When Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres on Disney+ this Friday, Star Wars fans will get to see the Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) make the leap from animation to live action, the day-to-day life of a young Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely), and Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen‘s triumphant return to a galaxy far, far away. The series will show us what happened in the years between the prequel and original Star Wars trilogies. It should deepen our understanding of who Obi-Wan Kenobi was, not just as a Jedi, but a man.
That all said, I hope that Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi doesn’t forget about a certain character named Duchess Satine. Voiced by Anna Graves, Duchess Satine was the pacifist ruler of Mandalore. She was so committed to non-violence that she became a target of the both the Separatists and the cultist Mandalorian sect known as Death Watch. Duchess Satine was first introduced in Season 2 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and immediately made an impression as she was clearly the love of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s life. Though we have not heard much about her since her murder (at the hands of Darth Maul!) in Clone Wars Season 5, Obi-Wan Kenobi feels like the natural place to introduce her legacy to the broader Star Wars audience.
While other Star Wars nerds might be concerned about Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader’s much-hyped rematch in the upcoming Kenobi series, I’m begging Lucasfilm not to forget about Duchess Satine.
Obi-Wan Kenobi will be set about 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Our boy Obi-Wan escaped the devastation of Order 66 and left his failed apprentice Anakin Skywalker burnt like toast on the lower ground of Mustafar. On Yoda’s advice, he brought the infant Luke Skywalker to Anakin’s stepbrother Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton) and his wife Beru (Bonnie Piesse) on Tatooine. Obi-Wan has been watching over little Luke from afar all this time and training to learn the secret to Force immortality on Yoda’s orders. The new series will see an Inquisitor named Reva (Moses Ingram) on the hunt for Obi-Wan, threatening both his life and Luke’s.
One of the big ideas is that by revisiting Obi-Wan at this juncture in his life, Obi-Wan Kenobi will not only shine more light on one of the most beloved characters in Star Wars, but on the universe itself. We’ll get to see Obi-Wan not as a dashing Padawan or cynical Jedi Master, but a man struggling to cope with the trauma of losing everything. We’ll get more details on how the Inquisitors of Star Wars Rebels came to enter the scene. Obi-Wan Kenobi is supposed to fill in blanks, so shouldn’t one of those blanks be the great love of Obi-Wan’s life.
We learn in Star Wars: The Clone Wars that Obi-Wan Kenobi was tasked with protecting the young Duchess Satine from assassins in the days before Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. He and Satine were on the run like refugees, much like Anakin and Padmé (Natalie Portman) are in Attack of the Clones. Like those two, Obi-Wan and Satine fell in love. However, unlike Anakin and Padmé, they didn’t (to our knowledge) act impulsively on those emotions. Duchess Satine Kryze returned to a life of service, dedicated to her belief in pacifism, while Obi-Wan accompanied Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) to a trade dispute on Naboo.
We learn in Star Wars: The Clone Wars that Obi-Wan Kenobi would have left the Jedi Order if Satine asked him to. We also see that the one person Obi-Wan will defy his Jedi Masters for is Satine. In so many ways, their relationship is a tragic echo of the one Anakin and Padmé have. The difference is Obi-Wan and Satine put their duties first and foremost. And, in the end, Satine is murdered by a vengeful Darth Maul to upset Obi-Wan.
What’s weird about Satine’s death is that while it clearly devastates Obi-Wan, we’ve never watched him grapple with that grief. He just kind of tucks it away and does all he can to continue on his mission. He teams up with Satine’s sister Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and returns to the front of the Clone Wars. Surely if Obi-Wan Kenobi wants to deal with its hero’s emotional fallout of the Clone Wars, we should see or hear something about Satine. Maybe in flashbacks or even conversation.
There is a larger Star Wars universe issue here, too. Satine represents a side of Mandalorian culture we haven’t seen explored in any of the Mando-centric live action storytelling we’ve gotten so far. She was the planet’s last true ruler and a pacifist at that. While Dave Filoni and company have nodded to the fact that Mandalore was a pacifist culture in its twilight days in a recent Vanity Fair feature, the live action shows haven’t really broached this.
That said, Katee Sackhoff has played Bo-Katan in The Mandalorian Season 2. So it wouldn’t be a stretch to explain that Bo-Katan once rebelled against and then attempted to rescue her sister. (Heck, Bo-Katan knows Obi-Wan Kenobi. She could show up in his series.) And it’s not like major Star Wars producers like Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau could easily have forgotten that Satine existed. Filoni produced The Clone Wars and Favreau voiced Satine’s main rival on Mandalore.
The Satine episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars remain some of my all-time favorites. They add romance and pathos to Obi-Wan Kenobi’s personal history and offer up a fascinating mirror to Anakin’s own story. Most of all, they deepen our understanding of Mandalore’s complex culture.
So for the love of all things Star Wars, I’m begging Obi-Wan Kenobi to reference Duchess Satine in some way.
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