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It's Old Ben versus "The Chosen One" in Deborah Chow's Obi-Wan Kenobi, as the latest Star Wars series from Disney+ attempts to fill in the gaps between George Lucas' trilogies. Away from newcomers like Kumail Nanjiani, Moses Ingram and Indira Varma, there are the much-hyped returns of Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen to flesh out Anakin Skywalker's beef with the titular Jedi.
Although there's just one episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi left, June 15's penultimate episode finally gave us those long-awaited prequel flashbacks everyone has been waiting for. While George Lucas' prequels were divisive back in the day, they've become cult classics – with a special mention to Attack of the Clones. When Obi-Wan Kenobi revisited the 2002 black sheep, viewers were probably too busy focussing on Christensen's return without his Vader armour to notice a tragic throwback to his past life.
Kenobi's fifth episode didn't deliver a dramatic rematch on Mustafar but instead saw the pair duke it out on Coruscant. Known as the capital of the galaxy, Coruscant was a major hub in the prequels but was mysteriously absent in Disney's sequel trilogies. We know Anakin and Obi-Wan's duel takes place around the same time period as Attack of the Clones because the future Lord Vader is sporting his signature ponytail and braid combo, while also boasting both hands – before Count Dooku chops one off in Episode II's climax.
When 'Part V' opens, we see a stoic Anakin looking out across Coruscant at a tall skyscraper.
Posting on Twitter, eagle-eyed fans spotted he's longingly looking to the apartment that Padmé Amidala stays in. As the Queen of Naboo, she has a suitably regal apartment, and if you remember back, Anakin saved Padmé when an assassin droid made an attempt on her life in that very apartment.
// #kenobi spoilers
these flashbacks are pre-marriage, pre-naboo bc anakin still has his hand and their lightsabers are pre-geonosis
so anakin is not only looking at padmé's apartment, he's YEARNING bc they aren't together yet BFISIC pic.twitter.com/brKu4S55dk
— 🐝sar | even stars burn out🌙 (@acrossthestrs) June 15, 2022
Ironically, Obi-Wan Kenobi's flashback mirrors an almost identical scene in Revenge of the Sith when a much darker Anakin looks across to Padmé's apartment. It has a new meaning here, with young Anakin being in the first stages of his relationship with Padmé.
Although Kenobi's Anakin isn't yet a full-blown Palpatine puppet, Obi-Wan scolds his apprentice that he's blinded by his "need for victory" instead of the usual ways of the Jedi. Of course, this is just a precursor to him chopping up Younglings in Episode III. The brief scene features another grim foreshadowing when Anakin seemingly gets the upper hand over his master and gleefully disarms him while smirking: "There, your weapon's gone, it's over."
It's a clever nod to their upcoming Revenge of the Sith battle where Obi-Wan utters the now-iconic: "It's over Anakin, I have the high ground". Instead of admitting defeat and being brought in by Obi-Wan, Anakin's ego gets the better of him… and we all know how that ends.
It's been 17 years since Obi-Wan took the high ground and left his apprentice for dead as a charred piece of meat on the surface of Mustafar. Even though a lot of the Disney+ series has pivoted to Obi-Wan's relationship with a young Princess Leia (played brilliantly by Vivien Lyra Blair) let's not pretend we didn't tune in to see the master and Padawan cross lightsabers again.
1977's A New Hope alluded to history between Anakin and Obi-Wan, but we didn't get to explore it much before the former cut down Alec Guinness' sage Jedi. Even the prequels largely focused on Anakin's relationship with Padmé instead of Obi-Wan's tutelage. This has left room for shows like Kenobi, and it's moments like this that help to redeem Christensen's divisive portrayal of Anakin and show what the prequels could have done with the character.
It remains to be seen what happens in the Kenobi finale, with calls for a duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan beneath the twin suns of Tatooine, because that seems to be where everyone is heading.
Given the fan response to the Coruscant scene, it's clear flashbacks are popular. We imagine Natalie Portman is too busy with Thor: Love and Thunder to stop by for a cameo, but if Chow wants to get us right in the feels, an Anakin and Padmé flashback that doesn't involve him feeding her a pear is sure to go down a treat. Either way, Obi-Wan Kenobi just gave 'a new hope' to the prequels.
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