The finale of the Obi-Wan Kenobi show on Disney+ may have had some nostalgic and emotional moments, but Disney's battle to avoid continuity errors has taken a toll once again, particularly with the dedicated fans of the Original Trilogy. (Spoilers for Obi-Wan Kenobi ahead).
On the surface, Disney's writing staff clearly knows how to make strong connections to moments or lines of dialogue from the OT, almost to the point of being too heavy-handed about them. They recreated the opening of A New Hope as a young Princess Leia and the rest of the people onboard a smaller starcraft try to flee Vader's Star Destroyer. Later, Obi-Wan says "I will do what I must" to Anakin once again right before their epic rematch. And after Leia is safe on Alderaan, Obi-Wan pays her one last visit and tells her she can reach out to him for help if needed, but she must keep it secret.
Several instances seemingly go against the grain with what's already established in the OT. And I'm not just talking about silly decisions, like Obi-Wan foolishly deciding to leave Anakin alive again, even after Vader said he killed Anakin. Seriously, did Obi-Wan learn nothing from that mistake at the end of Revenge of the Sith? No, I'm talking about actual, measurable changes to the Star Wars story. If this pattern continues, the OT is going to mean less and less with the ongoing stories in the ever-expanding Star Wars universe.
None may be more egregious than Reva's encounter with young Luke Skywalker. When we meet Luke in A New Hope, he vaguely knows who Obi-Wan Kenobi is, but he is completely unaware of all things related to Jedi. When old Obi-Wan shows his father's lightsaber (now that Luke is old enough to have it), Luke clearly is laying eyes on a Jedi weapon for the first time. In the Obi-Wan Kenobi finale, though, Reva attacks young Luke. Though they were careful to make sure Luke didn't exactly stare at Reva from afar with an activated lightsaber (at one point, he does look back to see a glowing light in the dark), the fact that young Luke had to run for his life is still enough of a jarring, traumatic event to which Luke from ANH is oblivious. At the very least, Luke should know how dangerous a lightsaber is, right?
How do Owen and Beru explain that away? Luke is going to remember when someone attacked him and chased him through the Tatooine desert with a lightsaber in hand. Sure, they could lie to him, but the fact that Luke even sees all he sees just chips away at the innocent character we meet in A New Hope. This isn't Men In Black where two guys in suits blind Luke with a neuralyzer. This is supposed to be the same Luke who is taking his first step into a larger world with Obi-Wan. What further hurts the continuity is how excited Luke gets when C-3PO mentions the Rebellion. Luke asks him "You know of the Rebellion against the Empire?" If Owen and Beru (and, to some extent, Obi-Wan) don't tell Luke why he was being chased, why would they tell him about the Rebellion at all? If they didn't tell him, how did he find out? Whichever way you look at it, the continuity with Luke's character makes no sense (I guess changes to Luke in The Last Jedi weren't jarring enough).
Speaking of Owen and Beru, these two were standouts in the finale. They were armed and ready to fight Reva - an Inquisitor who, you know, fights with a deadly lightsaber - and they knew how to defend their keep quite well. But after watching their fight with Reva, it seems baffling how a couple of stormtroopers could kill them so easily in ANH. You're telling me that Owen and Beru wouldn't stay on the defensive from now on and be ready to fight should the Empire come calling again?
It now makes little to no sense that they would even stay on Tatooine in the first place. Clearly, they were tracked there by Reva. The risk of the Inquisitors finding them again is way too high. This turn of events has created too many questionable decisions that dangerously flirt with changing the status of the opening act in ANH.
Another interesting aspect regarding young Luke is whether or not Vader is aware of him. At the end of Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine tells Anakin that he killed Padme in his anger (it’s safe to presume that Anakin thought their baby was killed in the process). Yet in The Empire Strikes Back, Palpatine and Vader have a conversation about Luke, who is now their newest enemy after he destroyed the Death Star. Palpatine calls Luke “the son of Skywalker,” and Vader is not even surprised by this. They know who Luke is at this point. When did they find this out? Was it a result of Reva’s pursuit of Luke in the finale? It seems hard to believe that Vader and Palpatine never find out that Reva went to Tatooine, which makes it seem odd that they never go there, either, especially if they find out at some point that Luke is alive.
As far as Leia's story is concerned, her iconic holographic message to Obi-Wan in ANH may seem flimsy now, but I can look the other way a little more easily in this case. Obi-Wan tells young Leia to keep their relationship a secret, which perhaps is why she refers to him as the general who served his father in the Clone Wars instead of the man who saved her from the Inquisitors. Then again, if she feels the need to protect his identity at this time, wouldn't sending him a message in the first place compromise him? That's splitting hairs too much, though, and I'm willing to let that go. But it now seems odd that Leia didn’t get all that emotional when Vader killed Obi-Wan. It’s not like Obi-Wan saved her life or anything important like that.
On a larger scale, what Disney seems to be doing with some of the shows we've seen so far is establishing how dedicated the Empire has been to hunting down Jedi and conducting experiments on them. We see a glimpse of that in Part IV of Obi-Wan Kenobi when Obi-Wan breaks into a secure hall and discovers what he thinks is a tomb, though it's likely more is going on here than we may think. Omega, who showed Force sensibilities, became a target in The Bad Batch. The entire premise of Season 1 of The Mandalorian, of course, was the Empire scientists' hunt for Grogu.
Clearly, the Empire is up to something. My guess, which isn't much of a leap, is it has to do with the Emperor trying to attain immortality. For all we know, all of this could be a long, roundabout way of enhancing the Sequel Trilogy by addressing how the Emperor is still alive in The Rise of Skywalker. Where the problem lies, is how these Jedi survived all this time. We already know Ahsoka and Grogu lived through the time of the OT. Will we discover that other Jedi did, as well? The decision by Disney to simply leapfrog over the OT's period is rendering the statuses and dialogue of characters like Yoda and old Obi-Wan more and more useless.
Of course, other than creating new Star Wars content outside of the Skywalker saga, the alternate decision to reboot or remake the OT seems far worse, so it seems like we're stuck with these ancillary shows that are trying to honor the roots of the franchise but end up making a bigger mess of it instead. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the shows and I always want to see more Star Wars. Even though the writers claimed they honored continuity, I just hope that the writers of future shows are more meticulous about the details and clean up the continuity errors once and for all. The Ahsoka show, for example, has to handle how she has been alive in secret all this time. Any show that takes place before ANH must tread more carefully than we’ve seen so far.
Written by Jeremy Costello
Syndicated from Culture Slate