Okay, so I’m about to take a bit of a dive regarding Obi-Wan and the questions of continuity that surround him in A New Hope. I’m going to start by breaking down his lines in question, discuss them and what can be done.
“Come here, my little friend.”
Could be changed to ‘old’ friend, but you would have to replicate the ambience, find an appropriate sounding ‘old’ and fix the music as well. And change his mouth movements. I’m not really capable of such a change myself at the moment.
“I haven’t gone by the name Obi-Wan since, oh, before you were born.”
Nitpicky, but the ‘oh’ sort of implies he hadn’t gone by that name for a period of time before Luke was born, rather than just hours before he was born. Two alternatives to this:
“I haven’t gone by the name Obi-Wan since before you were born.”
“I haven’t gone by the name Oi-Wan since you were born.”
The shot cuts to the next one on the word ‘since’, so it might be a relatively easy change if were deemed worthy.
“I never seem to remember owning a droid.”
You could argue Obi-Wan never owned R4, maybe it was Republic property technically or something. But, the line makes it seem like he really doesn’t know R2, because he would know that wasn’t his droid. So, you could just cut the line, and Obi-Wan’s next line would be “Very interesting…” which is much more ambiguous to how much he knows.
“He [Owen] feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damn fool idealistic crusade, like your father did.”
From the prequels we know this isn’t the case. But, since Owen didn’t know Anakin when he was taken by the Jedi, and Obi-Wan is a Jedi, Obi-Wan could just be repeating what Owen has said to Obi-Wan in the past and how he sees the situation. Owen and Obi-Wan clearly don’t have a good relationship, he might resent or blame Obi-Wan for taking his mother-in-law’s son away from her, for the fate of Anakin and for Luke being an orphan. And he certainly wouldn’t want Luke to become a Jedi.
And, the first time Owen hears the name ‘Obi-Wan’ is when 3PO tells Anakin and Padme that they have a message from him in AOTC. Anakin and Padme check the message, they leave, and shortly after the Clone Wars begin. I could just picture a situation where after Shmi’s death, Owen could’ve told Anakin that he wasn’t alone, that they were his family now and he was welcome to be a part of it. Instead, he followed Obi-Wan’s message and went on some damn fool idealistic crusade.
So, I think this still can work. But, just to present an alternative, you could possibly cut “like your father did”, just to take away any possible confusion. It might be a difficult cut though because of how quickly he says it.
“Now, let’s see if we can figure out what you are, my little friend, and where you come from.”
We haven’t really mentioned this line but this shows that he obviously doesn’t recognize R2, or he is pretending to not know in front of Luke. But why? You could argue that during Lei’a hologram, he realizes it is R2 when he gives him that look, but Luke says “3PO” when he completely forgot to check on him in the Judland Wastes and that didn’t phase Obi-Wan. Maybe you could argue he doesn’t really know 3PO well.
Honestly from this line alone, which would be hard to cut/alter because of its position, I would find it necessary to go with the forgetful or lying Obi-Wan angle. So, we could try to cut as much interaction between R2 and Obi-Wan in the prequels as Hal tries to do in his edits (can’t really take Clone Wars into account).
If you were to keep all or most of Obi-Wan’s ‘white’ lies, it seems to clear to me that Obi-Wan was trying to blatantly manipulate Luke to fulfill his apparent destiny, since Rebels implies that Obi-Wan believes Luke is the chosen one. It makes sense why he would, Obi-Wan probably believes the fate of the galaxy rests in Luke’s hands, but it doesn’t change the fact that he was manipulating a boy. In some uncomfortable ways it parallels the Anakin/Sidious and Snoke/Ben relationships, but for the light. For the greater good, which also makes me see parallels with the relationship between Dumbledore and Harry Potter. Dumbledore knew Harry’s destiny, yet he still put him on that path in order to fulfill the prophecy and stop the threat of Voldemort. You can understand the motivation of the mentor (Obi-Wan/Dumbledore), but their actions are questionable at best, and makes it a little stranger that Leia would feel compelled to name her son after him. Then again, Harry did name his son after Dumbledore.
If we were to stick with this interpretation of his character, I definitely think we need to lean into that angle however we can. We should do things from ROTJ like cut “From a certain point of view.” or at least the “many truth we cling to depend on our own point of view” line. Obi-Wan lied to Luke, and he shouldn’t dance around it. I also feel like we shouldn’t see the Force ghosts at the end of the film, because Luke chose his own path, and he doesn’t need their ghosts to give him these looks of approval. When he goes to see Yoda, he should be a little angry, distant at least, but not apologetic like he is in the film. But that’s just my opinion. Going with this angle also would set up why has lost faith in the Jedi in the Last Jedi and wants it to end, and calls out Obi-Wan for training Darth Vader.
The thing is, you could keep this angle regardless, because no matter what he still has to lie about Darth Vader, but lying about all of the little details to make Luke feel like he should follow his father’s path and become a Jedi (in order to eventually kill his own father) seem a little extreme, and very manipulative.
If anyone has any ideas for that line, I’d like to hear them. A solution for it could probably allow us to retain option 1, written below. So, here are my thoughts of possible routes.
Try to have Obi-Wan remember R2, at least, and remove his white lies.
Limit Obi-Wan and the droids interactions in prequels whenever possible, stick with the forgetful Obi-Wan angle, but cut the white lies.
Make it clear that Obi-Wan is lying to Luke in order to push him into a path of destiny, and don’t let Luke brush it under the rug after he finds out.
But honestly, I don’t really know what the purpose of lying to Luke about not knowing the droids would be, so I think it either should be he barely interacted with them in the past, or he does remember them.
At the moment, I’m actually starting to be in favor of the manipulation angle and keeping a lot of his lies/misdirections. It would make sense for the story, but I think we would need to drive that home in ROTJ. Regardless, I would like to keep “I wanted you to have this” since I’ve already made it, and I think it would still work for the manipulative Obi-Wan angle as well.
But please share your thoughts on this, and how changes for your ideas could be implemented.