Monday, April 27, 2015

"Star Wars: Kenobi" by John Jackson Miller

I wish John Jackson Miller had not pegged Kenobi as a Western from the get-go with his introduction at the start of the novel. The tale works incredibly well simply as a Star Wars story and needed no added novelty to draw readers in. It is a well-written epic in minature about Obi Wan Kenobi's early days living in exile as a hermit on Tattooine, encountering more danger than he thought he would. So if you paid no mind to Miller's words, you have a good chance of enjoying a new adventure that didn't echo any Clint Eastwood/Jimmy Stewart westerns...or episodes of Samurai Jack, for that matter.

This is also the first Star Wars novel I saw with the "Legends" tag when it debuted on paperback, which notes the decision by Disney-Lucasfilm to create a new, official continuity that will ignore the novels published before A New Dawn and let them slowly go out of print once the new line is established. I had commented on this development in an earlier post titled, "Luke Skywalker's Nightmare..Or Ours?" I can keep this post from going off on a tangent and reccomend you check that out first or continue reading my review of Kenobi. Or continue onward. :)

In retrospect, the most interesting part of Kenobi is how Miller reconciles the two different portrayals of the character with this new adventure. The 1st half of the novel depicts an Obi Wan not unlike the relatively aloof, Merlin-esque "wizard" Ben Kenobi, played by Sir Alec Guinness, as well as recreating the atmosphere of Tunisa shown in A New Hope. The 2nd half, with it's busy spaceports and alien creatures and floating anti-gravity hovercraft speeding across the desert, recall the manic energy of better moments offered by the prequel film trilogy.

So, yes, this is a good book, but I probably had more fun imagining the casting if it was adapted into a film. I imagined Charlize Theron as the heroine, Annileen Calwell, alongside Gerard Butler as the shady Orrin Gault ( a character who resembles a darker take on Owen Lars, Luke's Uncle, from A New Hope )...And why stop there? If this story had been adapted by George Lucas in the 80s, I could imagine Audrey Hepburn as Annileen ( inspired by her playing Maid Marion in Robin & Marion ...and a photo of her in a cowboy hat from 1958 ), Gregory Peck as Orrin  ( while best-known and beloved today for playing Atticus Finch in "To Kill A Mockingbird", Peck was more convincing at playing bastards , as he did in the camp western, "Duel In The Sun" ) , and, if Alec Guinness should refuse, Nicol Williamson as Ben.

Onto the highlight reel! :)

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