The Obi-Wan Kenobi series’ star-studded cast has been announced, with Hayden Christensen, Indira Varma, and Kumail Nanjiani joining headliner Ewan McGregor in the Star Wars show. It's an impressive collection of faces, but I can't help thinking that some of these actors could easily step into the shoes of a few popular characters from the animated Star Wars show, The Clone Wars.
With McGregor and Christensen returning, the new series can give us a properly fleshed-out, live action version of the complicated Master/Padawan relationship – the relationship that serves as the catalyst for the entire Star Wars franchise. While it's been confirmed that the Kenobi series will take place ten years after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, the framework for the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker is laid out during the prequel trilogy era, and it would do well to return to that time period through flashbacks.
Heading back to the Clone Wars would also give us a chance to see some iconic animated characters translated to live-action, similar to how The Mandalorian brought Ahsoka Tano back to the small screen. Moses Ingram, who was recently confirmed to be a part of the Obi-Wan Kenobi cast, posted on Instagram that she "plays with lightsabers", which points to the possibility of her playing a young Ahsoka – or maybe even another character (more on that later). The casting of Game of Thrones' Indira Varma in an unknown role also lends itself to a Clone Wars comparison: could she be playing Asajj Ventress, the Jedi Padawan turned Sith apprentice who frequently butts heads with both Obi-Wan and Anakin?
You were my brother, Anakin
Many Star Wars fans rightfully argue that the rise and fall of Anakin and Obi-Wan's relationship feels stunted in the prequel movies, belittling what should have been a powerful and painful reunion in Star Wars: A New Hope. However, the animated Clone Wars series does a beautiful job setting up the dissolution of Anakin and Obi-Wan's friendship. There are well over a hundred episodes that feature the two playfully butting heads, disagreeing on how to approach fights, saving each other's asses, and poking fun at their respective love interests (yes, Obi-Wan has a love interest). They feel like siblings, making Obi-Wan's final words to Anakin in Revenge of the Sith sting all the more: "You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you."
And there are multiple moments where Anakin and Obi-Wan wrestle with both their understanding of the Force and the Jedi Order, painting Anakin's betrayal with a much more vivid brush. Anakin has spent a decade under Obi-Wan's tutelage, and the slow erosion of his character and ultimate turn to the Dark Side is drawn out over those years. It doesn't just happen after Anakin hears the story of Darth Plagueis, but after myriad events throw Anakin's loyalties and beliefs into question. Obi-Wan’ nearly always by his side, and in certain instances, makes decisions that further alienate Anakin from both himself and the Jedi Order.
An example: in The Clone Wars season 4 episode 15, titled “Deception”, Obi-Wan fakes his own death at the behest of the Jedi Order and goes undercover to try and learn more about a Separatist plot to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine. Not only is Anakin completely unaware of this ploy, but Obi-Wan "dies" while the two are chasing down a sniper.
The effect this has on him is apparent during Obi-Wan’s funeral – Vader's theme plays briefly as the camera pans to Anakin's face, showing us that this is yet another fracture in his broken psyche. "I'm worried about him," Ahsoka says to another Jedi. "He hasn't said a word since it happened." When Anakin learns that Obi-Wan is alive, he laments the Council's distrust of him as he's certain he would have been able to help the mission. Yet, Obi-Wan confirms it was his idea to keep the truth from his Padawan, leaving a permanent fissure in their relationship.
The Clone Wars puts a magnifying glass to the Jedi's failures leading up to Order 66 – failures that Obi-Wan contributes to and supports, often blindly. One of the Jedi's most egregious mistakes involves Anakin's Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, which arguably pushes Anakin over the precipice into his dark descent.
There are a few Clone Wars characters who are integral to the building up and breaking down of Obi-Wan and Anakin's relationship. Ahsoka Tano has already made an appearance in live-action, as portrayed by Rosario Dawson in The Mandalorian season 2. Both Ahsoka's reaction to the young, Force sensitive Grogu, and her refusal to train him, are directly related to her experience with the Jedi Order and her relationship with Anakin.
