“Obi Wan . . . You ARE the Father!”

Recently a certain section of the hive mind collective unconscious of the internet noticed a striking similarity between two actors . . . Ewan McGregor in Revenge of the Sith (2005) and Mark Hamill in The Force Awakens (2015), and this has ignited creative theories that Obi Wan Kenobi could have been Luke’s REAL father!

Obi Wan and Luke

“The Force is strong in my family.”

I have honestly lost count of the numerous conversations and debates that I’ve had with friends over the last 16 years as to how the Star Wars prequels could have been so much better, and I am confident that you’ve had those conversations as well. This latest idea, however, could have been pure gold if we could only fix that time machine and go back to Skywalker Ranch in 1997.

According the Star Wars A to Z book, the definitive Star Wars guide of the early 90’s and now harder to find than the Holiday Special (I swear that the book exists), Owen Larrs’s background reveals that he is actually Obi Wan Kenobi’s brother, which makes great logical sense that Kenobi would hide the child of Darth Vader with someone obscure and not the most obvious family connection to Anakin Skywalker . . . incidentally Uncle Owen was a totally underused character in the prequels as well, we could have learned so much about why older Owen was resentful of Obi Wan and Anakin, but . . . nope.

Vader Father

Vader learns that he’s many years behind with child support payments.

However, back to the idea of Obi Wan being the father of the twins; perhaps the pinnacle moment in the original trilogy is the moment that Darth Vader announces “Luke . . . I am your father!” Much secrecy surrounded this plot detail when filming and on set David Prowse, the actor in the Vader suit, was given the line “Obi Wan killed your father!” as a fake out line. Only Mark Hamill had been told what the real line would be once James Earls Jones had recorded the voice over for Vader. I recall in 1980 some other kids who saw Empire before me giving spoilers about it, but I thought they were joking, the concept that Vader was Luke’s dad was so absurd, but sure enough when I got to the see the film myself the truth was revealed.

Part of the problem (and there were many) with the prequels was that there was zero mystery! We all knew that the boy was going to grow up into Vader, we all knew that Palpatine was going to become the Emperor, we all knew that Anakin was father to Luke and Leia. The only “mystery” was a plot point that went nowhere and fell flat: the mysterious origin of Anakin conception and Shmi Skywalker’s virgin pregnancy. A plausible, and truly shocking reveal that would have topped Vader being Luke’s father would be to have Obi Wan actually be the biological father . . . it’s rather in the realm of Soap Opera, but this is Space Opera after all.

Kenobi Kisses Padme

A love that was EVEN MORE forbidden!

Back in 1999 it blew many people’s minds that then 18-year-old Natalie Portman’s character would be romantically attracted to the ten-year-old Jake Lloyd and not to Scottish heartthrob Ewan McGregor. Either way one powerful character driven plot device that the prequels were missing was a love triangle. The original films had Leia’s affections torn between Han and Luke (side note, unlike the foreshadowing of Vader being Luke’s father, the foreshadowing that Leia was Luke’s sister was non-existent and was tacked on for Return of the Jedi), but the prequels romantic “drama” was a case of “I love you,” “I love you more,” “You put the phone down first,” “No you,” “Let’s put it down at the same time,” etc. yawn, yawn, etc. Not to mention that Anakin’s romantic moves were to give Padme intense creepy looks with his rapist eyes.

If there was a subplot that involved a potential romantic relationship between Obi Wan and Padme this would have been rocket fuel for the falling out and hatred between Obi Wan and Anakin, enough hatred to turn one to the Dark Side. As we see in the original trilogy Obi Wan is not a totally honest character, hiding behind the logic that truth is all a matter of one’s “point of view;” Luke was right to call bullshit on that one. If Obi Wan had had an affair with Padme, it would have been within his character to keep this detail secret from many of the other characters such as a Yoda, especially if the other truth we learn is that Obi Wan was even more responsible for the creation of Darth Vader.

Young Kenobi and Luke

“Like father, like son!”

So given this potential new plot line, why does Obi Wan pretend that Anakin is Luke’s father in Empire and Jedi? To win the war, the final battle with the Dark Side, Obi Wan and Yoda need Vader to become Anakin again because only Anakin can truly defeat the Emperor. Luke is not the great savior, but is actually a pawn in converting Anakin back to the Light Side of the Force. Obi Wan realizes that he must play along with the idea that Anakin is Luke’s father, because Anakin is unaware that he is not actually the biological father to Luke, but if he believes that he is then Luke will be able to touch the humanity that still exists in Vader. Then, years later in The Force Awakens there could be a moment to tie it together when Luke discovers the real truth about his parentage . . . yet another “point of view.”

The dynamic between Obi Wan and Luke changes dramatically if we roll with this new idea. After the Clone Wars, Kenobi devotes himself to observing Luke from afar, protecting his son to whom he cannot reveal that he is his father. If we return to the idea that Owen was Obi Wan’s brother then he literally is Luke’s uncle, and possibly one of the few people who knows the truth, so Owen’s lines about Luke’s father actually refer to Obi Wan equally as well. It’s also ironic that in her moment of direst need, Leia turns to General Kenobi (her father) as her “only hope.”

Padme Gives Birth

The proud parents look lovingly into each other’s eyes.

Of course such speculation is mere fantasy, and wishing that the prequels were different is the road to madness, but it is fun to play with the “what if?” factors . . . and then potentially write fan fiction about it.


 

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