Obi-Wan Kenobi Part VI is about Obi-Wan Kenobi the man, but also about Ben Kenobi the brother, the friend, the quasi father-figure and even the Padawan. It’s about all that he is, all that he ever was, and even all he can still be. Because this isn’t the end of the story, not for Obi-Wan, or for Anakin. And it’s only the beginning for both Leia and Luke.
But Obi-Wan Kenobi Part VI is also about letting go of the past. For Obi-Wan, that means accepting that his friend, the man he loved like a brother, is gone. For Reva, that means moving past her anger, and learning to live for something other than revenge. There’s freedom in that, for both of them, but there’s also a great deal of uncertainty. Living with a goal, for a goal, is easier than just living, after all.
And yet, they live another day. They fight another day. And because they do, well, they’ll love another day, and they’ll likely triumph, too. That’s the thing with freedom, it brings hope as well. And you know what they say about hope …
You have chosen not to
Reva’s arc in Obi-Wan Kenobi ends up perfectly mirroring Anakin’s, in a heartbreaking way. Because Reva chooses not to become the thing Anakin, once again, chooses to be at the end of this episode. Just the mask. Just the façade. She chooses to preserve life, instead of taking it. She chooses, if not the Jedi way, the way of kindness — the thing the Empire tried so hard to wipe from the galaxy, along with the Jedi.
It’s easier, of course. Examining your mistakes when you’ve made so many of them is excruciating. But Reva takes the first step at the end of Part VI, and though there are still many more to take, that first one is often the hardest one. Mostly because you can’t take it unless you’re willing to take a good look at the person you have become.
Hopefully, this is not the last we see of Reva. Because of all the journeys we’ve even in this Star Wars universe so far hers feels like an unique one, but also because, in that moment, near the end, Moses Ingram wasn’t just the Third Sister, she was all of us trying to be better. And we want to know how she gets there. We need to.
How much time do you need?
The Obi-Wan in Obi-Wan Kenobi Part VI is the best version of himself, the one he himself thought was lost after his duel with Anakin on Mustafar. He’s a Rebellion hero — even if he doesn’t mean to be, even if, for him, it’s clear the time of the Jedi is truly over — he’s a wise Jedi master, he’s a skilled swordfighter, and most importantly, he is, once again, a man with a purpose.
In a few years from now, Obi-Wan will once again embark on an adventure with one of Anakin’s kids, the other one. He will be tasked with saving Leia, once again. And he will once again come face to face with Anakin Skywalker, no, Darth Vader. He will make a different choice then than he does now, for the sake of the galaxy. For the sake of Luke. And yes, for the sake of Leia.
A long game, you might say. For Obi-Wan. For Qui-Gon. And for a galaxy that will suffer a lot while Anakin gets to his redemption. But was there any other way? It’s hard to tell. The ways of the force are mysterious, indeed. If Obi-Wan had killed Anakin, he would have saved many, maybe Bail and Breha Organa among them. But he wouldn’t have stopped the Emperor, and soon, there would be another Sith in Vader’s place, one who would probably never turn against his master and restore balance to the galaxy.
We’re enough, you and me
Perhaps the greatest tragedy of Obi-Wan Kenobi Part VI is the way it makes us mourn two people we lost a long time ago, Owen and Beru Lars. It was hard to mourn them in A New Hope, we barely knew them, and there was so much going on. Luke barely got time to mourn them himself, too. Justice always comes, though, and in Obi-Wan Kenobi Part VI all it needed was some time.
To see Owen, once again, proving Luke was never a burden. To see Beru, prepared to defend Luke with her life, and not just in an abstract way, either. This is the family Luke deserved, the family we always knew Leia had. And though Anakin is still out there, and things are going to get worse before they get better, there’s comfort in knowing the two kids who will determine the future of the galaxy are in good hands.
You’re what needs to survive
“You are all the future,” Obi-Wan tells a ship full of what will one day become the Rebellion, and he is right. It isn’t about the Jedi, even if one will be needed to finally stop the Empire. It’s about what they’re building. It’s about the people doing the work day in and day out. That’s something the Jedi Order lost — or perhaps something it was never interested in sustaining, a connection to the people they were meant to protect.
