Sunday, May 18, 2014

Speculation: Is Obi-Wan’s Grandchild In Star Wars: Episode 7?

Back in January of this year an interesting series of rumors broke out on the internets. One of them was that Adam Driver of Girls pseudo-fame was in the running for a part in Episode VII. That came true. But guess what else was rumored in January that appears to be coming true? Make the jump to hyperspace and we’ll take a closer look.

The Hollywood Reporter, a very reliable source for entertainment news scoops, tidbits, rumors, gossip and information, published an article about some interesting Episode VII rumors back on January 11th. Let’s recap:

The Star Wars: Episode VII casting speculation game continues — and The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision has a few names to add to the mix: Michael Fassbender, Girls star Adam Driver and Hugo Weaving [...] 

The latest bit to surface this week is that Abrams and Lucasfilm are now searching for a twentysomething female actress who is either of mixed race or black. The rumor is that Obi-Wan Kenobi had a daughter or granddaughter.

Then in early April, Viral Hide reported the news that Maisie Richardson-Sellers was a leading candidate for the part of the mixed-race character that is RUMORED to be Obi-Wan’s granddaughter:

Speculation is swirling like the mists of Dagobah around newcomer Maisie Richardson-Sellers. Several sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that she is in line to nab an undisclosed and possibly major role in the high-profile Disney/Lucasfilm production, which is in the middle of an extended casting search in London in advance of a May production start date. 

One of the roles yet to be filled is that of a young black or mixed-race woman who may be a descendent of Jedi Knight Ben Kenobi. In the film, which takes place 30 years after the events of 1983′s Star Wars: Episode IV: Return of the Jedi, the character would cross paths with the children of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.


Is this Maisie???

Now with Saturday’s latest (as yet unconfirmed) news that Maisie Richardson-Sellers has joined the cast of Episode VII, is it really possible that she could be playing the granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi?

George Lucas’ Jedi Knights were influenced by the Samurai, noble Japanese warriors who served a higher purpose. Those without masters were called “Ronin,” but they always served honorably above all else. Some could even argue that the Jedi bear a strong historical resemblance to the order of fighting monks, who took vows of poverty, traveled in pairs, and fought with swords who were known as the Knights Templar. Both examples helped shape George’s idea of a Jedi who served a higher purpose, in the case of Star Wars that purpose being the Force. 

What else do we know about the Jedi Order? We know that they search for and recruit younglings who are strong in the Force. We know that the Jedi are guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, that they are trained in the light side of the Force, and that they serve for life. We also know that they are forbidden from having attachments. 


Obi-Wan Kenobi fought Anakin Skywalker because the latter embraced all the opposite teachings of the Jedi Order. In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan, acting as the representative of the order, judged Anakin and (seemingly) destroyed him for his selfish beliefs. Then, as we all know, Obi-Wan takes Luke to Tatooine to hide him and watch over him as the last hope of the Jedi. When we see Obi-Wan in A New Hope he is the quintessential hermit archetype as Uncle Owen tells us, “That wizard’s just a crazy old man.” Obi-Wan eventually tells Luke that Anakin was betrayed and killed by Vader, which is true from the Jedi perspective as Anakin fell to the Dark Side.

This is all important to review because as we fast forward 35 years to Episode VII and IF the rumors are true that Obi-Wan had a granddaughter, then we become spoiled in two significant ways – First, we will have learned a key plot-point. And second, and most importantly, the Original Trilogy becomes spoiled and rendered pointless.

Kenobi having a child illustrates that his beliefs in the Jedi Order were not strong, that he was just as prone to falling to the Dark Side as Anakin and that he was just as likely to form and hold onto attachments. Therefore, this key element [flaw] of Kenobi’s character poses tremendous problems for the filmmakers. Why did Obi-Wan fight Anakin? Why not join his side? IF Obi-Wan knowingly has a child, then why not watch over said child and raise it to become a powerful Jedi to fight alongside Luke? Why not just rebuild the Jedi Order himself? All of these questions, likely without plausible answers, ultimately destroy what has come before.

IF Kenobi unknowingly has a child then he becomes painted as a sort of “deadbeat dad,” running around the galaxy with a girl in every port. This poses all kinds of other problematic questions like, Why didn’t Obi-Wan know he had a child? Are Jedi not taught the birds and the bees? Did he think his partner died like Padme? (Which would be redundant.) Was he trying to protect them for some reason? And if so then why couldn’t he do it? This potential storyline seems to bring too much “reality” into a fantasy designed to remove us from it. Yes, Star Wars, and myth in general, tells stories designed to help us in life, however there are limits, especially where “ret-conning” a character is concerned. And this particular ret-con would destroy Kenobi’s character.

Now some fans may or may not know that in The Clone Wars series Obi-Wan had a semi-romance with a Mandalorian named Duchess Satine Kryze. Satine was killed and as she was dying revealed her feelings for Obi-Wan:

Alas, Obi-Wan and Satine never formally became a couple and they never produce a love-child, which means that Kenobi didn’t have a daughter with the only character we know of that he had romantic feelings for. For Satine to be Kenobi’s “baby mamma” they’d have to do some serious ret-conning, which seems highly unlikely.

However, we know very little of Obi-Wan’s background now that everything outside the movies and TCW series is considered non-canon. For all we know Obi-Wan had five brothers and three sisters left behind on planet Stewjon. Perhaps the Force, strong in his family, produced this rumored Kenobi presumably to be played by Maisie Richardson-Sellers? This is a point that was echoed by the Latino Review, who we all know is a little shaky when it comes to reporting on rumors:

In response to a rumor that Obi-Wan would have some sort of offspring, we’re told that it’s absolutely not true. That being said, the Kenobi family will come into play. Could be niece nephew, no real details on that one. It could be a Force Ghost or a something else, we just know it’s not his daughter or grandkid.

There’s definitely more to Obi-Wan’s story that we don’t know. For instance, we do know that he will be appearing in the new series Rebels, which will fill in some of what he did while he was waiting for Luke to grow up. Disney has already announced that there are 3 spinoff films planned and young Obi-Wan himself, Ewan McGregor, says he’s up for playing the role again, especially in a spinoff.  Perhaps Obi-Wan’s character would be well-served as the feature of his own story, so long as it’s not about him impregnating some poor Tusken girl and then ditching her the next day. I, for one, would be all for it, especially while Ewan is willing and able.

But having a young Solo, almost certainly to be played by Daisy Ridley (and perhaps another actor as the son of Solo), a young Skywalker perhaps in Domnhall Gleeson, perhaps a young Calrissian played by John Boyega, and now a young Kenobi, would do nothing more than shrink the vast galaxy of possibility as we sadly learn that the only good guys in it have to be named either Solo, Skywalker, Calrissian, or Kenobi. Hell, we might as well throw in Chewie’s son “Lumpy” from the Star Wars Holiday Special while we’re at it! 


So does Obi-Wan have a granddaughter? Should he? Will she appear in Episode VII? I don’t think so. At most she will be a distant relative. At least let us hope this is the case. Let us also hope that JJ and co. are waging a massive mis-information campaign against the internets and it’s army of Bothan spies, although his “mystery box” strategy didn’t exactly work for “Kahn” in Star Trek Into Darkness, did it? But that’s Star Trek. JJ has already bolstered security in the wake of AT-AT foot-gate. Thus far JJ, KK et al have made all the right moves, so we have to just keep the faith that they know exactly what they’re doing and that they won’t destroy a beloved character for the sake of a new one. Besides, the last thing in the world they want to do is piss-off the fans. Ultimately, until we see the movie we just have to have faith in JJ, because as he succinctly put it, everything else is just “a lot of noise.”