Obi-Wan Kenobi has come to its rousing finale, filling in the gaps between the first two trilogies in the Skywalker Saga. But the series wasn’t just tangential to the saga, it also was a reflection of it. Each part of Obi-Wan Kenobi was thematically similar to its corresponding cinematic Star Wars episode. Director Deborah Chow delivered a love letter to Lucas’ original films, much as his films were a love letter to movies from his own youth.
Each episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi had multiple callbacks to those very same Skywalker Saga chapters. As George Lucas was fond of saying, “it’s like poetry. They rhyme.” Here are all the ways Obi-Wan Kenobi “rhymed” with the cinematic saga it spun out from.
Episode I: The Phantom Menace / Obi-Wan Kenobi: Part I
Much like The Phantom Menace, the first part of Obi-Wan Kenobi took place largely on Tatooine, and focused on a ten-year-old Force-sensitive child (in this case, it was Leia). One who we know will grow up and become an important figure in the galaxy. Similarly, The Phantom Menace viewers were aware of Anakin’s crucial role in the future as Darth Vader.
And just like the Trade Federation attempted to take Queen Amidala into custody as part of a larger scheme in The Phantom Menace , the first episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi was all about the kidnapping of Princess Leia. Which was also part of a larger scheme on Reva’s part. We even saw a young Luke Skywalker pretending to be a podracer on the Lars family farm. This was a nod to one of The Phantom Menace‘s signature action sequences.
Episode II: Attack of the Clones / Obi-Wan Kenobi: Part II
In Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan Kenobi became a detective, trying to unravel several mysteries and evading bounty hunters. Much of this took place on the neon-lit gambling district of Coruscant. In Obi-Wan Part II, our titular hero went to the planet Daiyu. This was a similar-looking world also filled with seedy characters, which he went to in an effort to find the missing Princess Leia.
The villainous Count Dooku revealed the truth about Darth Sidious to Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones. Similarly, Reva revealed to Obi-Wan that Anakin Skywalker was alive in Part II of Obi-Wan Kenobi. He found out accurate and important information from one of his red-bladed adversaries in both chapters. And Temura Morrison as a down-on-his-luck veteran Clone Trooper is a callback to the introduction of the clones in Attack of the Clones.
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith / Obi-Wan Kenobi: Part III
The parallels between Revenge of the Sith and Part III are perhaps the most obvious, as we got an intense and emotional lightsaber duel between the former friends. Not only a duel, but one where Obi-Wan is literally put through the fire just as Anakin was in Revenge of the Sith. It was the climactic duel on Mustafar, only with positions reversed.
Before that fight even happened, when Vader strode into the village on Mapuzo, flanked by Stormtroopers and Inquisitors, it reminded us of when he and his troops stormed the Jedi Temple during Order 66. Although this episode was very dark, much like Revenge of the Sith, it ended on a hopeful note. Because we also had Obi-Wan’s hopeful discovery of other Jedi survivors, thanks to the Path.
Episode IV: A New Hope / Obi-Wan Kenobi: Part IV
The similarities between A New Hope and Obi-Wan Kenobi: Part IV are the strongest. Just as in A New Hope, Leia was held in an Imperial facility. The mind probe droids were even the same. And also just like in A New Hope, Leia was more than willing to lie rather than betray her friends. To free her, Obi-Wan and Tala had to sneak around using disguises, just as Han and Luke did in A New Hope.
Ben even used the same Force trickery to distract Stormtroopers in the fortress as he would later on the Death Star. And when it looked like Ben, Tala, and Leia were caught, fighters swooped in to save the day. Just as Han would do for Luke on the same Death Star. And their ship being tracked foreshadows how the Empire tracked the Falcon in A New Hope. No wonder Leia knew what was up when they escaped the Death Star. She’d been through it all already.
Episode V: The Empire Strike Back / Obi-Wan Kenobi: Part V
The Empire Strikes Back vibes were strong in Obi-Wan Kenobi: Part V. When Imperial forces arrived on Jabiim, they badly outnumber the refugees. The Imperials attack the refugee base, with only a few escaping with high casualties. This is very much like the Imperial attack on Echo Base on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. There’s even a shot of Vader as he watches a rebel ship narrowly escape, just as he watched the Falcon escape.
We got extensive Jedi training in Part V, via flashbacks of Obi-Wan training Anakin, intercut with the main action. Although not flashbacks, in The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda’s training of Luke was intercut with the action our other heroes were going through at the same time. And just like The Empire Strikes Back had the big “I am your father” revelation, Obi-Wan: Part V featured the big reveal that Reva was once a Jedi youngling, with plans to kill Vader herself.
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi / Obi-Wan Kenobi: Part VI
The final chapter of Obi-Wan Kenobi saw the return of the Jedi, so of course, it reflected Return of the Jedi. The final duel between Ben and Vader was very much like the final battle between Luke and his father. Only in this case, the Jedi who returned (from a certain point of view) was Obi-Wan himself. And when Reva sees young Luke incapacitated (by her own hand) it became her catalyst for giving up the dark side. A mirror image moment to Vader, who after seeing the suffering he brought Luke, made the choice to do the right thing and reject evil.
In fact, Reva’s whole arc through the six parts of Obi-Wan Kenobi echoed that of Anakin/Vader’s. We first saw her as a Force powerful youngling, then a dark side warrior, and ended with her returning to her more innocent and vulnerable self. They essentially gave her Vader’s original trilogy arc and ending, only she got to live.
Several bits of dialogue are lifted from Return of the Jedi as well. In the film, Luke says to Vader “then my father is truly dead.” Obi-Wan tells Vader after their duel in Part VI, “then my friend is truly dead.” Later, Emperor Palpatine asks his apprentice “I wonder if your thoughts are clear on this, Lord Vader?” in reference to his obsession with finding Obi-Wan. The Emperor asks him the same exact thing in Return of the Jedi, only this time talking about Luke.
And last but not least, Obi-Wan saw his long-dead master Qui-Gon Jinn as a Force Ghost at the very end of the series. And that moment was just like Luke seeing the Force ghosts of his Jedi mentors and father at the climax of Return of the Jedi. Till its closing moments, Obi-Wan Kenobi found ways to pay tribute to the Skywalker Saga in different ways.
If we ever get an Obi-Wan Kenobi season two, maybe they will reflect episodes VII-IX? It might seem far-fetched, but it wasn’t that long ago that the entire idea of an Obi-Wan solo project seemed far-fetched. In the galaxy far, far away, the story possibilities are proving to be endless.