That’s why it all comes back to Leia, truly. The little girl who will grow up to be the Leader, the hero, the galaxy needs. Obi-Wan sees it, just as he sees both the good parts of Padme and Anakin in her. And if those things are alive in Leia, how could they truly be gone?
Obi-Wan has broken a lot of promises, failed a lot of people, or at least, that’s what he feels like. But he keeps the promise he makes to Leia, to come back, and that promise is the foundation of his healing — which in turn, will end up being one of the things that will turn the tide against the Empire.
But another big part of his healing comes from the absolution Anakin gives him. “I am not your failure, Obi-Wan. You didn’t kill Anakin Skywalker. I did,” he says, a line that not only reconceptualizes Obi-Wan’s future explanation to Luke, it puts the blame for Anakin’s decisions right where they belong, on Anakin. A grown-ass adult man. A Jedi Master.
His choices have always been his, for good and bad. Obi-Wan might be blamed for not noticing right away (though, ironically, we would also have to blame Padme, Yoda, Mace and a whole host of other people), but he isn’t to blame for his former Padawan’s decisions. It took ten years for Obi-Wan to get to a place where he could finally start to accept that, but that acceptance looks good on him. Qui-Gon certainly agrees.
Kenobi means nothing
Anakin is gone, Darth Vader says, and he seems certain of it, even as Obi-Wan apologizes — for failing him, for almost killing him, for not seeing his pain, for not being enough — but both the Emperor and Obi-Wan seem to see right through him. The way they respond to the knowledge that, deep down, Anakin is there, could not be more different, however.
For the Emperor, the mention of Kenobi is meant to scare Darth Vader back into the Sith the Emperor needs him to be. For Obi-Wan, however, who knows Anakin, who must sense the struggle even the lighting in the episode makes clear, his easy acceptance that Anakin is gone masks something else — a new purpose. Not to save Anakin necessarily, just as he couldn’t save him before, that choice rests squarely on Anakin’s shoulders, but to put the galaxy, and his children, in the best place possible to defeat him and the Emperor, one way or another.
The future will take care of itself sounds a lot like trust the force, something Obi-Wan hasn’t done for many years. And yet it’s impossible for a man who is once again one with the force to miss the turmoil in Anakin. And if he hadn’t, why would he have walked away?
Love isn’t a weakness
Obi-Wan’s real strength in this episode comes from his connections, Luke and Leia, in particular. There’s a sense of purpose there, but it’s more than that. Obi-Wan cares about them, and he cares about Anakin. And that gives him strength. To continue fighting. To continue trying. And yes, to stare into the eyes of the man he once thought would be his brother, forever, and walk away, despite knowing he could end it all.
But so does Anakin, let us remember. He cares. So much more than he wishes he did. He had Obi-Wan, once again, (THE HIGH GROUND, THE HIGH GROUND!) and instead of just killing him, he tried that trick with the rocks. Instead of just checking, he — a Sith Lord — just walked away. Those aren’t really the actions of someone that truly wants to kill Obi-Wan.
Let us, however, remember that whatever happens, Darth Vader will get there. At one point, he will kill Obi-Wan Kenobi. It’s just that, by that point, he will already have lost — or won, depending how you want to look at it.
You were just not ready to see
There could be no better end for this tale than the one we got, Obi-Wan and his older master reunited, and Obi-Wan walking back into the desert with a purpose and the company of the only man he cared about more than Anakin. Qui-Gon’s words to Obi-Wan are also important, because we’d seen Obi-Wan speaking to his Master multiple times in the show, without ever getting a response.
But Qui-Gon was always there. He never left Obi-Wan. It’s just that his former apprentice wasn’t ready to see. Let me repeat that, in case the comparison isn’t obvious. His former apprentice wasn’t ready to see.
Obi-Wan Kenobi got there. So will Anakin Skywalker. And Obi-Wan Kenobi did a great job in providing us with a little more of the puzzle regarding how.
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