Like the Force, Obi-Wan Kenobi made sure to balance its cameos. And it saved the best for last when it came to both the dark side and light sides of the Force. Although these guest appearances in Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s last episode may not necessarily have been a surprise to fans, these cameos were absolutely a delight.
So who did we see cameo in Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s finale? The long-teased Qui-Gon Jinn and the evil Emporer Palpatine both arrived to wink at the audience.
Qui-Gon Jinn Finally Appears as a Force Ghost in Obi-Wan Kenobi
All season long, we (and Obi-Wan Kenobi) have been asking will Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gonn Jinn appear as a Force ghost in the Disney+ series? It seemed likely the answer would be yes. After all, Obi-Wan called to him several times throughout the show only to be met with silence. So it would have felt like a letdown if his pleas went completely unanswered and Jedi Master Qui-Gonn never appeared. But as Qui-Gonn Jinn explains to Obi-Wan in his brief cameo, he was there all along. Obi-Wan just wasn’t ready to see him.
Of course, that makes a lot of sense. For most of the show, Obi-Wan was estranged from the Force, spiritually and literally. He isolated himself from the community he needed and that needed in him and walled his beliefs and hopes away. But after allowing himself to care once more, about Leia, the Jedi, and the Force, he no longer had to be alone. The Force (and the people and ghosts that come with it) was always there for him, he just had to embrace it once and himself once more. Qui-Gon Jinn’s Force ghost appearance is the literal manifestation of Obi-Wan’s entire journey. As far as cameos go, this Obi-Wan Kenobi appearance certainly packs a punch.
But, this awakening is only the beginning of the adventure for Obi-Wan. This series filled in some of how the iconic character transformed from Ewan McGregor’s Revenge of the Sith incarnation to his Alec Guinness form in A New Hope. But there’s still a lot more to the story. As Qui-Gonn’s Force ghost says, “We’ve got a ways to go.” Perhaps we’ll see Obi-Wan and his Jedi Master again should a season two of Obi-Wan Kenobi appear before us like a Force ghost in the sands of Tatooine.
Liam Neeson Opens Up About His Star Wars Return
But would Liam Neeson be interested in spending more time in the Star Wars universe after Obi-Wan Kenobi? It sounds possible, especially if Ewan McGregor returns to play Obi-Wan again as well.
Speaking to The Hollywood Report, Neeson shared more about his Qui-Gon Jinn cameo in Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s finale. He notes:
I certainly didn’t want anyone else playing Qui-Gon Jinn, and I wanted to show my respect for George [Lucas] and that mythical world that he created. Plus, Ewan [McGregor] is a pal, and I loved working with him during The Phantom Menace 25 years ago.
Well, there you have it. While Neeson doesn’t specifically note anything about future outings as Qui-Gon Jinn, it certainly sounds like Neeson isn’t keen on anyone else playing the Jedi Master. So if Qui-Gon Jinn makes a comeback in future Star Wars shows or movies, Liam Neeson might just return with him.
Emperor Palpatine Cameos in Obi-Wan Kenobi (But Also Not in the Flesh)
Elsewhere in the galaxy far, far away, another master and student reunited. But this Obi-Wan Kenobi cameo was much more sinister and much less productive. Yes, Emporer Palpatine himself returned for yet another Star Wars appearance in Obi-Wan Kenobi. Although fans suspected this might happen, it seemed much more of a toss-up than Qui-Gon Jinn’s cameo. Actor Ian McDiarmid even threw fans off the scent at Star Wars Celebration (in a panel with our very own Amy Ratcliffe.) When asked if he would appear as Palpatine in Obi-Wan Kenobi, McDiarmid responded:
That is a disgraceful question… And one which I have no intention of answering. But—you can’t win can you?—I will say this, you will remember the very first Star Wars film, subsequently christened A New Hope. The emperor was present. His presence was felt, but he never appeared. He was sort of interpreted by Moff, by the great Peter Cushing. Then more recently in Rogue One, his presence was felt, but he never appeared. So all I would say about future speculation is, if you’re expecting the Emperor to appear soon, in flesh and blood, don’t get your hopes up.
Well, Ian McDiarmid absolutely told us the truth. Emperor Palpatine’s Obi-Wan Kenobi cameo was entirely in hologram form. He did not appear in flesh and blood. But hologram form is enough when it comes to the sinister Darth Sidious. Sensing Anakin’s weakness and his emotional ties to his old friend and teacher, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Palpatine pushes him to recommit to the dark side. While Obi-Wan’s reunion with Qui-Gon Jinn was fond and equitable, Darth Vader submits to Palpatine. “I serve only you, my master.” He asserts. And thus, continues to follow Palpatine down the dark path.
Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s Finale Cameos
Although brief, both Qui-Gon Jinn’s Force ghost appearance and Emporer Palpatine’s transmission have a big impact on the journeys of Obi-Wan and Anakin. As our hero and our villain reunite with their teachers in these Obi-Wan Kenobi cameos, we are reminded of one of Star Wars‘ greatest lessons. In the end, our choices define us most of all… Whether it’s choosing to draw closer to community and hope or to double-down on the darkness. As Obi-Wan tells Reva when she questions whether she has become like Darth Vader in this final episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi, “You have chosen not to, who you become now, that is up to you.”