Random House, out now
Obi-Wan Kenobi may have wanted to stay out of notice on Tatooine, but inevitably he becomes drawn into the lives of the local community…
We’ve had Star Wars horror novels, and detective stories – now we’ve got a Western, and it’s perhaps not that surprising how little the universe needs to be seen slightly differently for this to work.
For those of us not steeped in the lore of the Expanded Universe (i.e. for those to whom some of Kenobi’s references in the meditations he makes to Qui-Gon are a little meaningless), this seems a logical extrapolation of the period between Episode III and Episode IV – the Sand People, the Jawas and the settlers on Tatooine can easily be slotted into some of the tropes of the genre. Throw in some of the other standards – such as raiding parties, duplicitous dealings, youngsters keen to please themselves, and (particularly in the revisionist Westerns) more time given to the perspective of the indigenous peoples – and you’ve got a successful meld.
Miller gives Kenobi elements of Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name: he’s a mysterious stranger, a survivor of conflict, who really doesn’t want to get involved. He does so reluctantly, knowing he has his code as a Jedi that won’t let injustice triumph, but acts decisively when the need arises. The classic Western theme of the gunslinger needing redemption also plays neatly into this: Kenobi is still haunted by what happened with Anakin, and the fate of his friends in the Jedi.
Verdict: It’s not something that you’d necessarily want to read a lot of, but this makes for a different spin on a familiar character or two – as well as providing a sneaky explanation for the difference in look between McGregor’s Obi-Wan and Guinness’. 7/10