Crazy Old Wizard

I posit that Obi-Wan Kenobi, hero of the Star Wars saga, went insane toward the end of his life, leading him away from the moral and ethical foundations of the Jedi Order.

We see evidence of Obi-Wan’s psychosis in Star Wars: A New Hope. There is a great deal of consternation and debate among fans over Obi-Wan’s comment that Darth Vader killed Luke’s father. Most accept his explanation in Return of the Jedi, that what he told Luke was correct from a “certain point of view”. However, I would like to suggest that the old Jedi may have been completely mad by the time he told Luke about Anakin’s fate. It’s possible that in the throes of dementia he actually believed what he was telling Luke, and then later, in spirit form, offered a flimsy justification, embarrassed to admit his former deficiencies.

It’s also not totally unreasonable to suggest that Obi-Wan may have orchestrated the murder of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru as a way to guarantee Luke would go with him to Alderaan. He could have led the Stormtroopers to the Lars’ home with an anonymous transmission, or perhaps used the Force to plant a suggestion in their minds. Even more plausible is that he enlisted mercenaries to do the deed, perhaps knowing of Stormtroopers’ incompetence and poor marksmanship. He even mentions that “only Imperial stormtroopers are so precise,” which of course we know isn’t true.

It is quite clear that Obi-Wan believed Luke was the galaxy’s only hope for toppling the Empire. He was old, desperate, and running out of time. Maybe he believed that sacrificing two lives to save the entire galaxy was a fair bargain, at least from a certain point of view.

If you require further proof of Obi-Wan’s mental state, witness his brutal dismemberment of Ponda Baba in the cantina. I view this act as a blatant example of excessive, unnecessary force. We’ve seen this man fight armies of droids, vicious cyborgs, ruthless alien bounty hunters, and deadly Sith Lords. We observed his use of mind control on Imperial troops and drug dealers. There’s absolutely no reason to believe he couldn’t have subdued a common thug by less violent means.

To get your head around this theory, think about the trauma Obi-Wan has experienced. Even putting aside the tragic events which gave rise to the Empire, he’s fought in many battles, witnessed death on a daily basis for years, experienced imprisonment and torture, and faced the most horrifying villains imaginable. And throughout all of it his mind is tapped into a powerful cosmic force that he can never truly control.

Add to this the fall of the Jedi Order, the slaying of his most trusted friend, and the Rise of an indomitable evil Empire, and you end up with one messed up old hermit.

Crazy Old Wizard

6 thoughts on “Crazy Old Wizard

  1. Voidious says:

    This sucks, this is total BS! Oh wait, SWEET, I found my long lost comment in my browser cache! Yeah, Chrome!

    Honestly (and as I’ve stated), this is one theory I just can’t back you up on, bro.

    – Obi-wan telling Luke that Vader killed his father and later clarifying his point is, to me, a defining aspect of the Star Wars trilogy and the Jedi way (under its original interpretation). Obi-wan is moral enough not to lie to him, but detached enough that he truly felt he wasn’t, which allowed him to bend the truth to inspire Luke; at the same time, his bending of the truth and Luke later realizing it was *also* a lesson to Luke! It’s like a twofer.
    – Obi-wan was certainly capable of orchestrating the murder of Lars and Beru, so there’s no definitive proof that he didn’t; I will, however, say that I don’t think he would have achieved immortality as a ghost if he had been so immoral.
    – The clone troopers *were* quite skilled in the prequel trilogy, which is the last time that Obi-wan encountered them, right?
    – If he could get away with it, I bet Lucas would reverse the Obi-wan dismemberment of Ponda Baba like he did Han’s shooting first, but I don’t think it even matters. It’s possible mind tricks don’t work on that race. Perhaps he’ll regrow his limb, being an unknown alien race, in which case it served well as impressing Luke with the power of a Jedi while it didn’t really permanently injure Ponda Baba (another twofer). All those possibilities aside, dude pulled a blaster on him, so it doesn’t strike me as excessive at all to respond with force.
    – Does it not require an intense amount of sanity, discipline, and enlightenment to attain Jedi ghost form?

    To me, it’s just too much of a stretch, and I think it would damage the plot more than add to it, so I just can’t believe that it is intended this way (ie, *is* this way) nor choose to view it this way.


  2. Mattdude says:

    Hey thanks for your post, Patchdude (and sorry about the technical difficulties ;). You make a lot of great points, especially about the “twofer” lesson! Never really thought about it that way.

    It’s interesting you mention the idea of Lucas changing the cantina scene, because out of all the arguments I present, I think the one about Ponda Baba is the strongest because it’s something we actually see on screen and not merely speculation on my part. I still think it shows wanton brutality on Obi-Wan’s part. Seems like he could have Force-pushed Ponda out of the way or pulled the gun into his hand. I never thought about the idea of Obi taking that opportunity to demonstrate Jedi power to Luke but that’s an interesting idea.

    Regarding Obi-Wan’s achieving immortality, I’ve actually thought about that a bit and considered that it might disprove my theor.y My only argument against that is that Vader was basically evil up until a few minutes before his death. It seems true that one can turn back to the light just prior to death and still become a ghost, even if after living a life of evil.

    As for Obi-Wan’s experience with the clones, it’s a good question. I’m not sure if he ever had contact with them after the war. Investigate this, I must. 🙂


  3. “Maybe he believed that sacrificing two lives to save the entire galaxy was a fair bargain, at least from a certain point of view”
    You need to think along the lines of Spock – <>

    Or something like that 🙂


  4. Ymerej says:

    Mattdude – maybe what you’re seeing is Lucas’ insanity. Not in his old age, but the fact that he’s always just been nuts. Like peering into the creator’s mind.

    Regarding the cantina, I’d probably take the opportunity to dust off the old lightsaber if I’d been sitting around in a cave in the desert for however long…

    Also, maybe being a Jedi is itself a form of insanity.


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