Lost Legends

Obi-Wan Kenobi's forgotten pirate adventure could reveal a major storytelling detail

One of Star Wars' first comics could reveal an Obi-Wan solo adventure that sounds awfully familiar.

For younger Star Wars fans, Obi-Wan Kenobi has two faces: Ewan McGregor’s and Alec Guinness’. But have you ever wondered how Star Wars imagined Kenobi in his youth before the prequels were released? The answer is surprising, and could contain a key to how his upcoming Disney+ spin-off will be structured.

In March 1979, the oft-overlooked Star Wars comics did something fans had never seen before — they flashed back to a time before the Empire existed. Though it’s set in the time after A New Hope, Star Wars #24 uses Leia recalling a story her father told her to show a young Obi-Wan Kenobi on a solo adventure aboard a pleasure cruiser.

Because there was no reference as to what a young Obi-Wan would look like, these flashbacks depict a dashing young Jedi with a pointed beard, bearing a close resemblance to a young Alec Guinness in Lawrence of Arabia. Though it seems like this would clash with canon, the entire story is being told by Leia, who didn’t know what Obi-Wan looked like then either.

Lost Legends is an Inverse series about the forgotten lore of our favorite stories.

Obi-Wan assesses the pirates outside the cruiser in Star Wars #24.Marvel Comics

The story follows Obi-Wan enjoying his time as a passenger when he’s notified by the pleasure cruiser’s captain that a group of pirates are pursuing the vessel. He investigates the situation and realizes that, despite a vicious criminal being onboard, the pirates were tracking the signal of a fermentation device.

It may not sound like a swashbuckling pirate adventure, but now that Obi-Wan is getting his own spin-off series, it’s possible his first ever solo adventure could make the jump to live-action. In fact, Obi-Wan Kenobi could change Star Wars TV forever with the decision to adapt this story.

There have been two live-action Star Wars shows on Disney+ so far, and each took a different approach to its storytelling structure. First, The Mandalorian followed a bounty hunter on a single adventure each week, with a loose through line involving an adorable bounty we’d come to know as Grogu holding the larger story together. The Book of Boba Fett, on the other hand, followed Boba Fett on one long saga, with each chapter requiring the context of the last.

A young Obi-Wan brandishes his saber in Star Wars #24.Marvel Comics

So which structure will win out, episodic or serialized? If Obi-Wan Kenobi sends its protagonist off on a pirate fighting adventure, then an episodic structure like The Mandalorian’s suddenly becomes the standard, with The Book of Boba Fett being the exception.

In fact, The Mandalorian told a similar story in Season 2, with Mando’s clash with Bo-Katan Kryze while hijacking an Imperial ship bearing a strong resemblance to a pirate tale. By using this trope, Obi-Wan Kenobi could cement the genre-hopping formula as the gold standard for Star Wars TV.

So while our Obi-Wan may not look like the one in this comic, we could see him pay homage to the first of countless Obi-Wan-centric flashbacks, and change Star Wars TV in the process.

Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres May 25 on Disney+.