Back in the days of the prequels, Obi-Wan Kenobi could flip around and swing his lightsaber everywhere like any other action hero—while Ben Kenobi was a much subdued Jedi. That is, until this week’s issue of Marvel’s Star Wars, which gives us an Old Ben who can do a lot more than silly wooping noises.
Spoilers ahead for Star Wars #7, of course.
Taking a break from the ongoing saga of the Rebel Alliance in a post-Death-Star-destruction haze and a Luke Skywalker trying to discover how to become a Jedi, Star Wars #7 took us back in time to a period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope when Obi-Wan Kenobi was trying to live out his days protecting young Luke and hiding from the Empire. It’s ground that was occasionally covered in the old expanded universe—like that one time Obi-Wan fought a cyborg-legged Darth Maul because reasons (and then that became canon in Clone Wars!)—but this is fertile ground for the now largely-established canon brought in by Disney.
And what we get is an Obi-Wan well into his exile on Tatooine, embittered by the fall of the Jedi and increasingly wary of doing the one thing he spent most of his life at the Order doing: helping people. It’s the middle of an intense drought on Tatooine, and as Jabba’s thugs bully the local townsfolk and farmers for their rapidly-dwindling water supplies, we see an Obi-Wan who, fearful of revealing either himself or the location of Anakin Skywalker’s child, either refuses to help those in need, or when he does choose to help—such as a pretty nifty moment where he uses the Force to make the blasters of Jabba’s men simultaneously misfire before they can fire on a crowd of innocent bystanders—immediately decide that he should withdraw even further into exile.
That is, until Jabba’s thugs threaten young Luke, which spurs Old Ben into opening a can of Force-enhanced whoopass on them.
It’s a great scene, not only because it entirely ruthless as we get to see Ben force-flinging Jabba’s goons everywhere (well, you don’t actually see him at all until the dust settles) but because it’s totally perfect for this period of Obi-Wan’s story. This isn’t the young Jedi-General of the prequels and Clone Wars, flinging his lightsaber and himself through the air. This isn’t the old man of A New Hope with his mind tricks. This is the bridge between those two aspects of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and that is refreshing to see.
And also pretty damn cool. I mean, you did see that bit where he pulverised those asshole droids with giant freaking boulders, didn’t you?