Monday, February 17, 2014

101 Star Wars Variations: The Kenobi Job

Don't believe everything you hear.

At the end of the Dark Age, for instance, when the Galactic Empire was brought down with the destruction of the Death Star, the man responsible was an old hermit named Ben Kenobi.

Kenobi had lived most of his life on the desert world of Tatooine, on the fringe of Republic territory, best known for being under the control of the Hutts.  It was here where the hermit met the moisture farmer Luke Skywalker and pirate Han Solo, both of whom accompanied him on the fateful voyage to the Death Star.

You may have heard some fanciful things about Kenobi and even Skywalker, whom some legends connect with the Imperial commander known as Darth Vader, who was suspected to be related in some way to a prisoner being held aboard the Death Star at that time, Princess Leia of Alderaan, a world famously obliterated by the superweapon for demonstration purposes.  Vader was sometimes referred to as Lord Vader, which has led to speculation that he was at least some kind of royalty.

Perhaps you were expecting me to talk about his relationship to the Sith cult, which itself was an offshoot of the Jedi cult.  Don't be silly.  No such cult ever existed, at least not until recent times, a fallacy dedicated to a myth, the so-called "Force" that both Vader and Kenobi were said to wield.

Since all of the people I referenced were lost in the destruction of the Death Star, it's easy to believe any of the wild stories that have sprung up about them over the centuries.  No one likes to believe Kenobi was capable of destroying such a great technological terror.  So instead of a hermit, he was a Jedi, who survived a great purge begun by Vader, who betrayed Kenobi in the process.  Kenobi's life on Tatooine becomes a romantic exile story, watching over the young Skywalker.

Except it's not true.  Kenobi was an agent of the old Republic, before the Dark Age, a loyal soldier of the Clone Army, like all of them a clone of Jango Fett, one of the first.  By the fall of the old Republic, he'd been discharged from service, and Tatooine was the place of his retirement.

Except Kenobi never retired.  He'd stolen the plans for the Death Star at some point in the transition process between the old Republic and the Galactic Empire.  If there were any relationships between those aboard the Death Star in its final hours, it's likely that there truly had been one between Kenobi and Vader, and that it had been Kenobi who betrayed Vader, not the other way around.  Vader remained a loyalist, despite obvious flaws in the government even we can see centuries later as a despotism that crushed democracy and consolidated power across countless star systems.  Kenobi would be a classic freedom fighter, then.

But certainly not a Jedi.  Again, there was never any such thing.  Neither he nor Vader nor anyone else ever handled the mystical powers of the Force.  Imagine such a thing!  Although such knights of valor would truly prove useful, whether in those days or ours, although I doubt their overall effectiveness would be anything to note in the grand scheme.  Any knight requires extensive training.  A knight with extraordinary abilities?  Far too rare to count on.  Even if they existed...

It's not worth speculating about, really.

Kenobi became a hermit, waiting for the day the Death Star became a reality.  In all the years he waited, he did indeed become friends with the young moisture farmer Skywalker, and it was Han Solo who flew them off Tatooine.  All three are registered in Mos Eisley flight records that exist to this day, thanks to the diligence of the Hutts.

Using old access codes, Kenobi would have had everything he needed to accomplish the job.  There's no mystery there.  If he had access to the plans at all, it would stand to reason that before his retirement Kenobi had been an important soldier in the Clone Army.  He is in fact listed in the records as a general.

Why, then, do the legends persist that suggest something else happened?  That not only Skywalker, but Han Solo and Princess Leia, not to mention Vader, survived, that it was in fact Skywalker who accomplished the destruction of the Death Star?  Because people like their romantic fables.  If you listen to those legends, their patent lies are so transparent, they're easy to ignore for the enlightened individual.

No, it was only Kenobi, an old soldier, a hermit, a hero, a martyr.  It's this man we should celebrate on Republic Day.


  1. Nice! Time will tell...time will tell.

    1. Alas, no Doctor Who appearances to come.

  2. Kenobi was a true hero. It makes you think Tony.

    1. He deserves more credit than he gets. I will be writing something more about him over at Scouring Monk hopefully before too long.