It’s safe to say Obi-Wan is having a rough week. He failed his mission to rescue Leia and was devastated to learn that Anakin, his former protégé, is alive and hunting his old colleagues and friends with a lethal team of assassins.
In Episode 3 of Obi-Wan Kenobi, our hero faces his former apprentice in a showdown that proves he’s mentally and physically not the Jedi he used to be, and that he’s woefully unprepared to protect Leia. We see fear in Obi-Wan’s eyes as he’s overwhelmed by Vader’s sheer power. The strong, defiant Jedi that confidently fought Anakin on Mustafar is reduced to cowering and running from the formidable Sith lord.
Obi-Wan is lost. He can barely connect with the force, he’s overwhelmed, and worst of all, he’s out of hope. This isn't the Jedi Luke Skywalker meets in A New Hope; this is a broken man in desperate need of counseling.
Throughout all the bleakness of Episode 3, we see a brief spark of hope when Obi-Wan learns about the Path, an underground network saving Force-sensitive fugitives. But shortly after this revelation, he’s beaten and tortured by Vader, and Reva captures Leia.
This is a make-or-break moment for Obi-Wan. To save Leia, he must stop letting his doubt and fear control him, and regain his connection to the force. He needs confidence, but he can’t find it alone. He needs the help of a former master, the wisest and oldest member of the former Jedi Order, Grand Master Yoda.
This may feel like asking for fan service, but it makes sense in the context of the story and Star Wars at large. Obi-Wan needs guidance. In the past, he had Yoda and the council to confide in. After the fall of the Republic and his inability to connect with Qui-Gon he’s alone and trapped, reliving the past every night in his dreams. Yoda, a mentor to Obi-Wan and one of the few who knows about the Skywalker children, is the missing piece this series needs to bridge Obi-Wan’s Prequel story to the Original Trilogy.
Yoda can help him find the force again and with his help, Obi-Wan could finally reconnect with the spirit of Qui-Gon. Their guidance could help Obi-Wan regain himself and his purpose, and the final three episodes could become a road for redemption that sees him leave the past behind, look forward to the future, and turn the tables on the Inquisitors.
The Inverse Analysis — Yoda is the ultimate Star Wars support character. He’s a beacon who can guide lost souls back to the light, remind Obi-Wan who he is, and help establish the Jedi as the confident old man we meet in A New Hope. The Ben Kenobi Luke meets isn’t wracked by grief and regret; he’s comfortable and connected to the force, waiting to fulfill his part in a grander story. But more importantly, Yoda can show Obi-Wan that there’s always hope, even in the darkest of times.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is streaming now on Disney+.