November 30, 2023

At first glance, Star Wars: A New Hope operated on a strict plot and character structure. Influenced by Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth ideas, George Lucas made Luke Skywalker his warrior protagonist. Assisting Luke on his hero’s journey, was Han Solo: the outlaw, Obi-Wan: the mentor and Leia: the damsel in distress. Opposing Luke was Darth Vader and the entire, evil Empire.

Contrary to that first impression, though, A New Hope actually subverted a lot of traditional expectations. Princess Leia was anything but a damsel in distress, and Han Solo switched from being an outlaw to an ally because of Luke’s heroic influence. However, the most shocking subversion was how Obi-Wan sacrificed himself and left Luke without a mentor. The thing is, Obi-Wan #5 (by Christopher Cantwell, Adriana Melo, Wayne Faucher, Dono Sánchez-Almara, VC’s Joe Caramagna and Phil Noto) showed that the final duel between the two almost never happened.



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Obi Wan Kenobi 5 Cover
The Obi-Wan comic series is telling different stories from Obi-Wan’s tragic life. Shortly before A New Hope, a terrible sandstorm started brewing, so the Jedi Master hunkered down and passed the time by making a journal. In Issue #1, Obi-Wan recounted the first time he tried a Jedi mind trick, and in Issue #2, he remembered killing Darth Maul before writing about a strange mission from his time as a padawan. Then, Issue #3 explained why Obi-Wan never joined the Rebellion, while Issue #4, referenced the Old Republic. Now, in Obi-Wan #5, the Jedi Master told a story called “Ben.”

As Obi-Wan #5 opened, the sandstorm had passed, but it had knocked out Obi-Wan’s power cells. So, he ventured out to find some Jawas to trade with. However, he wasn’t the only one out in the wilderness. A band of Tusken Raiders had attacked an Imperial compound during the sandstorm and stolen ration containers. So, the enraged Imperials tracked the Tuskens and attacked their camp. Unfortunately for the Stormtroopers, it was all trap because the “Tuskens” were decoys, and the real raiders were laying in ambush.

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Obi Wan Kenobi almost loses his lightsaber
Hearing the tumult, Obi-Wan waited for the Tuskens to leave and went to scavenge the dead Stormtroopers for supplies. Only, they weren’t all dead. One of the Stormtroopers had survived the attack, and as a Jedi, Obi-Wan was obligated to save the trooper’s life. So, he took the trooper to his homestead and tended to his wounds. However, when the trooper woke up, he called Obi-Wan a devil and a sorcerer — because he had a lightsaber. As soon the trooper could stand, he took the lightsaber off of the wall and made a run for it. Of course, Obi-Wan wasn’t worried. He even told the trooper to take the lightsaber because the wilderness could be unforgiving.

If that had happened, a lot would have changed in the Star Wars universe. Obi-Wan wouldn’t have had a lightsaber to fight Vader with, and if he didn’t fight Vader, maybe he would have survived the raid on the Death Star. Yet, it’s possible that, without his sacrifice, none of them would have escaped the moon-sized battle station. It’s also possible that he could have used Anakin’s lightsaber to fight Vader, but then, Luke wouldn’t have inherited his father’s lightsaber. The bottom line is that the whole thing would have been a big mess, but luckily, the trooper threw the Obi-Wan’s lightsaber down before making his getaway. Thus, Obi-Wan maintained posession of the weapon that had served him since the Clone Wars, as a symbol of hope in the galaxy.

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