That’s what your uncle told you! In the original, 1977 Star Wars — which we’ve all been forced to call A New Hope — Ben Kenobi is dismissive of Luke’s guardian, Owen Lars. In fact, if you only watch the original Star Wars, you’re very much encouraged not to really care for Uncle Owen. Yes, we were always a little sad when Owen and Beru got burned by those Stormtroopers, but, overall, did any among us think Uncle Owen was cool?
No. The answer is no. Everyone hates Uncle Owen in Star Wars. Luke thinks Uncle Owen sucks and even Aunt Beru seems to think her husband sucks a little bit. But all of that is suddenly different after the conclusion of the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi. Thanks to this show, the most unlikable parental figure in Star Wars is suddenly the best dad in the galaxy and perhaps, the truest father of Luke Skywalker. Spoilers ahead.
From the first episode of the series, Obi-Wan Kenobi was determined to give the Star Wars franchise functional parents. While the original trilogy encouraged you to think of Luke and Leia as coming from a hugely dysfunctional family, what Obi-Wan did was invert that assumption. Luke and Leia’s biological parents were absent; one of them was dead and the other was Darth Vader. But their actual parents, in the form of Bail (Jimmy Smits) and Breha Organa (Simone Kessell) for Leia, and Owen (Joel Edgerton) and Beru Lars (Bonnie Piesse) for Luke, were great parents.
Yes, Obi-Wan gives Leia a little speech in the last episode of the show about what she got from Padme (Natalie Portman) and Anakin (Hayden Christensen) but it’s pretty clear we’re meant to think of the Organa family and the Lars family as the actual parents of each of these kids.
This brings us to Uncle Owen. First of all, Joel Edgerton is a phenomenal actor, and Obi-Wan Kenobi proves that not only was George Lucas wise to cast him as Owen back in 2002 but also that he woefully underused Edgerton’s talents in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. (In the latter, dude didn’t even have lines.) But, now, in Obi-Wan, Edgerton gets to actually play the character he was hired to play; the father who literally raised Luke Skywalker.
Let that sink in: Owen is Luke Skywalker’s father. Not Darth Vader. Owen.
Owen and Beru love Luke. Parents who adopt children are not lesser parents! But up until this point, the Star Wars franchise always made it seem like the Lars family, and Owen in specific wasn’t good enough. In the Obi-Wan finale, when Reva (Moses Ingram) comes barreling at Owen, lightsaber in hand, she says, “You really love the boy, like he’s your own.”
Owen’s response is firm: “He is my own.”
This is perfect. The Star Wars uncle who we all kind of mocked, who we believed was a joke because he wasn’t Darth Vader, is actually a great dad. Everything Owen does throughout Obi-Wan Kenobi proves he’s a good dad, even compromising with Obi-Wan in the end and letting Old Ben meet young Luke.
And yet, the profound thing isn’t that Owen is just a great dad. What’s profound is that after four decades of watching Star Wars, we have never even seen Owen as a dad. We’ve only seen him as the guy standing between Luke and a life of adventure. But, here, when Luke is just a little kid, we see a father full of love and willing to do anything for that child. Yes, the most memorable moments in the Obi-Wan finale will probably be with Darth Vader and Kenobi himself. We all loved seeing Hayden’s face again, even under that cracked helmet.
But, at this point in the Star Wars saga, at this moment, on this show, the aspirational character that all fathers can look up to isn’t a Jedi Knight or a revolutionary war hero. The coolest guy here is a simple moisture farmer trying to right by his family.