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Star Wars: Why Obi-Wan Kenobi Didn't Return in The Last Jedi

This post contains SPOILERS for The Last Jedi

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has offered an explanation for why it was only Yoda who dispelled some wisdom on Luke Skywalker and not Obi-Wan Kenobi. Though the surprise was spoiled before Episode VIII premiered due to an over-eager lighting company boasting about their work, it was still fun to see Luke reunited with his old master to learn one final lesson before making his heroic stand against the First Order on Crait. The scene harkened back to some of The Empire Strikes Back's finest moments (complete with puppet Yoda), with Luke discovering that failure can be the greatest teacher.

Of course, Yoda wasn't the only one to show young Skywalker the ways of the Force. Throughout the original trilogy, Obi-Wan Kenobi is by Luke's side, guiding him along his first steps into a larger world. Even when old Ben was struck down by Darth Vader, he communicated with his pupil at critical moments as a Force ghost. Because of Luke and Obi-Wan's relationship, many fans had hoped Kenobi would return in The Last Jedi as well, but he made no cameo. Now, Johnson has explained his reasoning behind that decision.

Related: Rian Johnson Explains Force Ghosts In Last Jedi

In an interview with The Playlist, Johnson revealed he contemplated including Obi-Wan, but ultimately went against it because it would have to be Ewan McGregor reprising the role and not Alec Guinness (who passed away in 2000):

“Believe me, man. I would have loved to have had Ewan McGregor in the movie but it was just a matter of storytelling. The original relationship with Obi Wan — obviously if Alec Guinness were still with us that would have made sense. But we never saw Luke ever interact with the Ewan version of Obi Wan, so there’s less of the emotional connection and it might have been a little odd. So, it made sense and we could recreate that character [practically], so it made sense that Yoda be the one that comes back and kicks [Luke’s] butt a little.”

McGregor played the Jedi in the three installments of George Lucas' prequel trilogy and is considered one of the better parts of that series of films. While it would have been a delight to see the actor play Obi-Wan again in a saga film (a standalone for the character is still in development), Johnson does make a fair point about the different versions. Something might have seemed off to see McGregor (who is 20 years Mark Hamill's junior) share the screen with Luke Skywalker - even if makeup was used to make him appear older. By nature of being a puppet Frank Oz could control, Yoda was simply easier to bring back for the purposes of The Last Jedi. Plus, the dialogue is tailored to reiterate something specific Luke learned from Yoda in the original trilogy, so it was all the more logical the 900-year old Jedi was the single Force spirit in Skywalker's ear.

J.J. Abrams was not averse to using McGregor's Obi-Wan in The Force Awakens, as the younger Kenobi had a small voice-over role at the end of Rey's Force vision. Because of this, some could be holding out hope for Obi-Wan in Abrams' Episode IX, but that seems highly unlikely. Luke is now one with the Force after dying during The Last Jedi's emotional climax and has rejoined his mentors at peace. If there are Force ghosts in the sequel trilogy finale, the easy money is on Luke appearing to guide Rey (or, in an amusing twist, haunt Kylo Ren), as none of the new characters had any connection with Obi-Wan. Fans of the character will have to hope that aforementioned spinoff becomes a reality.

MORE: How Han Solo's Death Compares to Luke's

Source: The Playlist

Key Release Dates
  • Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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Star Wars: Why Obi-Wan Kenobi Didn't Return in The Last Jedi