The release of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney Plus has riled some feathers in the Star Wars fandom. (No surprise there.) Set just nine years before the start of A New Hope, fans that aren’t enjoying the series feel that the Jedi Knight doesn’t feel like he’s any closer to the Original Trilogy’s Alec Guinness at all.
With this complaint flying through the fandom, many are complaining that this detail “breaks canon”. However, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, writer Joby Harold argued that’s not the case at all.
Does Obi-Wan Kenobi break canon?
In the interview, Harold explained that Obi-Wan is still in a transitional period in his life. The character has yet to reach the tranquility he exudes in A New Hope, but he’s also far from the battle-hardy warrior he was in Revenge of the Sith.
“We all know where we’re going in the show. That’s not surprising to anybody,” Harold said. “But there is undeniably a hole in the storytelling before we get to Sir Alec Guinness’ zen-like calm warrior monk. The fight between him and Vader at the end of A New Hope has a calm to it… That’s very different from Mustafar at the end of Revenge of the Sith, so that chunk of storytelling felt like an opportunity, not something we were limited by.”
The writer explained that the way the Jedi is now isn’t “violating canon”. Instead, it’s building a bridge between two very different characters. In this regard, Harold believes that the Obi-Wan depicted in the show is “Episode 3.5”. They said:
"I have completely focused on [Obi-Wan Kenobi] being Episode 3.5, between the original trilogy and the prequels, as it had to marry the storytelling choices between those two trilogies. Ultimately, I’m an original trilogy kid; that’s what I love. And that’s the calm and the precision with which we tried to focus this show. We tried to echo that mythic-feeling storytelling."
“There’s nothing we’ve violated”
Nevertheless, a large minority of fans are still upset, as they are wont to be, decrying the show as an insult to canon. Harold argues that nothing established in the show contradicts The Original Trilogy.
“There was no line in A New Hope that said we couldn’t,” he said. “One could argue that Obi-Wan’s “from a certain point of view” thing is obviously revisionist storytelling in regards to the original trilogy, or it’s another way of saying there are gray areas and things we don’t know. There’s nothing wrong with uncovering the past and its truths in storytelling, so it never felt wrong to me. There’s nothing that I feel like we’ve violated at all. If anything, we’ve informed those scenes so that some of the choices that we’ve taken for granted in the [original trilogy] actually make more sense now.”
The writer claimed that newcomers who watched the series “all the way through from Episode I” would feel “a natural link” between the two trilogies.
Of course, Obi-Wan Kenobi isn’t even over yet, and fans should calm down the outrage until the series is over. Plot points like the Grand Inquisitor supposedly being killed have been met with blind fury, despite not knowing if he’s actually dead. Spoiler: He’s not since the character appears in other shows.
As for breaking character, Harold is right; the new show hasn’t broken canon in any way. In fact, Lucasfilm’s lore team likely wouldn’t let them, unless they were J.J. Abrams.