This is the fifth post in a daily series. Read about it here and see the list of previous posts here. A new post about “Star Wars” will be posted every day for 40 days leading up to the franchise’s 40th birthday on May 25th.
The prequel trilogy hits a lot of nerves for a lot of people, and it would take several therapy sessions to delve into how and why. We’ll go over that in multiple posts during the 40 Days of “Star Wars,” but we’ll start rip the wounds open by addressing this truth: For both trilogies to be canon, R2-D2 and Obi-Wan Kenobi have to be at least partially assholes, if not fully-formed assholes.
When we first see R2 and Obi-Wan together in “A New Hope” — that is, when they were first introduced to us — they seem to be strangers. Obi-Wan not only acts like he’s never met the droid, but acts as if the idea of a communicating droid is a novel idea. R2, for his part, doesn’t challenge this premise.
This, of course, is bullshit.
They’ve met. They spent years together, and rather closely. They know that Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader. They know Threepio was built by Anakin, and not only that, they know it was on this very planet where they are pretending to not know each other. They know it, and they also know that Luke doesn’t know. And they should know that because Threepio’s memory was wiped, he doesn’t know, either.
But we know it, you smug motherfuckers. The jig is up. We are calling you on your bantha doodoo.
Listen, there are very few instances where it would be acceptable for people to pretend they don’t know each other. Off the top of my head, the only situation I can think of is if you have an awkward Tinder date with someone and later bump into that person at the grocery store, or at a dinner party, and you pretend not to know each other so as to avoid having to tell your friends, “Oh, yeah, remember the guy I told you about who had that thing about coleslaw? This was him.”
That is clearly not the case here. These guys spent years next to each other because of their mutual friend with whom they each had a falling out about 20 years ago because he decided murder some children and devote himself to some wrinkle-faced dickhead who has clear diction and no tact. And they know that, and they know they are with that guy’s son and some witless droid who has no idea that this same child-murdering shithead built him.
I mean, seriously, R2 and Obi-Wan. You assholes.
At this point it’s worth pointing out that Obi-Wan quickly pulls ahead in the asshole differentiation. R2 stays mum on the topic, while Obi-Wan concocts some bullshit story about how Darth Vader murdered Luke’s father after being seduced by the dark side, thus leading Luke to believe they are two different people. It’s only later in “Return of the Jedi” that Luke presses Obi-Wan for the truth, even then, this jerkweasel can’t own up to the fact that he lied. He spins it like a pro by saying that he had told the truth from a certain point of view. Luke, of course, gets indignant, as you might when realizing that his mentor used bullshit metaphors to gloss over the fact that the murderous evil guy you’ve been fighting is actually your father and by the way, he’s also the father of the hot chick you kissed in the last movie, but hey, it’s OK, because the lines I fed you were sort of true if you suspend logic and don’t take my words literally.
I mean, get outta here with that shit.
R2 doesn’t help by not saying anything. He knew at least some of these things, and he could could have told Luke multiple times. He could have told Luke en route to Dagobah that he knew Yoda. And he surely could have told Luke that “Hey, it’s no biggie that the X-wing is stuck in the swamp because I know how to fucking fly. It’s something I used to do with your dad, whom I knew quite well, and so did that old guy you met on Tatooine.”
Of course, there’s another explanation, and that’s that Obi-Wan’s gone senile and that R2’s circuits have been fried. That saves us from thinking they’re assholes, but now we have to think of these formerly badass characters as senile, misguided rubes. And that might be more heartbreaking.
There’s also an explanation that R2’s memories of Anakin had been severed. As in, he still had those memories, they just weren’t accessible. I won’t pay that explanation much attention, though, because it comes from the Expanded Universe, and, well, that’s not canon.
And then there’s yet another explanation, and one that’s probably closer the reality: R2 and Obi-Wan wanted to protect Luke and Leia. Given that Vader was off the rails by then, it makes sense R2 and Obi-Wan would feel the need to limit what Luke and Leia knew of their father and their background. And not telling Threepio makes sense, because that gossipy old queen would never shut up.
So maybe they aren’t assholes.
Well, except for that whole “certain point of view” nonsense.
That, and R2 holding out on telling Luke and the crew he could fly. I mean, that could have helped them so many times. That asshole.
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