There was a time in my life when I was a Star Wars fanatic. I admit this freely. Honestly, I wish I still was. But my love was put to the test and I guess it wasn't as strong as I thought it was. You see something started in 1997 and ended in 2005 that showed me that Star Wars and myself should just be friends. Friends with the benefits, but still just friends. The thing that happened where two fold, the first was called the Special Edtions. Greedo shooting first, CGI Jabba, the whole works. It started to put doubt in my mind and then the Prequels came.
I know at this point bashing the prequels has become a little cliché. So that's not what I will be doing here, at least not in the fan boy "KILL JAR JAR" kinda way. Instead what I'm going to look at today is what the original three movies have to say about the time before the events of A New Hope took place and how well they match up with what we finally saw on the big screen. A little spoiler here... sometimes not very well, other times a little better. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Instead we will start at the beginning... a little film called STAR WARS.
LUKE: But what if this Obi-Wan comes looking for him?
OWEN: He won't, I don't think he exists any more. He died about the same time as your father.
This is the first mention in the film of anything that might have taken place before the events of the movie. This does mesh pretty well will what is shown in the Prequels, but there is little, to no, specific information here either. If you take the "certain point of view" to heart then both these men did "die" around the same time. Anakin became Darth Vader, and Obi-Wan went into hiding adopting the name Ben. So far so good.
AUNT BERU: Luke's just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him.
OWEN: That's what I'm afraid of.
Likewise here we see that the Prequels do match up well. Owen would have no doubt heard what had become of Anakin when Obi-Wan brought Luke to him. He'd know of his fall to the Darkside and wouldn't want his nephew, really his adopted son, to follow his father down that same path.
LUKE: This little droid. I think he's searching for his former master...I've never seen such devotion in a droid before. He claims to be the property of an Obi-Wan Kenobi. Is he a relative of yours? Do you know who he's talking about?
BEN: Obi-Wan Kenobi...Obi-Wan? Now that's a name I haven't heard in a
long time... a long time.
LUKE: I think my uncle knew him. He said he was dead.
BEN: Oh, he's not dead...not yet.
LUKE: You know him!
BEN: Well of course I know him. He's me! I haven't gone by
the name Obi-Wan since oh, before you were born.
This is Luke's first meeting, that he remembers anyway, with Obi-Wan Kenobi. It also contains the first inconsistency, with the Prequels. Although, it is a small one. Ben claims that he hasn't used the name Obi-Wan since before Luke was born. In fact the way he said implies that he had adopted the name Ben awhile before Luke was born. In the Prequels Ben uses the name Obi-Wan right up till the end. It really is a small thing though in the end and something that is easy to just shrug off. I wish the others where this easy as well, but they aren't
LUKE: No, my father didn't fight in the wars. He was a navigator on a spice freighter.
BEN: That's what your uncle told you. He didn't hold with your father's ideals. Thought he should have stayed here and not gotten involved.
The events that Ben is speaking of here were never shown in the prequels at all. In fact Owen and Anakin barely know each other. This seems to speak of a much more familiar relationship then is shown in Attack of the Clones. A debate, a difference in ideology ,and a concern for Anakin and what he might be getting himself into. In Attack of the Clones we see Anakin arrive at the Lars homestead looking for his mother, then he makes is way to the Sandpeople camp, and then back to the Lars homestead and then away to save Obi-Wan. Anakin and Owen's interaction is very limited and none of the above conversation seems to take place.
LUKE: You fought in the Clone Wars?
BEN: Yes, I was once a Jedi Knight the same as your father.
LUKE: I wish I'd known him.
BEN: He was the best star-pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior. I understand you've become quite a good pilot yourself. And he was a good friend. Which reminds me...I have something here for you. Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it. He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damned-fool idealistic crusade like your father did.
The fact that Anakin was the best star-pilot in the galaxy was shown to some extent in Revenge of the Sith. So at least this first line of Obi-Wan recounting tales of his father to Luke was shown in the Prequels.
Then we come to the Lightsaber. Obi-Wan tells Luke that his father wanted him to have it when he was old enough. This never took place, in fact Obi-Wan took the saber from Anakin after cutting his arms and legs off and leaving him to burn to death. You could rationalize that Obi-Wan wanted to glass this over and maybe that is why he told Luke this. And had the Prequels been made first I would have bought that too. Problem is they weren't, and it was George's responsibility to work some these scenes into these movies in order to connect them to what came before.
