BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SURPEME
FB@The Comic Blog
The latest episode of Kenobi has the fandom energized about Darth Vader, but there’s another Darth you should have your eye on.
Fans are divided over Disney+’s newest Star Wars series. Despite the teasers and trailers hinting that Obi-Wan would be spending his time on Tatooine silently guarding over Luke Skywalker, the show quickly took a right hand turn. The story has shifted its attention to a 10-year-old Leia Organa and her relationship with the Jedi master.
While many fans are criticizing the spotlight being put on a young Leia, it does make sense, at least for the plot of Kenobi. If Obi-Wan were on a rescue mission to save a kidnapped Luke, it would make far less sense than Obi-Wan and Leia having a deeper history than we were aware of.
True, the pieces don’t add up when looking at the entirety of the Star Wars puzzle. In 1977’s A New Hope, neither character appeared familiar with one another. Yes, Leia recorded a distress call meant for Obi-Wan, but when they finally met on screen, there was no indication they had ever encountered one another. For all intents and purposes, they were strangers; we can assume Leia knew of Obi-Wan’s Clone Wars heroics, but she didn’t know the man. At least, there was no indication they had previously met. Seeing the two forming a strong almost father-daughter bond as they traverse the galaxy and avoid the Empire doesn’t add up.
Of course, such has been the case with Star Wars since the Prequels. Beginning in 1999, George Lucas tossed aside continuity from the original trilogy. By the time Revenge of the Sith rolled into theaters, fans were left with more questions than answers. The same can be said for the sequel trilogy, which also dismissed many continuity errors on its way to infamy. It would seem that ignoring the original story is tradition at this point.
THE SAGA OF BABY LEIA
Putting continuity and Star Wars mythos aside, one of the biggest complaints about the show has been Baby Leia. She is clearly meant to further the plot by making ill-advised decisions left and right. Even at 10 years old, she comes off as arrogant and rude. My biggest concern is the dialogue. On one hand, I can see that the screenwriters are trying to give her lines that echo Carrie Fisher’s voice. The problem is that they are writing for an adult rather than a child, making it sound as if the writers have never met a 10 year old in their lives.
In the end, the first two-and-a-half episodes of Kenobi would fit perfectly into The Bad Batch. Many of those entries were geared around the rogue clones chasing Omega around one planet or another while she tried to earn their approval as a teammate rather than a damsel in distress. Kenobi is looking awfully close to that, at least so far. Going forward, the best thing for the show would be to explore Obi-Wan’s character and send Baby Leia back to Alderaan.
WHEN IN DOUBT…
I will admit that I was less than impressed with Kenobi after those initial episodes. Like most of Disney’s corporate adventures, it seemed aimed at the Disney XD crowd as a live-action cartoon. Then came Darth Vader midway through the third episode, and my interest was piqued.
While it’s easy to complain about Baby Leia, the showrunners handled Darth Vader very well. This version of the Sith Lord is angry and vengeful. We see his powers on full display, though I was surprised at how easily he subdues Obi-Wan. Hopefully there will be an in-story explanation as to why the legendary Kenobi was such a pushover at this point in the show.
No doubt, fans are going to want more Vader going forward, and I am all for that. Yet, there is another Sith Lord roaming about the Star Wars universe during the Kenobi timeframe: Darth Maul.
The last time we saw Maul, Obi-Wan struck him down in the Tatooine sands during Star Wars: Rebels. However, this was much later than when Kenobi takes place, and Rebels is official Star Wars canon. That means that we could very well see Maul on the hunt for Obi-Wan before this season is over. My guess is that he will be teased at some point since Season One appears to focus more on the Kenobi-Anakin feud. The real treat would be a Darth Vader/Darth Maul lightsaber duel, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up just yet.
On that note, let’s take a look at those hot villain keys that could use a second look before Obi-Wan wraps his first season.
STAR WARS: EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE #1
Love him or hate him, there’s one thing George Lucas is good at, and that is creating cool villains. Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Emperor Palpatine, and Maul stole the shows in their respective movies. He does have a tendency to throw away the best characters far too haphazardly, but thanks to the many spinoffs, Boba Fett and Maul are back from the dead.
When it comes to comics, Maul was first seen in the Phantom Menace adaptation. You can find preview sketches of him in The Phantom Menace #½, but he didn’t make his actual in-story debut until the first comic. An argument can be made for the trade paperback, which was released in its entirety on the same day as the single issue.
In April, the graded 9.8 hit a record high of $370. That is a tad suspicious, considering it had never sold above $150 before then, and that price was achieved in January. We will have to wait and see if $370 is the new trend or an outlier.
STAR WARS TALES #9
Again, I think it is a longshot for Kenobi to give us a Vader/Maul fight, but a man can dream. I think all Star Wars fans have fantasized about an epic live-action battle between the two best villains in the entire franchise. That would be a major moment for Star Wars if the two did square off on the screen. While that may not be a likely scenario, we could see them interact at some point. In either case, it will instantly add value to Star Wars Tales #9 in which we first see the two most famous Darths clash, at least in a comic.
There hasn’t been a graded 9.8 to sell online since last October when one brought $330. There’s also a photo variant on the market, and that one sold for $130 in February.
DARTH VADER #5
This is not a major key issue by any means, but it could come into play with Kenobi. We know that Hayden Christensen is part of the show, and the indication is that we will see more of him sans helmet. That could mean there will be flashbacks that delve further into the Vader mythos, specifically how he came to possess a red lightsaber. Whether or not the show would use Darth Vader #5 as source material is debatable, it would have collectors on the hunt for his particular issue.
Like Phantom Menace #1, this issue took a massive leap in fair market value in April. Last year, only one 9.8 sold for a then-record $65. January saw it reach $105 before April 9’s $136.
STAR WARS ADVENTURES: TALES FROM VADER’S CASTLE #1
Kenobi’s third episode marks the second time viewers caught a glimpse of Vader’s volcanic castle. In modern Star Wars lore, the Sith Lord’s home has come to represent the lore and legend of the character himself. Seeing it in the latest Kenobi entry may hint that we get more scenes from the castle. Even better, the show could explore its origins, which comics fans may recognize from Tales From Vader’s Castle #1. The great part is that you can have a raw copy for around $5.
DARTH VADER #6
Another Darth Vader issue you’ll want to watch is DV #6. This comic marked the first full appearance of the Grand Inquisitor, Vader’s Jedi-hunting henchmen. Although Reva, the Third Sister, killed him in the second episode, the title lives on. In fact, the driving motivation behind Reva’s actions appear to be moving up the Inquisitor ranks, though I suspect we’ll get a tragic former-Jedi backstory for good measure.
The problem for collectors is finding her first comic appearance. The thing is, there is not one. She was created specifically for Kenobi. There was a Second Sister, who was featured in both the Fallen Order video game and the comics. It looks like Reva will eventually be named Grand Inquisitor, and that is why the first appearance of the Grand Inquisitor could still be of interest despite his untimely death.
It’s no surprise that prices have begun to fall. The 9.8 sold for as much as $700 earlier this year, and it was consistently earning in the $500-$600 range throughout the spring. These days, the FMV has dropped below $300 as of May 30.
HELP US, DARTH VADER. YOU’RE THE SHOW’S ONLY HOPE
I think it should be a Star Wars rule from this point forward: when in doubt about your show’s plot, bring in a Sith Lord. Even better, add some Darth Vader to the mix. Hopefully the series will continue to build on the Obi-Wan/Vader rivalry and Kenobi’s guilt over his failings as Anakin’s teacher. That would raise the dramatic stakes and make this a must-watch show for Star Wars fans of any era.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.