George Lucas loved putting a good family twist into his ‘Star Wars’ stories. Like, obviously, Darth Vader being Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father. Or Leia being Luke’s twin sister. However, one twist that never actually made it into Star Wars canon was Obi-Wan Kenobi having a brother. So, how come Kenobi ‘almost’ had a brother, and who was it supposed to be?
Does Obi-Wan Kenobi have a brother in Star Wars canon?
In ‘Star Wars’ movies – both the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy – Obi-Wan Kenobi had no brother nor family, except for his big Jedi family in the Tempe on Coruscant. There was this idea to make an even deeper connection between Anakin and Obi-Wan through a ‘family twist’ in ‘Return of the Jedi’ – but the idea never became canon. We’ll talk about it a bit more in the next subheading.
However, the recently released Disney+ series, ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ actually provided a tidbit of information that could suggest that Obi-Wan did, in fact, have a long-lost brother. I’m saying ‘could suggest’ because it was never confirmed – it was perhaps included in dialogue simply as an Easter egg to avid fans who know the would-be story of Obi-Wan’s brother from ‘RotJ.’
In Episode 3, Obi-Wan Kenobi speaks to Princess Leia, who was just a little girl at the time. She asks him about his family, to which he reveals that he has no family other than the members of the Jedi Order. He did, however, reveal that he still has glimpses of memories of his old family back on the planet of Stewjon, from which he was taken to be trained and become a Jedi. He says:
“I still have glimpses. Flashes, really. My mother’s shawl. My father’s hands. I remember a baby. Yes, I think I had a brother. Really don’t remember him.”
So, the baby may or may not have been Ben Kenobi’s brother. Perhaps the memory is only a dream or a Force vision of the future? There’s no official confirmation, so I believe that the writers chose to include that as an Easter egg because Obi-Wan ‘almost’ had a brother in the movies. But how and who?
How did Obi-Wan Kenobi ‘almost’ have a brother in Star Wars?
The movies – or any other piece of ‘Star Wars’ canon other than the ‘Easter egg’ line in ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ – never suggested that Obi-Wan had a brother. However, early scripts of ‘Episode VI: Return of the Jedi’ included a line revealing that Owen Lars was Ben Kenobi’s long-lost brother.
It would be an insane twist of fate – for both Kenobi brothers, who were born on Stewjon, to find their way to Tatooine, where both were heavily involved in the life and care of Anakin and, subsequently, Luke Skywalker. It never got into the film, which was its end. Only it wasn’t.
In the movie’s novelization, written by James Kahn (now a part of Star Wars Legends, like all other novelizations), the line about Owen Lars being Obi-Wan Kenobi’s brother remained. The line came in a conversation between Obi-Wan and Luke, where Kenobi said:
“Your mother and I knew he would find out eventually, but we wanted to keep you both as safe as possible for as long as possible. So I took you to live with my brother Owen on Tatooine…”
George Lucas decided to ‘scratch’ that idea completely and tidy things up with ‘Episode II: Attack of the Clones,’ where it was established that Cliegg Lars – Owen’s father – saved Shmi Skywalker from slavery and married her. The Lars family always lived on Tatooine – not Stewjon – and Owen thus became Anakin Skywalker’s stepbrother.
That was the end of the Obi-Wan Kenobi/Owen Lars brotherhood talk in Star Wars canon. In Legends, however, the story is a bit different…
Does Obi-Wan have a brother in Legends?
So, the only ‘evidence’ we have of Ben Kenobi having a brother in the canon is his recollection from ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ about the baby he maybe remembers that may be his brother. In Legends, we have a ton to go through to establish who his brother really is and if he even is Kenobi’s real brother.
The first piece of the puzzle we already mentioned – is the novelization of ‘Return of the Jedi.’ Then, in 1995, a Premiere Limited set of the ‘Star Wars Customizable Card Game’ explicitly referred to Owen Lars as the ‘brother of Obi-Wan Kenobi.’ That’s not all, though.
In the 1999 novel titled ‘Jedi Apprentice: The Hidden Past,’ Obi-Wan Kenobi has a dream in which he sees his ‘brother Owen.’ He believed that it might’ve been an old memory where he, as a kid, returned to Stewjon and saw his family. His master, Qui-Gon Jinn, explained to Kenobi that dreams could be memories of the past or visions of the future.
Upon learning about Owen Lars, Anakin Skywalker’s stepbrother, Kenobi started doubting his dream and its legitimacy. It wasn’t until a 2015 short story by Abel G Peña titled ‘Lone Wold: A Tale of Obi-Wan and Luke’ that we – and Ben – learned the truth behind his dreams and visions.
In the story, he finally meets Owen Lars in person and realizes he was the man from his dream with whom he felt a brotherly connection. As it turned out, Qui-Gon Jinn was right: the dream wasn’t a memory of the past but a vision of his future, meeting Owen Lars.
You see, Obi-Wan always thought of Anakin as his brother. That’s why he felt that brotherly connection when dreaming about ‘his brother Owen’ – Lars was Anakin’s stepbrother, and Kenobi thought of Anakin as his brother; therefore, Owen was, in a way, his brother as well. Not biologically but rather emotionally.
In the end, Obi-Wan Kenobi didn’t have a brother named Owen in either Star Wars canon or Legends – the idea was completely scratched in the movies and explained away over the years in Legends.
Who knows? Perhaps the baby Obi-Wan mentioned in ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ reappears sometime in the future and reveals that he did, in fact, have a brother. Until that happens, though, it’s heartbreakingly safe to assume that Anakin was the closest thing to a brother Ben Kenobi ever had.
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