Obi-Wan Kenobi Highlights Star Wars' Underrated Parents – Collider

Finally, some good parents in ‘Star Wars.’
Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Season 1 of Obi-Wan KenobiStar Wars has always been a cautionary tale for parents. As a franchise that shows how bad parenting can lead to generational trauma, Star Wars is chockfull of examples of bad parents. Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) was a horrible father even before his children were born — he Force-choked the mother of his children, a then-pregnant Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman). When Anakin turned to the Dark Side, Darth Vader was no better. After years of neglecting them, he spent years trying to turn his son Luke (Mark Hamill) to the Dark Side, and when that didn’t work he tried to kill him along with his sister Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). Yet, even the next generation made similar mistakes. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Leia missed the signs and their son Ben turn to the Dark Side, becoming Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). There’s even the messy backstory to Rey Skywalker (Palpatine?) (Daisy Ridley) and her parents. The saga has been an endless cycle of parenting failure after another. But with Obi-Wan Kenobi, we finally get parents with good family values. As the adoptive parents of Luke and Leia respectively, the Lars and Organas demonstrate how they want what's best for their children and claim them as their own. Though they meet an abrupt end in A New Hope, Kenobi helps carry their storylines since Revenge of the Sith and show just how much they meant to Luke and Leia.
In A New Hope, Owen (Phil Brown) and Beru Lars (Shelagh Fraser) keep Luke in a sheltered upbringing on their moisture farm. But Luke is very much an angsty teenager, as he has dreams of joining the Academy as a cadet where most of his other friends have already gone. “Luke’s just not a farmer, Owen,” Beru says, “He has too much of his father in him.” Owen, knowing full well how Anakin Skywalker turned out, says, “That’s what I’m afraid of.” In Obi-Wan Kenobi, we get more of why the Lars are so protective of Luke and his future. Despite keeping his distance, Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) can’t help but prepare a young Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely) for his future destiny. He tries to give Luke a toy spacecraft, hinting at his father’s history as “the best star pilot in the galaxy.” But Owen (Joel Edgerton) prevents Obi-Wan from doing so, refusing to let Obi-Wan train him. “When the time comes he must be trained,” Obi-Wan insists. Owen, with one of the best comebacks in Star Wars history, says, “Like you trained his father?” But Owen isn’t just prepared to protect Luke from Obi-Wan and his Jedi ploys.
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When Reva (Moses Ingram), the Third Sister among the Inquisitors hunting down Jedi for the Empire, comes to Tatooine, Owen bravely stands up to her. “My family’s of no concern to you,” he says while Reva threatens him with a lightsaber. Owen barely flinches, holding his ground. His resolute position mimics his own resolute determination to protect his wife Beru and adopted son Luke. Later, when Reva does eventually find out about Luke and makes it into the Lars homestead, Owen declares, “He is my own.” Together, with a surprising turn from Beru (Bonnie Piesse) who is willing to fight Reva within their home, they make a last stand and are willing to lay down their lives for Luke. Even though he isn’t of their own, Owen and Beru are willing to risk everything for the boy. Kenobi helps flesh out the Lars’ relationship to Luke as parents, which makes their abrupt deaths in A New Hope at the hands of Stormtroopers all the more tragic. Luke finds their home, which Owen and Beru have worked so hard to protect, burned down.
The Organas, like the Lars, demonstrate their wholehearted love and affection for Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair), despite the fact that they aren’t her birth parents. In A New Hope, we don’t even see a glimpse of them before Alderaan is obliterated by the Death Star. So, when some of the first few scenes of Kenobi introduced us to a lively and thriving Alderaan, it was a refreshing surprise. We also got a glimpse into Alderaan’s first family, the Organas. But while Breha (Simone Kessell) and Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) have fully accepted Leia, the other Organas haven’t. “You’re not even a real Organa,” her cousin says. But Bail doesn’t falter when he tries to console Leia: “You are our child. You are an Organa in every way.” When Leia is kidnapped by some bounty hunters hired by Reva, it’s no surprise that Bail and Breha would go to the strongest Jedi they know. When they plead with Obi-Wan, they make sure to point out that, “She’s as important as he is.” This, when looking towards the future and beyond, is absolutely true — Leia is instrumental in defeating the Empire and the Dark Side, and even more instrumental in saving Ben Solo from his Kylo Ren alter-ego. Even if they don’t recognize her pivotal role in the future, the Organas cherish Leia like their own.
More importantly, the Organas are instrumental in imparting the quality of leadership and responsibility upon young Leia. When Breha finds Leia up in a tree, she says, “If you behaved as well as you climb, you’d be a senator already.” Bail, too, notes Leia’s future as a senator: “One day, this planet will look to you, Leia. There are many ways to lead. You just have to find yours.” One can argue that Leia would not have been such a successful leader of the Rebellion and, later, the Resistance without her adopted parents. She inherited the title of Princess, but it's the qualities of leadership, inspiration, and responsibility that Leia would inherit from the Organas and which would eventually help turn the tide towards the Light side.
Obi-Wan Kenobi had so many expectations to live up to, especially with the return of Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen in their beloved roles from the prequels. Yet, the series’ unexpected gift was in fleshing out the story behind the Lars and Organas. Their brief live-action appearances between the prequels and A New Hope left much to explore. Kenobi delivered on their stories, displaying how they are actually some of the best parents that Star Wars has ever offered. Blood isn’t always thicker than water, as the theme of found family explores. One can find family in friendship, just as Han, Luke, and Leia found in the original trilogy or Rey, Finn (John Boyega), and Poe (Oscar Isaac) discovered in the sequel trilogy. But Owen and Beru Lars and Bail and Breha Oragana give another example of family as adopted parents, ones who love and protect their adopted children as their own.
Patrick Caoile is a freelance writer for Collider. While he calls New Jersey his home, he is now pursuing a Ph.D. in English–Creative Writing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. When he’s not at a theater or investing hours in a streaming service, he writes short fiction.
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