Jedi get spotlight in ‘Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin
Star Wars fans have seen Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as close friends in the Clone Wars and brutal foes when Anakin ventures to the Dark Side of the Force as Darth Vader. But a new comic book coming in 2016 shows the Jedi in their early days as master and pupil.
So prepare for lightsabers a plenty.
Written by Charles Soule (Star Wars: Lando) and drawn by Marco Checchetto (Star Wars: Shattered Empire), the five-issue miniseries Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin debuts in January and is the first Marvel Comics title to explore the two characters’ relationship in the time frame between the first prequel movies.
“I want people to set their preconceived notions about what an Obi-Wan and Anakin story is aside,” Soule says. “We’ve seen a lot of them but this is something that’s going to feel and look different.”
Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace introduced Anakin as a young boy around 10 whom Obi-Wan and his late master Qui-Gon Jinn find on the desert planet of Tatooine. The kid’s obviously strong in the Force, and by the time fans see him 10 years later in Episode II — Attack of the Clones, his place is more stable in the Jedi Order alongside Yoda, Mace Windu and others as Obi-Wan’s Padawan apprentice.
“What you have is a person who goes from being a boy to being a young man in between those two films, which is really significant,” says Soule.
The miniseries is set three years into Anakin’s training under Obi-Wan — something he promised the dying Qui-Gon he would do — at a peacetime period where the Jedi are at the height of their power and many feel Anakin is destined to do an enormous amount of good for the universe.
He and Obi-Wan are in a spaceship heading back to a diplomatic fleet when they get a distress call from a remote deserted planet. When they land, the Jedi find a mountainous place with deep valleys containing huge roiling clouds of green mist that cover the surface. “It’s a place that’s designed to have many, many secrets,” Soule says, “and it does.”
While they go on their mission, it’s interspersed with flashbacks showing how the title’s main stars reached a personal crisis point between them.
Soule feels the way he writes Anakin and Obi-Wan is going to look different than how they were on the Clone Wars cartoon series or in the prequel adventures. He gave Checchetto a direction to have influences including Lone Wolf and Cub and Akira Kurosawa movies such as Seven Samurai.
“Ultimately that’s kind of like what Jedi were: warrior monks wandering the galaxy doing awesome things,” Soule says. The series is “getting back to the heart of what I think Jedi can be, when they’re not weighed down by war and the Sith attacking them.”
Anakin is at an age where he’s starting to ask questions about the world and superiors around him, according to Soule, yet he also is a very cool, tough kid with a lot of his fellow peers at the Jedi Temple wondering why he’s treated like he’s special.
Meanwhile Obi-Wan is struggling with the fact that Anakin’s not the easiest student.
“This is the point where Obi-Wan is realizing, ‘Wow, am I really even equipped to do this? Maybe I shouldn’t have been so cavalier about taking on this task,’ ” Soule says. “It’s important to him, he wants to do it right and he’s very fond of Anakin, but it’s definitely a tough job.
“These people went into this situation with stars in their eyes, and the reality of it is beginning to sink in.”
Anakin had a rebellious streak going back to his days on Tatooine, and Soule seeds pieces of the man he will become one day, including having the young Jedi looking at the Jedi Order with a critical eye, he says. “He grew up as a slave so he knows there’s a lot of injustice in the galaxy that isn’t necessarily being addressed and he’s wondering if there might be other ways.”
His mother Shmi is still alive at this point and a slave back on Tatooine, and that’s a tough burden for Anakin. “It’s a lot of weight to put on a child,” says Soule, adding that “there is probably a pretty cool story to be told” about the burgeoning friendship between Anakin and Senator Palpatine, the manipulative man who one day becomes the evil Emperor and turns the youngster against the Jedi.
Anakin is supposedly going to bring balance to the Force as “the chosen one,” so Soule doesn’t think it’s really good winning over evil. Skywalker just balances it in an expected way when he joins the Dark Side.
“That’s why we still love these stories many years later and we’ve all seen them 100 times and thought about them so much,” Soule says. “It’s really rich and interesting the way these stories are told.”