The upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi show can finally explain one of Star Wars’ oldest plot holes – Obi-Wan’s rapid aging – by using Rebels’ time travel.
The upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi show could fix an old Star Wars plot hole by using a concept from Star Wars: Rebels – time travel through the “world between worlds”. Despite being one of the biggest sci-fi franchises in history, Star Wars has generally shied away from more reality-bending concepts like time travel in its core stories. Time travel has been used in canon before, however, and it could be used again in the Obi-Wan series.
Obi-Wan Kenobi will pick up the titular Jedi’s story ten years after the end of Revenge of the Sith, placing it nine years before the events of A New Hope. The series will presumably see Kenobi leave his vigil on Tatooine to embark on a new, previously unknown adventure across the galaxy. Given how dedicated Obi-Wan is to protecting Luke Skywalker, it would take a pretty major event to prompt him to leave. That could mean helping another surviving Jedi, aiding the early Rebellion, or even striking a blow against the Empire personally if the right opportunity arose.
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With Ewan McGregor returning to the role of Obi-Wan, the new show will also have to contend with one of Star Wars’ oldest plot holes – why Obi-Wan looks so old in A New Hope. It’s a question that’s been written off as a simple discrepancy and occasionally explained away by the harsh conditions of Tatooine. The Obi-Wan show will make Kenobi’s age jump even less believable, but it could also give the best explanation yet of how he becomes so old so quickly.
Obi-Wan’s Age Plot Hole Explained
Canonically, Obi-Wan Kenobi is aged 59 years old in A New Hope. Visually, he looks like he’s in his 70s. This issue has existed since The Phantom Menace was first released, confirming Obi-Wan’s actual age in the original trilogy. The best explanation available is that 19 years of living in the desert wastes of Tatooine rapidly aged Kenobi. However, that justification may not hold up as well in the face of the new show. Behind-the-scenes image of McGregor preparing for his reprisal show that Obi-Wan will look a lot more like his Revenge of the Sith self than his A New Hope self, which makes sense given the actor.
In the Star Wars: Rebels episode “Twin Suns,” which takes place two years before A New Hope, Obi-Wan looks essentially the same as the Alec Guinness version of the character. There are only seven years between the new Obi-Wan show and “Twin Suns” – seven years for Kenobi to make a full transformation from middle-aged Jedi to old hermit. That’s a far less believable timeframe than the nineteen years previously allotted for his aging. It may be that Disney will simply let the plot hole remain a plot hole, but Obi-Wan Kenobi could also finally explain the character’s rapid aging via the time travel conceit from Star Wars: Rebels.
How Time Travel Works In Star Wars Rebels
In Rebels, young Jedi-in-training Ezra Bridger discovers a way to travel through time. From the ancient Jedi temple on his homeworld of Lothal, Ezra unlocks a secret gateway through the Force into a parallel realm – something referred to in ancient Jedi texts as the World Between Worlds. After entering the World Between Worlds, Ezra is presented with a series of portals to different times and places; pasts and futures. By using one of these portals, he is able to reach back through time and save Ahsoka Tano from her grim fate at the hands of Darth Vader. Fearing the danger of the Sith accessing the World Between Worlds, Ahsoka and Ezra lock the gate behind them when they leave, leading to the temple’s physical collapse.
How exactly the World Between Worlds works is unknown, but there are some clues. Ezra’s access to the portal is tied to a mural in the Lothal temple, which depicts the Force-wielders of Mortis – ancient, powerful beings introduced and subsequently killed in a series of episodes from The Clone Wars. Theoretically, no one could access the World Between Worlds – or at least, no one would know how to – after Ahsoka and Ezra destroyed the entrance on Lothal. However, the Obi-Wan Kenobi show is set years before Ezra’s own journey through time, which means the realm could hypothetically still be accessed by a Force-sensitive person.
Why Obi-Wan Might Use The World Between Worlds
Because Obi-Wan is one of the only living people to have encountered the Mortis Force-wielders – although his memory of the event was wiped – there are many ways in which he could be brought to the World Between Worlds. It’s possible that some echo from Mortis could reach Obi-Wan through the Force, leading him to the portal on Lothal or a different entrance on another planet. The ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn could also play a role if Liam Neeson were to return. As one of the last surviving Jedi and a visitor to Mortis, Obi-Wan could easily be led to the World Between Worlds through a number of different plotlines.
As for why he would willingly engage in time travel, the answer is obvious. Obi-Wan’s story is largely one of failure. He failed to stop his closest friend from turning to the dark side, and subsequently failed to stop the Sith from taking over the galaxy. His redemption, ultimately, is in training a new Jedi to do what he himself was unable to do. If Obi-Wan discovered a way to turn back time, to give even the slightest chance of undoing his failure, saving Anakin, and preserving the Republic, wouldn’t he do it? The old man seen in A New Hope – aged with wisdom and acceptance of his failure – might not. But a younger Obi-Wan, worn from a decade of exile and solitude? That man might take the chance and try to turn back time.
Time Travel Can Explain Obi-Wan’s Rapid Aging
Bringing back the World Between Worlds in Obi-Wan Kenobi can finally offer a real explanation for the character’s rapid aging. Obi-Wan Kenobi could get trapped in a past or future timeline for an extended duration, only making it back to his own time after years have passed. Or, more simply, his aging could easily be explained as a side-effect of traveling through time at all.
The narrative opportunities of the World Between Worlds in Obi-Wan aren’t limited to the aging plot hole either. Time travel could explain how he leaves Tatooine without truly abandoning Luke, if he leaves and then returns to the same moment when he left. It could explain Obi-Wan’s new duel with Vader, which Disney has promised, by setting it in some sort of alternate timeline. It could even allow for some live-action flashbacks to the Clone Wars. Obviously, time travel is a dangerous tool to play with in storytelling but, if done correctly, it could make a lot of sense in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Next: Star Wars: Why Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan Struggled Against Darth Maul
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