What if Obi-Wan Kenobi Had Survived Episode IV?
If you hadn’t heard, Peter Mayhew, better known as the actor behind Chewbacca from Star Wars, recently tweeted some photos of old drafts of the script for Star Wars: A New Hope. In those pages we see a version of Episode IV where instead of dying on board the Death Star, Obi-Wan Kenobi survives and escape with the rest of the crew.
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) April 13, 2016
Now obviously that is not how things played out in the final script. Obi-Wan allows himself to be killed by Darth Vader which leads to his becoming a Force Ghost and events take off from there. But what would it be like if Obi-Wan had survived? What if the draft was the final script? How would having a living, breathing Obi-Wan Kenobi change events in the Star Wars universe?
Here’s our version of events:
If Obi-Wan survives the end of Act 2 of A New Hope then that means that he, along with the rest of the gang, arrives at the base on Yavin-4. At this point everyone analyzes the plans for the Death Star that were carried by R2-D2 and forms their strategy for dispatching the battle station.
Obi-Wan, based on his years of experience as a general, contributes to the plan and reluctantly agrees to assist the Rebels by joining the command staff and helping direct the assault. Luke volunteers to join the pilots who are going on the suicidal mission, and Obi-Wan pulls him aside. He asks Luke not to go on this dangerous mission, knowing that Luke has a greater role to play still. Luke insists. He has to help his friends and thwart the Empire that killed his family. Obi-Wan concedes.
Later as Luke flies down the trench, Obi-Wan speaks to Luke through the intercom to his ship. He tells Luke to trust the Force and turn off his targeting computer. The rest of the Rebel leaders look at Obi-Wan incredulously. Believing in his mentor, Luke does so and proceeds to destroy the Death Star.
At the end of the film, we see Obi-Wan standing alongside the other Rebel leaders when Luke and Han are given their medals.
Three years pass between Episode IV and V. During that time Obi-Wan has declined any offers to become a leader among the Rebels. There is a reason Obi-Wan never joined the Rebels during the 20 years since the formation of the Empire. His duty now is to train Luke. To that end Obi-Wan begins training Luke as a Jedi, and as a consequence Luke spends less of his time practicing as a pilot and participating as a member of the Rebels.
By the time Episode V starts Luke, thanks to his bloodline’s gift with the Force, has advanced quickly in his training and is close to the level of a full Jedi Knight. Darth Vader is desperately searching for the Rebels and for Obi-Wan, the only threats to the Empire. After discovering the Rebel base on Hoth and the subsequent battle that leads to the Rebels retreat from the ice planet, Vader leads a team of stormtroopers through the Rebel base to find Obi-Wan and finish what was started on the Death Star.
As the main cast flees the planet, Obi-Wan advises that they split up. Han, Leia, Chewie, and the droids will go one direction and Luke and Obi-Wan will go another. Obi-Wan still believes that keeping the children of Vader separate will help protect them. Obi-Wan takes Luke to swampy Dagobah where he introduces him to Master Yoda. He tells Luke to complete his training under Yoda. When Luke asks him why he can’t continue training with Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan says that he must go and protect Leia now that Luke is safely hidden here.
Luke begins his training under Yoda, Han and Leia eventually make their way to Cloud City, and everything proceeds as it did in the original film save that Obi-Wan is now trying to catch up to Leia’s party. Eventually he is able to detect either Leia’s or Darth Vader’s presence on Cloud City and flies in that direction.
Meanwhile on Dagobah, Luke receives a Force vision. He sees his friends in Cloud City in danger and Obi-Wan battling Darth Vader again. Luke says he must go to help Obi-Wan. Yoda entreats him to stay and says that Obi-Wan will protect his friends. Luke decides to go anyway.
Obi-Wan arrives on Cloud City shortly after Han Solo has been frozen in carbonite. He frees Leia and the others and tells them to escape, he says he must confront Vader and hold him off from pursuing the group. Leia and the rest flee Cloud City much like they do in the movie with the assistance of Lando Calrissian. Meanwhile Obi-Wan and Vader meet in the depths of Cloud City and begin their duel.
Vader: “I will not let you escape again, Kenobi.”
Obi-Wan: “The last time we met, I was searching for any trace of the man I knew. I now there is not. This time, I am prepared to do what I must.”
As the two duel, Obi-Wan’s age becomes apparent. He struggles to hold Vader off, but does manage to inflict some damage to Vader’s ventilation system. As the two fight, they feel Luke arrive in Cloud City. Vader begins to toy with Obi-Wan, letting him live until Luke comes upon them dueling. When Luke is there to witness it, Vader finally strikes down Obi-Wan in an attempt to drive Luke to the Dark Side.
Luke, in a rage similar to the one he displayed at the end of Return of the Jedi, attacks Vader. The two duel to a standstill thanks to Luke’s greater training and the damage Darth Vader received during his fight with Obi-Wan. As the two pause in their duel to recover their strength, Vader says to Luke
“Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.”
Luke stares at the body of Obi-Wan, a man who had become like a father to Luke over the years.
“He told me enough. He told me you killed him,” Luke says in a pained voice, thinking of both his real father and Obi-wan.
“No Luke, I am your father.”
Luke is shaken by this and while his guard is down Vader strikes. Luke’s hand is cut off during the exchange.
The rest of the series proceeds as it did in the films.
Unfortunately, even if Obi-Wan survived the battle with Vader in A New Hope eventually his former Padawan would fell him. And yet by surviving he would gain so much time. Time in which to train Luke, to live, to love, and to become the father that Luke felt he never had. It isn’t exactly a happy ending, but we all know that The Empire Strikes Back was always the darkest of the Star Wars films. In Episode VI everything come to fruition. Obi-Wan returns as a Force Ghost to explain his deception to Luke in not revealing Vader’s identity. Luke, despite all the evil Vader has done, is still the only one to believe there is good inside of him and is ultimately proven right. The Empire is defeated, and a new age of peace begins.
Do you disagree? Do you think things would go differently if Obi-Wan had survived? Have any other alternate Star War plots to share? Let us know in the comments.