Few film characters improve over time; still fewer grow and make the journey worth watching. This is what’s made watching Leonard Nimoy play Spock so much fun; the character has grown over time, while staying with the core truth of the character.
Obi-Wan Kenobi’s been on just as interesting a journey. It was truly fun to see a character history proving he was honest about one thing: he was reckless. Leaping out of buildings, killing Sith Lords, hammering vampire cyborgs. All done by the man we once knew only as a calm soul with Samurai sensibilities.
Ewan McGregor had no small part to do with that. He truly is a gifted actor whose natural charm shows through.
Well, just to show you that I’ve often had fun with this stuff, here’s a blast from the past about how much cooler Obi-Wan is than another beloved character we all know.
The Original Bad Boy of Star Wars
Originally published December 29, 2006 at the original kessel korner.
Han Solo. You know him. You love him. Heck, more than half of you want(ed) to be him.
The sly one-liners, the devil-may-care attitude and the hot rod ship. The loyal best friend and the damsel in distress, and you get to deliver quips a la Rhett Butler.
But what of the truly coolest cucumber in the bunch, the character that really should be the hip focus of fan affection?
I mean, of course, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Obi-Wan (as we learned in the prequels) was the original quick wit in Star Wars – something which was hinted at in the original film as well, as he effortlessly destroyed Han’s macho swagger. Han Solo never had anything on Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi.
Braided bad boy or bearded, brash teacher, Obi-Wan is everything Han Solo aspires to be – truly cool and collected. About to be fed to an Acklay? Roll with it, bad boy, and get the spear. Disgraced Jedi taunting you with barbs as you hang suspended in a funky blue field? Give him attitude. A seven foot monstrosity attacking you? Fight him hand-to-hand…and win.
Someone – anyone – tries to touch you in a bar, sever their arm. I am sorry, you cannot possibly be cooler than that.
So fly away with your custom ships and trousers from Clark Gable’s wardrobe. Scratch your flea-bitten friend behind the ear. I’ll be over in this corner, sharing a beer, with the original bad boy of Star Wars.
That’s Master Kenobi to you.