Obi-Wan Kenobi is a charming Jedi detective in “Star Wars: Brotherhood”
“That case about Cato Neimoidia doesn’t… doesn’t count,” Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith. It’s one of many excellent throwaway lines that Star Wars creator George Lucas has included to enrich the universe, hinting at unseen history and opening up storytelling possibilities down the line.
Your reaction to the Jedi Master’s words reveals what kind of Star Wars fan you are – most will say “That’s fun, I wonder what he’s talking about?” and forget everything. A select few will think “I must know the whole story behind this.” Fortunately, it’s the kind of franchise that caters to both schools of thought.
reveals the case Obi-Wan is talking about, and writer Mike Chen uses that line to craft a colorful and engaging narrative of political intrigue. The novel, which was released on Tuesday, is set shortly after Attack of the Clones, in the early days of .
A mysterious bombardment leaves Cato Neimoidia devastated, and the Galactic Republic sends Obi-Wan to investigate. Normally he would have a lot of support from the Jedi Order, but Cato Neimoidia’s neutral status forces him to go it alone in hopes that he might be swayed to the Republic side.
This happens shortly after Anakin’s elevation from Obi-Wan’s apprentice to Jedi Knight, so the pair must adjust to their new dynamic as equals before the mission. Chen’s sharp dialogue captures the awkwardness well – it’s a bit like running into one of your old teachers shortly after leaving school. You are meant to be equal, but old habits are hard to break.
Obi-Wan’s mission has been extremely suspicious from the start, as Separatist/secret Sith leader Lord Count Dooku set the terms of Obi-Wan’s mission and sent his own emissary. Cato Neimoidia is also the homeworld of the Trade Federation leader (and secondary villain of) Nute Gunray.
It’s always a pleasure to spend time with Obi-Wan, and it sounds like Chen enjoyed writing about polite Jedi diplomatic efforts with the Neimoidians and Ventress. He embarks on a gripping detective adventure to uncover the real perpetrator of the bombing, with the stakes getting extremely high when he uncovers damning evidence.
The Jedi gain an ally in Neimoidian special forces sniper Ruug Quarnum, giving us a fuller view of the Neimoidians – they’re not all cowardly opportunists like Gunray and his ilk. Her fragile partnership with Obi-Wan and her internal conflict over a lost student make her an unpredictable and exciting character.
The other part of Brotherhood’s 352 pages is devoted to Anakin, who meets a young Jedi who struggles to master her Force abilities. She feels like a prototypethe apprentice who will be assigned to him soon after these events, and it is heartwarming to see them form a bond.
Star Wars Movies, Ranked: From ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ to ‘Empire Strikes Back’
View all photos
Chen even slips into a scene with Palpatine and Anakin; it’s always delightful to be a fly on the wall as the devious Sith Master whispers in the troubled young man’s ear and nudges him on the path to becoming Darth Vader. The author previously wrote a Palpatine story for the 2020 anthologyso seeing him back in character is satisfying.
Also representing the dark side is Asajj Ventress, Dooku’s apprentice and an iconic villain from The Clone Wars. This is his first chronological encounter with Obi-Wan and Anakin – it’s fun to see their early reactions and the seeds of a deadly rivalry sown.
Chen’s subtlety is the key to it all. All of the characters feel true to who they are at this point in the timeline, with plenty of clever emotional callbacks and references, and the writing doesn’t lean too much into who we know they will become. It feels like their paths are yet to be traced, creating real tension even though we know characters from movies and TV shows have to make it out alive.
If you’re looking to spend some time withbefore his Disney Plus series , Star Wars: Brotherhood is a simple and exciting way to do it. And the moment when we finally find out why this case on Cato Neimoidia doesn’t count is absolutely excellent.