In The Clone Wars, Ahsoka is the Padawan assigned to Anakin and tags along on missions with him and Obi-Wan. Nicknamed Snips because of her frequent retorts, Ahsoka is full of confidence, bluster, and moxie – a lot like her Master. Her youth and exuberance help Anakin mature, with Ahsoka's presence holding a mirror to his face, crystallizing his identity. She's a crucial part of his journey and of his life.
But when she is wrongfully accused of murder and facing a trial, Obi-Wan tries to advocate for Ahsoka and fails, as he doesn't press the issue beyond a single remark. She is cast out of the Jedi Order and stripped of her Padawan braid, before standing trial in the Republic Courts. The only reason Ahsoka is acquitted of the charges and proven innocent is because of Anakin, who conducts his own investigation and finds her innocent. Ahsoka is invited to rejoin the Jedi, but refuses and leaves to follow her own path. Her departure further fractures Anakin's relationship with the Jedi, the Council, and his Master.
It’s clear to see just how integral to both Jedi's journeys Ahsoka is – there’s a reason, after all, that she has already been brought into a live-action Star Wars series, and her voice calls out to Ray in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. She therefore rightfully belongs in the Obi-Wan series. However, any version of Ahsoka in the show would have to be a much younger version than the one played by Rosario Dawson in The Mandalorian. Perhaps, then, this is who Moses Ingram is playing. Notice how that photo caption, mentioned above, reads: "I play with lightsabers." That plural lightsabers – and Ahsoka famously dual wields sabers. But a young Ahsoka Tano isn't the only Clone Wars character who can (and should) appear in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
Ventress and Barris
Asajj Ventress is a Dathomirian female who has quite the track record: at various points throughout her life she was a slave, a Jedi Padawan, a Sith apprentice, and a bounty hunter. She represents the Force's grey area, much like Anakin does, and her journey is almost identical to his – except she gets a chance to leave the Sith and live another life.
Ventress frequently crosses sabers with Anakin and Obi-Wan throughout the Clone Wars, and acts as a hilarious foil to the latter's stoicism. Ventress loves to flirt with her enemies, especially mid-fight, so having her appear in the live-action series would give Ewan McGregor a chance to bounce off of some unbridled horniness. That's where Indira Varma comes into play. As you can see above, not only does Varma have the right look for Ventress, but thanks to her turn as the leader of the Sand Snakes on Game of Thrones, we know she has the charisma to do the Dathomirian justice. There is, though, one catch: Ventress is dead in Star Wars canon. Again, a flashback episode to the Clone Wars era would serve as a perfect place to include her. Plus, you would get to see Christensen out of the Darth Vader suit – there’s no way they can bring him back, just to have his face covered up the entire time… right?
just hear me out #Kenobi pic.twitter.com/SO7KXYvcAQMarch 29, 2021
Then there's Barriss Offee, Padawan under Jedi Master Luminara Unduli. You know that murder trial Ahsoka was wrongfully the defendant in? Yeah, that was all Barriss' fault, as she grew disillusioned with the Jedi's role in the Clone Wars and bombed the Jedi Temple to further sow discord amongst the group. Barriss is why Ahsoka leaves Anakin, and she'd be a fantastic character to insert into the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, not only for her role in Anakin's demise, but for her stance on the Clone Wars. She is yet another character who can deftly explain how the Jedi lost their grip on reality and on the Galactic Republic. And if Ingram isn't playing young Ahsoka, she could easily step into Barriss' shoes.
There's a reason why Star Wars: The Clone Wars is so beloved – and it's not just because it’s a deep dive into the politics and ethics of the Clone Wars. The series gives us a beautifully fleshed out dynamic between Anakin and Obi-Wan, one that makes Anakin's fate – and Obi-Wan's eventual death – hurt all the more. Bringing back characters integral to the relationship between the two former Jedi could help elevate both the new series and further enrich the Clone Wars saga. And Ahsoka showing up would make a helluva cameo...