WARNING: The following contains spoilers from the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series.
The third live-action Star Wars series and first limited series, Obi-Wan Kenobi, has come to an end. Set a decade after the events of Revenge of the Sith, the Jedi master has lost his way as he lives in exile on Tatooine, watching out over a young Luke Skywalker. However, when a call summons for him to leave his post, he must find balance within the Force and himself, in order to become the headstrong Jedi he was once more.
Kenobi has been met with a mix of reactions over the course of its month-long run. However, in watching and re-watching the episodes as they’ve come out, it’s the little details and moments – the fractals, if you will, of this hero’s journey – that have stuck out to me in each one, subtly adding to the bigger picture and quietly enhancing the character development, along with the overarching plot. In seeing and recognizing them have allowed for me, as a viewer, to enjoy this series even more so.
In chronological order, are here are just some of those from Kenobi. (Heads up, a lot of them are Obi-Wan and Leia moments):
Leia’s Hesitation Over Her Future (Part I)
When Leia was adopted into the Organa family, she was raised both as a princess and to follow in her father’s footsteps as a future senator of Alderaan. While Star Wars fans may have always accepted it as part of her journey, it’s in this first episode where we find out that she wasn’t always too keen on taking on such a role, describing the Senate as “people in itchy clothes arguing.”
Reflecting on this moment after watching her travel with Obi-Wan across the galaxy, where she witnessed first-hand what the Empire is like and how it affects everyone, it all has very likely given her perspective on what she can do to help, becoming the beacon of hope we all best know her as in the original trilogy. It’s an awesome realization of her character. It hits home on the advice her father, Bail Organa, tells her in that first episode: “There are many ways to lead. You just have to find yours.”
Obi-Wan vs. The Captors (Part II)
Obi-Wan has just gotten off Tatooine for the first time in a decade. He remains detached from the Force as he navigates Daiyu, searching for the kidnapped Leia. Despite him still being early on in his journey to redemption, that doesn’t stop him from still being able to kick ass, as he’s able to take on her captors with not a lightsaber, but hand-to-hand combat.
It’s a detail worth noting, because while the Jedi are trained in unarmed combat, it’s rare to see it utilized outside of the likes of The Clone Wars. To see Obi-Wan tap into that part of his training is the first glimpse at the warrior that is still inside of him, resurfacing slowly but surely.
Obi-Wan Explains the Force to Leia (Part III)
We’ve heard what the Force is and isn’t over the years, yet while Obi-Wan and Leia hide out in a cargo ship en route to Mapuzo, the latter asks an interesting question regarding what the Force feels like. Obi-Wan compares the Force to being afraid of the dark, where once you turn on the light, a sense of safety washes over.
This explanation of the Force is interesting in two ways. One of them is how Obi-Wan described it, knowing that it was to a child, making it easy enough for her to understand, yet still have it resonate so deeply. The other way is the realization of what he has been depriving himself of by disconnecting from it for so long; a feeling of safety and security, especially as his PTSD-induced nightmares and visions have haunted him.
Quinlan’s Writing on the Wall (Part III)
When Tala leads Obi-Wan and Leia to (albeit, temporary) safety in the form of a safehouse as part of the Path (a network for protecting Force-sensitive individuals), viewers of The Clone Wars will be quick to recognize the name of Quinlan Vos as one of the Jedi to have left his mark on the wall. In addition to his name, he also left a message that Obi-Wan reads aloud: “Only when the eyes are closed can you truly see.”
Mollie Damon of the YouTube channel, Star Wars Explained, posted an interesting observation on her Twitter regarding that moment, which is that a lot of significant moments from some of Star Wars’ Force users fall in line with just that when they closed their eyes and centered themselves in the Force. It seems to suggest for Obi-Wan to meditate, which is interesting considering that that’s how the episode starts. However, it’s clear that he was not yet in the right state of mind to do that, never mind connect with Qui-Gon. Still though, it seems that Quinlan knew just what to write.
Leia and Obi-Wan Hold Hands (Part IV)
Towards the end of the episode, after being rescued from the merciless hands of the Empire, Leia recognizes the hurdles Obi-Wan had to overcome to make it happen, as she places a reassuring hand on his. Initially surprised, a look from Leia is enough for him to hold her much smaller hand in his, in recognizing the trauma she’s just been through. No words are needed as that little hand hold says everything about where their relationship has arrived in that moment, and that is on the foundation of trust.
It’s interesting when you consider that Obi-Wan has had to hold her hand quite a bit throughout the show; first begrudgingly through the streets of Daiyu and not that long ago in the narrow escape out of the Inquisitors’ stronghold. But it’s in this moment where this instance is not out of obligation, but to show they’re there for one another. It’s also notable in showing that Obi-Wan is finally recognizing the difference between connection and attachment – despite what he was taught by the Jedi – and is understanding that the former is what he has with Leia and that he should cherish it.
Leia and Obi-Wan Share a Hug (Part V)
Everyone at the base on Jabiim is scurrying to get on the ship before Darth Vader and his forces can break through. Obi-Wan has just narrowly escaped being turned over to the Empire and Leia finally got the overhead hatch to open. In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, Leia climbs down the ladder from the vent before sharing a quick hug with Obi-Wan, commending her for a job well done.
This is a notable moment in the fact that that is the first time we’ve ever seen them hug. A dynamic duo we never thought we ever wanted to see have had their relationship build up to the point where just being in each other’s company is a relief, especially with the odds they were both faced with right before then and those that were still imminent. Similar to the previous moment, it shows Obi-Wan accepting the connection he has with Leia and just how much he’s grown to care for her, and vice versa.
Luke and Leia Become Obi-Wan’s Beacons of Hope (Part VI)
The series finale really shines a light on both the return of the Jedi (get it?) and how Obi-Wan is starting to finally face his mental health struggles. In the midst of the anticipated rematch with Darth Vader, he finds himself buried under boulders. Making the situation all the more worse, echoes of the past begin to haunt him once more, nearly getting the best of Obi-Wan. That is until flashes of Luke and Leia (though mostly Leia) appear before his mind, motivating him to use the Force to lift the boulders off of him and resume his match with Vader.
Luke eventually becomes the one destined to defeat Vader, and Leia is the beacon of hope for the Rebel Alliance in the original trilogy. But in this moment, they’re both the motivation for the man who, at this point, is willing to do anything to keep them safe. It’s foreshadowing at its finest, and for Obi-Wan, they are his reason to get up and keep on going.
Leia Says to Obi-Wan What We’ve All Been Thinking (Part VI)
Leia, at long last, made it home, and is paid a visit from Obi-Wan. After everything that they’ve been through, she asks what he’s going to do now, and even he’s not sure himself. When he says he’s open to suggestions, he laughs when Leia answers quite bluntly, “I think you should sleep.”
In all seriousness, as seen this past month, Obi-Wan has been through a lot of mental, emotional, physical, and even spiritual turmoil. While he’s clearly in a mentally better place than he was in the beginning, sleep can definitely help in maintaining and improving that. You know Leia is onto something when the Jedi master agrees with her. Also, she made him laugh. How often have we seen that happen?
All episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi are now streaming on Disney+.