Obi-Wan Kenobi showrunner Deborah Chow recently discussed the upcoming Disney+ series revealing that she sees Kenobi’s relationship with Anakin Skywalker as a “love-story dynamic.”
Chow’s comments came in an expansive article from Vanity Fair discussing Star Wars, where the outlet claims Chow is the one to champion the rematch between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi that Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced would take place back in December 2020.
Vanity Fair claims Chow won Kennedy and Lucasfilm executives over due to her perspective on their relationship, which Chow describes as a “love-story dynamic.”
She explains, “For me, across the prequels, through the original trilogy, there’s a love-story dynamic with these two that goes through the whole thing.”
“I felt like it was quite hard to not [include] the person who left Kenobi in such anguish in the series,” she added.
Chow would also claim that even after Kenobi left Vader to die on Mustafar he still cared for him, “I don’t know how you could not.”
She detailed, “I don’t think he ever will not care about him. What’s special about that relationship is that they loved each other.”
While Chow claims she sees this love-story dynamic “across the prequels” and “through the original trilogy,” the dynamic, which is more accurately described as philia or the love of friendship, is really only seen in the prequels.
We see this love of friendship that Kenobi has for Anakin express itself even after Kenobi chops Anakin’s legs off and watches him begin to burn in the heat on Mustafar. He shouts at Anakin, “You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness! … You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.”
However, his last words make it clear that the love is no longer as it’s clearly used in the past tense.
Anakin’s love is completely gone as he replies, “I hate you!” And it had been gone for quite a bit, as even before their duel began, Anakin told Kenobi, “You turned her against me. … You will not take her from me. … Don’t lecture me Obi-Wan. I see through the lies of the Jedi. I do not fear the dark side as you do. I have brought peace, freedom, justice, and security to my new empire.”
He adds, “Don’t make me kill you. … If you’re not with me then you’re my enemy.” So, the love of friendship is still there at the end of The Revenge of the Sith on Kenobi’s end, but it’s clearly gone from Anakin’s side. His love has now been twisted and corrupted into hate.
However, Kenobi’s love towards Anakin is not shown when Darth Vader confronts him on the Death Star in A New Hope. The brief encounter sees Kenobi tell Vader, “Only a master of evil, Darth,” and “You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” He then allows Vader to strike him down only after he sees that Luke sees their fight.
Then in Return of the Jedi when Luke confronts Kenobi about his story regarding Vader killing his father, Kenobi replies, “Your father was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true from a certain point of view.”
When Luke questions this, Kenobi replies, “Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. Anakin was a good friend. When I first knew him, your father was already a great pilot, but I was amazed how strongly the Force was with him. I took it upon myself to train him as a Jedi. I thought that I could instruct him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong.”
Luke then asserts, “There is still good in him.” Kenobi counters, “He’s more machine now than man, twisted and evil.”
It seems pretty clear from this conversation that Kenobi’s philia towards Anakin might remain, but he sees Anakin as being killed off by Darth Vader.
Kenobi clearly has no love for Vader, describing him as twisted and evil, much like he did in A New Hope when he called him a master of evil. So, it’s perplexing to say the least that Kenobi and Vader have some kind of love-story dynamic that runs through the original trilogy when clearly that is not the case.
What do you make of Chow’s comments? How do you view Kenobi and Vader’s relationship?