HomeMovies'Obi-Wan Kenobi,' 'Star Wars' and the Essential Nature of Failure

‘Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ ‘Star Wars’ and the Essential Nature of Failure

Photo Credit: Disney +/ Lucasfilm

Failure feels like a dirty word to type, yet we can’t have success without it. We will all inevitably feel it before we reach the top of every mountain. Failure can be a crushing blow and the best teacher you’ll ever have. The Star Wars universe has been dealing with this very concept with classic characters as of late. Think about what we know about the Jedi order — a Jedi is not supposed to be overpowered by emotions like love or anxiety. Instead, the stoic nature of the practice is supposed to carry you through a lifetime.

But in the cases of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), shortcomings with prophecies and teaching can drive you into exile, wondering if that same code failed you. Perhaps it’s folly to think routine will be a false security blanket to insulate you from loss. Obi-Wan and Luke lose their padawans to the Dark Side, which completely shatters their respective words. They have a crisis of faith, closing themselves off from the world that still needs heroism. In Obi-Wan Kenobi, he watches over a young Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely) and rescues young Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair) while heavily mourning what happened to Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones). With The Last Jedi, Rey (Daisy Ridley) finds a grizzled Luke Skywalker terrified to teach her the ways of the force because of what happened with Ben Kenobi/Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

In The Last Jedi, Yoda (Frank Oz) provides Luke with the most critical lesson yet — a lesson that reverberates throughout the Star Wars saga. Pass on all of your history — the triumphs, the laughter, and the failure. This also means you should not be ashamed to wallow in it for a while. (Obi-Wan stayed in a cave and worked at a meat packing plant on Tatooine for 10 years!) There’s nothing that a sacred Jedi text can teach you about getting through it. Sometimes, the only way is to walk down the scary, foggy road of faith.

An essential part of battling back from failure is confronting the one thing you are most afraid of. Obi-Wan battles Darth Vader at points throughout the limited series until he sees that his “friend” is no longer there. Luke gathers the courage to stand up to Kylo Ren to help Rey further in her training (and ultimately sacrifice himself). Obi-Wan does the same thing within A New Hope, but this is only when he makes peace with his past.

The closure these men feel fuels the new generation of Jedi to thrive, ultimately providing their antagonists some reprieve. In Anakin’s dying moments in Return of the Jedi, he looks at Luke and tells him, “You were right.” Ben also has a somewhat redemptive moment at the tail end of Rise of Skywalker. Failure (or learning not to fear it) is the gift that keeps giving in this wild world of lightsaber battles and talking droids.

Despite what many will tell you, losing is a part of the journey. The journey only moves forward when the classic protagonists within Star Wars learn this and embrace that perfection is their worst enemy. In showing the whole picture, as Yoda says, the next generation “can grow beyond” these stories.

Murjani Rawls
Murjani Rawlshttp://www.murjanirawls.com
Murjani is a journalist, self-published author, podcast producer, and photographer working out of the tri-state area. Since 2014, Murjani has been stretching his creativity and passions. He has contributed over 18 websites and over 1,000 articles to his journalism portfolio, providing timely commentary on music, television, movies, politics, sports, and more. Murjani has photographed over 250+ artists spanning many musical genres, is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, and has covered festivals such as Lollapalooza, Sundance Film Festival, and SXSW. Murjani has five self-published books of poetry, three of which have reached the top ten in new releases on Amazon upon release. He is currently the Culture Editor at DraftKings Nation / Vox Media. He was previously staff writer at The Root, senior editor & writer at Substream Magazine, and senior writer, editor, and podcast producer at The Pop Break.

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