There was even a rumor that George had not even had Obi-wan retrieve Anakin's Lightsaber during their duel, and thus there was no way he could have it to give to Luke in ANH, and had to correct that with re-shoots. No idea if that actually happened, but it wouldn't have shocked me. In the end one of two things could have happened here, and both are troubling. One, Lucas could have thought this little scene wouldn't fit with what he wanted to do when writing the Prequels and thus just disregarded it completely, or he simply forgot what he wrote back then and didn't bother to check before writing the Prequels. Both are scary thoughts, but explain much.
We also get another mention of Uncle Owen here fearing that Luke would follow Obi-Wan like his father did on some idealistic crusade. Again we are hinted at a deeper relationship between Owen and Anakin. And since he is Uncle Owen, one would assume that they were in fact brothers even though they do not share the same last name. It could also be possible that Owen was in fact Anakin's brother-in-law and that Beru could have been Anakin's sister. Whatever the case, it seems that Anakin and Owen did not agree on things and that Anakin followed a path that Owen did not agree with when he went with Obi-Wan. That much is clear here.
Again nothing like this is shown in Prequels. Anakin does not follow Obi-Wan on an idealistic crusade. He is rescued from slavery by Qui-Gon Jinn before he ever met Owen, and follows him to become a Jedi. He only meets Obi-Wan after he has already made up his mind to leave. When Anakin finally meets Owen he is already a almost fully trained Jedi Knight, and when he leaves he doesn't follow Obi-Wan, instead he leaves to rescue Obi-Wan. It's likely that Owen didn't even know who Obi-Wan was until he dropped baby Luke off on his doorstep.
I'll be honest, I like the idea of a 16-17 year old Anakin working in his Brother-in-Law Owen's shop in Mos Espa. Doing space runs for Jabba or whoever will hire him on the side for a little extra cash. He is also caught up in Pod Racing. Which of course his Brother-In-Law Owen, who is just trying to save enough money to buy his own moisture farm and get out of the dangerous city, doesn't approve of. Anakin is feeling his life couldn't get anymore boring when in walks Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padme looking to buy a new Hyperdrive for the Naboo starship. That at least makes some sense and keeps most of the TPM story intact.
BEN: An elegant weapon for a more civilized time. For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times, before the Empire.
LUKE: How did my father die?
BEN: A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. He betrayed and murdered your father. Now the Jedi are all but extinct. Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force.
Now George comes back to actually staying close to his own source material. All of this was shown in the Prequels. The Jedi keep the peace, and fight to protect the Republic in times of war. The role of the Jedi is shown through out The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith.
Likewise Anakin is shown helping the Emperor hunt down and kill Jedi when he assaults the Jedi Temple. We also are shown Anakin's seduction and fall to the Darkside of the Force. Before this Anakin was in fact Obi-Wan's pupil. So these lines are pretty much in line with what we are shown.
LEIA: General Kenobi, years ago you served my father in the Clone
This single line spoken by Leia hints at a connection between her father, who later we will know as Bail Organa, and Obi-Wan Kenobi during the Clone Wars. I guess this one is up for debate on if it's actually shown or not. I know before the Prequels the impression I got was that Leia's father had been a military commander during the war and that Obi-Wan in his duties as Jedi Knight had served under him. This wasn't the case in the movies, as Bail was shown as Senator. Not really a mistake, but more something that didn't live up to my preconceived notion. And while Obi-Wan is not shown serving Bail directly it's clear in Revenge of the Sith that they know each other, and it's not hard to think that maybe Obi-Wan had worked with Bail in the past. I think this could have been shown more clearly in order to connect these movies better, but it doesn't really contradict anything from the Prequels either.
VADER: I've been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master.
Ben: Only a master of evil, Darth.
Not much here, but what is said here did happen in the Prequels. The last time Obi-Wan and Anakin met it was in a fight to the death. At the time Anakin had just begun his path down the Darkside. He was still a student of the teachings of the Sith. After 20 years of training by Palpatine I'm sure Darth Vader believed himself to be a master of the Darkside. The Darkside that Obi-Wan says is evil. So this all checks out pretty well.
This wraps up what A New Hope can tell us of the past. Next time we will come to A New Hope's sequel and what many consider to be the best of all the Star Wars films: The Empire Strikes Back and see what it can tell use about the Prequel times.
Until then. See you next time, on the front line.