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STAR WARS Timeline Means Obi-Wan Kenobi Thinks Anakin Is Dead at Series’ Start

A recent article from io9 has us thinking more closely about Star Wars‘ timeline, where the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi show fits into it, and what that means for the story we’re about to watch. After all, when adding in a show like Obi-Wan Kenobi right into the middle of an already established canon, a lot of balancing needs to happen. But it also leaves a lot of interesting ground to cover. Obi-Wan Kenobi director Deborah Chow confirmed to io9 something we all knew but maybe hadn’t really considered that deeply. When the Obi-Wan Kenobi series begins, Obi-Wan Kenobi thinks that Anakin Skywalker is dead.

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Chow notes:

[Obi-Wan] believes he killed [Anakin] at the end of Revenge of the Sith. I think that’s something that’s sometimes a little bit overlooked, but it’s quite significant. So for us, on the show, he doesn’t know [Anakin is alive] yet

Absolutely significant. As we know, Obi-Wan Kenobi has a very specific place in Star Wars‘ timeline. It’s set 10 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith. The Obi-Wan series bridges the gap between Alec Guinness’ performance in 1977’s A New Hope and Ewan McGregor’s original Obi-Wan outings in the prequels. As we’ve seen repeated in the lead-up to Obi-Wan Kenobi, the character goes through significant changes from point A to point B.

Chow adds in her io9 interview that, “One of the biggest questions Joby [Harold] and I were always asking is, ‘How did he go from the end of Revenge of the Sith where he’s this warrior screaming on the banks of Mustafar to sort of the calm and the peace of Alec Guinness?… Something obviously happened in that 20 years and in large part that’s the story we’re trying to tell.”

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And, of course, one of those gaps is Obi-Wan’s awareness that Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan’s Jedi apprentice who turned to the dark side, is still living. And honestly, Chow notes that this is a “crucial” knowledge gap and we agree. Living with the knowledge that he “killed” Anakin must be a heavy weight for Obi-Wan. One that definitely contributes to the dark and world-weary character the series stresses we’ll meet. Although, in a way, Anakin is dead. He left Anakin Skywalker behind to become Darth Vader.

The realization that, in a way, he’s also alive, and now Darth Vader, an even bigger threat to the universe, and yet still someone Obi-Wan cares about, will likely be even more shattering. We may think we know how the story plays out. But everything we know is about to take on a whole new meaning.

In A New Hope, Darth Vader says, “I sense something, A presence I’ve not felt since…” And in Vader’s final duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi, he references their last meeting, saying, “I’ve been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but the learner, now I’m the master.” 

For 45 years, fans have assumed he meant since his battle with Obi-Wan on Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith. But now, that will likely no longer be true. At one point, we know Obi-Wan will find out that Anakin Skywalker is alive. At another point, we assume they will meet.  

Obi-Wan Kenobi can’t change Star Wars timeline, technically, but emotionally, it can have a huge impact. We can’t wait to see exactly what monumental shifts will occur when Obi-Wan Kenobi releases on May 27.

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