Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi #1 – The Desperate Mission
by Jude Watson
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
A few months after the events in Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan Kenobi finds himself settling into his exile on Tatooine. In between guarding baby Luke Skywalker, he finds himself becoming accustomed to the life of a hermit, regretting the loss of Anakin, and brooding about the Jedi lives that were lost.
But when he hears that former Jedi apprentice Ferus Olin is alive and a wanted fugitive on the planet Bellassa, he feels compelled to help save him. But can he risk leaving Luke unguarded? He eventually goes and finds himself alone, without backup, and facing the scrutiny of the newly formed Empire. Little does he realize that by helping Ferus he’ll help plant the seeds of the Rebellion that will eventually overthrow the Empire.
I have to admit that after so many books in the Jedi Quest and Jedi Apprentice series, I was wondering if Jude Watson could have another hit again with The Last of the Jedi. Well, the answer is “Yes”. Despite it focusing on the little-covered time of Obi-Wan’s exile, it turns out that there’s a lot of story to tell during this era.
I had a strange feeling while reading this book. When I formed a mental picture of Obi-Wan Kenobi, I alternately envisioned Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor. It’s the first time I felt a real bridge between the two halves of the Saga. Watson shows Obi-Wan becoming a hermit, dwelling on the Jedi Massacre, and guarding baby Luke. More importantly, he starts having conversations with the ghost of Qui-Gon. (This may help reinforce the idea that he’s a crazy hermit to anyone that sees him speaking to thin air.) Watson does a great job portraying Ben’s sense of regret, anger, remorse, and even sense of duty in guarding young Skywalker.
A number of other characters are created or brought back. Ferus, the talented young Padawan from the Jed Quest books, returns as one of the forefathers of the Rebellion. It will be interesting to see what role he has in further books. Boba Fett also returns in a surprise cameo. It looks like we may be treated to the stories of how he became a vaunted Jedi killer. But we also meet Malorum, a Force sensitive enforcer of Darth Vader. You learn in this book that he’s been doing his best to track down what happened to Luke and Obi-Wan.
Amid all this drama, Watson must dance around one big rule – Vader can’t know Obi-Wan’s still alive until the events of A New Hope. She does it well, but it will be interesting to see how much these rules are followed through the series. I also like the fact that it tells what happens after Episode III. You learn the galaxy thinks the Jedi killed Padme, nobody knows Darth Vader is Anakin Skywalker, and other little details. All in all, it’s a great new direction for Star Wars fiction and a fun new entry into the Expanded Universe. I wonder, though, if the subsequent books will follow Obi-Wan, Ferus, Boba Fett, or all three.
On a side note, I should say that I like the cover artwork. It’s a nice rendition of Obi-Wan by John Van Fleet.
I have no real gripes about this book. If I had to nitpick about anything, it would be that nobody seems to recognize Obi-Wan. I know it’s a big galaxy, but Revenge of the Sith portrays him as a being a media celebrity. Surely someone would recognize him?
Nothing to add here.