Wednesday, February 9, 2011

44 BBY: Jedi Apprentice: The Hidden Past

The reason I like the Jedi Apprentice books is because they remind me of The Clone Wars television show. The Clone Wars gives us Star Wars fans short little stories which further explore universe we all love. Some episodes are stand-alone narratives, while other episodes connect in an arc of epic proportions. In the end, we are all entertained while at the same time peering into unknown corners of Lucas and company’s creation– discovering new planets, aliens, and technology, and all the while coming to understand the characters of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka a little better.

The way I feel after I’ve read a Jedi Apprentice book is the same as when I’ve watched an episode of the Clone Wars. Neither is relatively time consuming and both reveal for me a little patch of the mythical world of Star Wars.

I feel like the twenty books of the Jedi Apprentice series are each like an episode in a Star Wars television show. Three books in and I’m looking forward to what this season has to offer.

I don’t really have much to say about The Hidden Past. The story did well to further explore the relationship between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan. In particular, I enjoyed the scene with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan fighting the Syndicat guards. What I liked most about it was that Qui-Gon had yet to adjust to the fighting style of his Padawan, or rather, that Obi-wan had yet to pick up on the rhythm of Qui-Gon’s combat: “Qui-Gon realized that he could not always count on Obi-Wan to pick up on his pacing. Something to work on later, when they had time.” (57). I liked how Watson demonstrated that their partnership was still in transition here. That there were still kinks to work out and they were not perfectly symbiotic: they would have to work together to become a well-oiled machine. I enjoyed the hint of progression here between them.

Guerra and Paxxi have been two of the funniest characters I have come across in Star Wars chronology thus far. Some of their lines have had me chuckling out loud. The one I enjoyed the most was when Paxxi thought he was looking at the Prince of Beju but was really Obi-Wan: “‘Look at him’ Paxxi said in disgust. ‘You can tell the brute is evil’. ‘Look closer. That boy is Obi-wan’ Qui-Gon murmured. Paxxi gasped. ‘Yes so, I thought he seemed handsome and brave’, he added quickly. ‘And what royal bearing he has!’”. (112-113).

Besides making me chuckle in spots, I think I may have come across a continuity error. As Obi-Wan was fighting his memory wipe, he recalled days with his parents and brother, but these were not days as a child before he was brought to the Temple; rather, they were memories of a visit to his family while still at the Temple: “Rough linen against his hands. He clung to his mother. The end of the visit. Yes, he had wanted to go back to the Temple. It was a great honor. They knew they could not keep him from it. He wanted it so much. Yet goodbye was so painful, so hard. A soft cheek was pressed against his.” (98). It was my understanding that once a child had reached the Temple, that contact with the birth parents was forbidden. At least this is what the story Children of the Force implied. Thought I can’t remember if it was directly stated, but this idea was also alluded to in The Jedi Path. The understanding being that it was best for a future Jedi to let go of any familial relationships, least these relationship should one day cloud the judgment of a Jedi and lead them down the dark path. Force knows that this is exactly what happened to Xanatos. Connection with his birth family only produced confusion and pain (at least that was what I extrapolated from the narrative). Why would the Jedi want Obi-wan, or any of their younglings, to experience the pain of a goodbye from their mother?

Do any of you reading this know if this bit of story has been addressed by the continuity cops?

Before I finish my post I want to mention something I forgot to talk about from The Dark Rival, which was the mention of a cloaking device. Recalling a story between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, we learn that Yoda placed them on a ‘transport to Telos ferrying droids’ and that Qui-Gon’s apprentice Xanatos was accused of sabotaging the ships systems: “Stieg Wa announced that the cloaking system had been sabotaged. He blamed Xanatos” (84). When one looks into the history of cloaking systems, it seems remarkable that a cloaking system was on a common space transport, as the owners of such devices were usually people like the Emperor, Darth Maul, Boba Fett, and Galen Marek, not unknown droid smugglers. But alas, in the Star Wars universe, there is always an exception to the rule. Maybe I can work this knowledge into an RPG campaign in the future *evil chuckle*.

For my next post I’m going to move on to Tales #14, found in Star Wars Tales volume 4. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.


  1. I don't know any mention by continuity cops about the matter. I don't myself see why Obi-Wan would have met his family during his training.

    But other things about Obi-Wan's past: first editions of the Return of the Jedi novelization had Obi-Wan mentioning that Owen was his brother. It meant Owen Lars, but later it was decided that Owen was Anakin's stepfather. Later editions don't have this "mistake" anymore (according to Wookieepedia, I have only read the Finnish edition and don't remember if it was in it or not). At the moment the Hidden Past is the only source that mentions Obi-Wan's brother, which makes sense. Obi-Wan is certainly one who realizes that they are all better off by not having these kind of attachments (even if that sounded weird when I wrote that).

    About Obi-Wan's home planet, Lucas revealed it's name in his interview by Jon Stewart at Celebration V, August 14, 2010 (quote from
    "This is one of the first things I wrote in the very first script," shares Lucas. "He comes from the planet Stewjon."

    Cloaking device was an interesting detail, I missed it during this re-read. I have to think about them, but you are right that during this time there were some prototypes in the works and some relics working from older times.

  2. Stewjon...classic!

    I think your comment about Obi-Wan is right: he does seem to understand that familial attachments can lead to problems for a Jedi.

    I remember reading about the 'brother Owen' stuff a little while back, so when I go to that part in the book I knew that it had been retconned to mean another Owen that was not Luke's uncle.

    The mention of the cloaking device blew me away. I'm thinking of having the players in an RPG campaign hunt down and find that ship to pirate its cloaking device.