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Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker marks the end of the Skywalker Saga, a nine-movie series that's spanned 42 years and three generations of characters to capture the imaginations and hearts of millions of fans around the world. While it's impossible to sum up everything we love about these films, we here at SYFY WIRE are going to try.
Leading up to The Rise of Skywalker, we're breaking down and celebrating our favorite scenes from the series. Today, we focus on Obi-Wan's sassiest moment in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.
It starts with a chuckle. Not even 10 minutes into Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, and Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan Anakin Skywalker are bickering. Anakin, 20 years old and brimming with angst, insists he was the hero during one of their misshapen missions. Visibly bemused, Obi-Wan decides to humor him.
"Oh, yes," he says, laughing in such a way that Anakin manages to relax and smile for a moment. It's a nice way to reintroduce their relationship, since last we knew of it 10 years before, Obi-Wan had elected to take Anakin on as his Padawan learner after his master Qui-Gon Jinn's untimely death.
This, however sweet it is, is not the moment we're here to talk about, though. This is not the Obi-Wan we're here to talk about.
Instead, I want to talk about an Obi-Wan who is so much more aggressively done. He's done trying to make Anakin feel better, he's done laughing.
Almost 2 hours into Attack of the Clones, and Obi-Wan has foiled an assassination plot, hunted down a lost planet, fought Jango Fett in the pouring rain, been captured by cicada aliens, gotten monologued at by Count Dooku, and has now found himself chained to a freaking pillar in the middle of an arena, only to discover that his uppity little brother — er, Padawan has gotten himself and the person he was supposed to be protecting captured by the cicada aliens, too.
"I was beginning to wonder if you'd got my message," Obi-Wan says, watching Anakin with the merest hint of disdain as his Padawan is tied up beside him.
"I retransmitted it just as you'd requested, Master," Anakin says. "Then we decided to come and rescue you."
Obi-Wan then pauses and pointedly glances up at the shackles holding him to his pillar. "Good job," he intones before adopting what might be the grumpiest expression the Star Wars galaxy has ever seen.
Moments later, they're fighting for their lives.
Obi-Wan's expression, though. That brief moment. It sticks with me to this day. It's everything I love about Obi-Wan Kenobi and Star Wars distilled into a few, precious frames, and it is possibly one of the most relatable things I've ever seen.
I was eight years old when Attack of the Clones premiered in theaters on May 16, 2002, which means I was exactly the audience George Lucas was looking for: Young, already enamored with the series after having grown up watching the original trilogy, and just starting to understand this whole "sarcasm" thing, much to my (incredibly sarcastic) parents' horror and delight.
Lucas has said time and time again that he made the prequel trilogy with kids in mind — he wanted to make sure parents who'd been young when Star Wars first came out could take their kids to theaters and make it a family event. Plus, y'know, the various toys and such that spawned from the prequel trilogy were fabulously marketable toward young people.
Smart! But the outsized reaction to the prequel trilogy's admittedly less-than-stellar moments would eventually result in the films being harangued for years to come. Many fans went so far as to say Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, had "ruined" Star Wars. To this day, people will complain about Hayden Christensen's performance as Anakin Skywalker and grimace as they admit that Natalie Portman "tried her best" with the material she was given.
Obi-Wan, though. He's the great unifier. If you can find me someone who genuinely dislikes Ewan McGregor's younger version of the Jedi Master Alec Guinness made so iconic then I'll take on an Acklay in the Petranaki Arena myself.
I like to think Obi-Wan Kenobi was a formative character for me. Why wouldn't he be? He's equal parts mentor, friend, and father figure, and as played by McGregor in the prequel trilogy, he possesses a certain giddiness underneath all those robes and layers of responsibility. He's not a regular dad — he's a cool dad.
Under Qui-Gon Jinn's (Liam Neeson) tutelage in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan often came across as surly. It's understandable; all his dad's — er, Master's attention was suddenly being hogged by some desert-dwelling nine-year-old. With time, though, comes the gift of being able to take oneself less seriously. People do a lot of growing up in their twenties here in our own world, and I imagine it's a similar situation in a galaxy far, far away.
Obi-Wan is 25 in The Phantom Menace and 35 in Attack of the Clones. Right now, I'm 26, which means that if I were to line myself up with Obi-Wan's life choices, then I took on a Midi-chlorian-rife child as my mentee a year ago. Terrifying. But that also means a few years down the line, I might wield Obi-Wan levels of sarcasm and good humor.
All I want — for both myself and everyone else, really — is Obi-Wan's sense of humor. If I'm ever tied to a pillar about to be executed by a giant praying mantis alien (metaphorically, of course), I hope to approach the situation with a masterful eyeroll and a few quippy words — right before I kick that alien's ass.