taken away to become slaves to the state, a town who are desperate for a hero. What would Obi-Wan do? What would this forgotten hero do? Would he sit idly by, knowing that what little he could do would not affect the situation at large? Or would he stand with this town and help them in any way he could. Becoming attached to some of this communities citizens, getting to know the people and their plight, perhaps developing a love interest, he would surely, being the man that he is, the man that he was, decide to help.
He couldn’t use his lightsaber of course, at least not openly. A Jedi spotted would bring far too much attention, but using his other skills, by just being a man that knows how to kill, how to fight, Obi-Wan, the man with no name, could help rally this unimportant community to keep its place in the world. Would the Empire bother using the full might of its force against such a petty, ramshackle village? No, of course not, it would be a nuisance, after some point, not worth dealing with. It would probably only have been a place picked on by some small unit because it couldn’t defend itself. The Galaxy is a huge place after all, the efforts of Obi-Wan protecting these people would go largely unnoticed by the powers at be. It’s what this battle means to him personally that would provide the stakes. Plagued by the voice of his fallen brother, by those bone chilling screams from Mustafar still reverberating around his mind, it’s the conflict within in him that becomes pertinent. It’s the conflict between remaining unknown, placing his mission to protect Luke above all others, and the sense of duty he feels to redeem himself, to be a good person and protect these people in need, that could provide an enthralling basis for a film.
I don’t want to see an Obi-Wan movie if it’s just him fighting the Empire in a battle of galactic proportions. It wouldn’t make any sense and such a grand story of that scale would detract from the more personal struggles this man would obviously be dealing with. They need to make McGregor’s Obi-Wan a near broken man, a shadow of his former self, needing this instantly gratifying mission to protect people in need, in order to not only restore his will to fight but also to restore faith in himself. Obi-Wan, when you think beyond lightsabers and wise teachings, is, at this point in time, an incredibly interesting man — at least potentially. Putting this vision for the character in this equally enthralling world, where hope is simply dead, would surely be a recipe for success. These anthology movies, while having the chance to explore unseen moments in time, also have the chance to tell these more personal, smaller stories. We have the bombastic events of the trilogy to fulfil our world saving needs, these films can be different. This is a movie I want to see. A man with no name, a man named — or once named — Kenobi, fighting for what’s right, no matter how futile. It’s either this or taking Apocalypse Now and replacing Martin Sheen’s character with Obi-Wan. Not sure how this would work but the visual is sure as shit cool. Yeah… either one really. Up to you Disney.