The final episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi was released on Disney+ today, Wednesday. For episode 6, the creators have not just one, but two big “Star Wars’ stars saved, each of whom can be seen for a short scene. Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) and Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) appear in the finale of the Disney Plus series. We explain to you why both performances are more than just the satisfaction of fan wishes.
Both the Sith Emperor and Obi-Wan’s master serve important roles—less for the series than for the saga as a whole.
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This is how the meeting goes: After losing his battle against Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor), Darth Vader is locked away in his fortress on the planet Mustafar, where he must justify himself to the hologram-connected Emperor, also known as Darth Sidious. Vader promises that he will continue his efforts to hunt down Kenobi and will not rest until the Jedi is dead. But his Sith master doesn’t want to hear that at all.
Palpatine expresses concern that Vader has let his feelings for Obi-Wan weaken him. He is aware that another encounter between the two could bring out the good side in Anakin again. “If you can’t get over your past…”, Sidious doesn’t even need to utter the thought, because Vader understands the message and answers: “Kenobi means nothing to me”.
That’s why this scene is so important: Nine years separate the events of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and “Episode 4: A New Hope”. To the best of our knowledge, there hasn’t been another encounter between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader in all that time. This seems illogical at first, since Vader now knows that Kenobi is still alive and he is highly motivated in the series to destroy him.
But Palpatine’s appearance explains the truce in a coherent way: Darth Vader stays away from Obi-Wan to prove his loyalty to Palpatine. In order to truly let go of his former identity as Anakin and fully embrace the dark side, he must put Kenobi out of his mind.
This is how the meeting goes: It is the very last scene of the series: Obi-Wan rides an Eopie through the Tatooine desert. He has decided to leave his cave and is now probably planning to live in a house like he does in “Episode 4”. The power spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn, who we know from “Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace” as Obi-Wan’s Jedi Master, suddenly appears. The encounter is unspectacular.
“Finally, it’s been long enough,” Qui-Gon mutters at his former padawan. He then explains to Obi-Wan that he was always by his side, that his student just wasn’t ready to see him (probably because Obi-Wan had shut himself off from the Force). The two set off together and the power spirit disappears again.
That’s why this scene is so important: We’ve known since the original trilogy that Obi-Wan has the ability to become a Force Ghost, and that he probably already knew this when he vanished into thin air and became one with the Force in “Episode 4” just before Vader’s deathblow became.
In “The Clone Wars” it was then shown that Qui-Gon Jinn also gained this power and even then contacted Obi-Wan (and Yoda). But those “Star Wars’ fans who don’t watch the animated series (and there are a lot of them) didn’t hear about it. The appearance of the deceased Jedi Master in “Obi-Wan Kenobi” is therefore important for the first time to also give the broad “Star Wars’ – to make it clear to the audience that Kenobi gained the Force Ghost ability from Qui-Gonn.
Additionally, the moment shows us that Obi-Wan’s connection to the Force is fully intact again. However, it wouldn’t have needed a Qui-Gon Jinn for that. Because that has already been made clear elsewhere in the Disney+ series.
So the two cameos are primarily there to better and more understand “Obi-Wan Kenobi” into the rest of “Star Wars’ to add continuity.
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