As always, dear readers, welcome.
When Tolkien was in the midst of the composition of The Lord of the Rings,
he began to have second thoughts about Gollum.
(an Alan Lee)
He revised the chapter in The Hobbit entitled “Riddles in the Dark” and sent the new version to his publisher, whereupon it seemed to disappear for years—and then turned up in the proofs for the 1951 edition of the book.
This was a very different Gollum from the 1937 cringing, apologetic character of the earlier text, setting up the Gollum so entangled with the Ring, even to its—and his–destruction in the later work.
(a Ted Nasmith)
I’ve just finished watching the new Star Wars series, Obi-Wan Kenobi
and I found myself thinking about questions both of tinkering with something already available and how one might fit it into something more.
For Tolkien, this would have been relatively easy (and, remembering all of the drafts behind everything JRRT wrote, let me stress that word relatively): the point wasn’t to remove or replace Gollum, but rather to bring him into line with the later vengeful, but tormented, character Tolkien now imagined.
As Star Wars followers, we’ve been watching Obi-Wan for a long time and, in a rather curious way, as, if we follow the film series as it originally appeared, we see his end before his beginning. When the original series began, he was already an older man,
mysteriously secluded on a bleak planet at the very edge of a galaxy.
(To find Tattoine, locate Corellia, then head due south till you come to the bottom of the map—and you can see why Luke says of his home world, “Well, if there’s a bright center to the universe…you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from.”)
We will then see him meet his end at the hands of his one-time padawan, Anakin Skywalker, now become the fearsome Darth Vader.
In Star Wars I, we’re then sent back in time to when Obi-Wan himself is the padawan to his master, Qui-Gon Jinn.
In Star Wars II, Obi-Wan has his own padawan, Anakin Skywalker,
and we then see him as a grownup fighting in two animated series about the Clone Wars, often accompanied by the character who will become his ex-padawan, Anakin,
with his own padawan, Ahsoka Tano (one of my favorite characters in all of the various series).
In Star Wars III, we see Anakin as a kind of post-graduate, but then gradually lured into the Dark Side of the Force by “Chancellor Palpatine”,
who is, in reality, the center of the disturbance in the Force, Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith.
While the Clone Wars seem to be playing themselves out with success for the Republic, Chancellor Palpatine has been revealed as Darth Sidious and the complexity of his plot to overthrow the government and make himself emperor has him initiate Order 66, which entails the destruction of the Jedi, even down to the youngest—this part of the plan being carried out by the now-corrupt Anakin.
By the film’s end, Anakin Skywalker, defeated in a duel with Obi-Wan,
and badly mutilated, will reappear as the helmeted Darth Vader, the follower of Darth Sidious.
In the meantime, Anakin’s secret wife, Padme Amidala,
dies after giving birth to twins, who, to be protected from the now-monstrous Vader, are separated, the daughter, Leia, given to a sympathetic senator, Bail Organa,
the son, Luke, taken by Obi-War to Tattoine, to the home of Anakin’s mother’s husband, Clegg Lars, where he’ll be raised by Clegg’s son, Owen, and his wife, Beru.
Before I go on, I admit that my knowledge, such as it is, is derived entirely from the films and the animated features. I’m aware of the mass of other material, in the form of novels, comic books, and graphic novels, but, as I began with the films, I’ve preferred to stay there. If you, being more knowledgeable than I (likely), read this and shake your head, please forgive me—and read on.
When I first heard about this new series, I was immediately intrigued: what would it be about? My first hope was that it would be set on Mandalore
(look just above and to the right of “Inner Rim” to find Mandalore)
and be about something I only know as a rumor: the romance between the Duchess Satine
and Obi-Wan that almost made him quit the Jedi order.
Or perhaps it could be about Obi-Wan’s beginnings—who is he? From where? How did he become Qui-Gon’s padawan? Did they have earlier adventures before they are nearly killed by the Trade Federation off Naboo?
(And this event always brings back Weird Al Yankovic’s song, “The Saga Begins” with these lines: “A long, long time ago/In a galaxy far away/Naboo was under an attack/And I thought me and Qui-Gon Jinn/Could talk the Federation into/Maybe cutting them a little slack/But their response, it didn’t thrill us/They locked the doors and tried to kill us…” To see/hear this, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEcjgJSqSRU )
And then there was that preview, which clearly suggested that what we would see would be set in that 20 year gap between Star Wars III and Star Wars IV and that preview, like all good previews, had an energy and menace which made me ready for that possibility. (Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yh_6_zItPU )
I very much looked forward, then, to what we were about to see. And I hope that you’ll be looking forward to what I write in Part 2.
Thanks , as always, for reading,
Don’t attempt to contact Qui-Gon at the moment,
And remember that, as ever, there’s