Continuing with my series of articles discussing the differences between the movie and the book, what about Owen Lars? Who is he and where does he fit into the Star Wars saga? Little is known in the storyline from Star Wars, A New Hope, about the man who is Luke Skywalker’s uncle. Many questions arise and are sometimes left unanswered surrounding the background of Luke and his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru.
What Came To Pass Leaving Luke Without Parents?
From the movie alone, it is unclear how Luke came to be in the care of his aunt and uncle except for the fact that we are told in the movie that Luke’s father is apparently dead, betrayed and murdered by Darth Vader. It stands to reason that he would go and live with his relatives.
There is no mention of which side of the family Owen comes from, Luke’s mother’s or father’s side. We also do not know for sure from the movie that Owen is the actual uncle, or if in fact it is Beru that is the biological Aunt. In later movies, it is evident that neither is true but I will discuss this in other articles.
The main point is that there are answers left unspoken from the movie, which we find out a little more about in the book, but even then, there is much still left unknown.
Is Uncle Owen Hiding Something?
One thing that does stand out in the movie, is that Uncle Owen seems to be intent on making excuses to keep Luke around the farm and on-planet rather than let him go and achieve his dreams and move on the way most of his friends have already done. Even going so far as to cause Luke to withdraw his application to the Academy that everyone seems to have gone to. That information was not in the movie, but it was in the book. He manages to guilt trip Luke into staying for another season, and then another one, claiming to need him the most during this time.
Uncle Owen Has High Expectations Of Luke It Would Appear
To the movie viewer, it appears that Owen is a stubborn man very set in his ways and focused on getting the job done. Even when speaking with Luke he is very matter of fact and telling Luke what his only concern should be, in other words, work, rather than seeming to allow Luke much free time. He has great expectations for what is to be done before any play time, which leaves you wondering if he actually cares about Luke or thinks of him as the hired help.
Owen Lars Is No-one To Be Messed With
He has a very gruff exterior which shows in his whole manner even when dealing with the Jawas and literally speaks volumes in terms of realising that he is not a man to be messed with or to cross. He isn’t a patient man either based on his interaction with the droid C3PO (See Threepio) after he asks if the robot speaks Bocce. When Threepio tries to recite how many millions of forms of communication he is fluent in Owen tells him to shut up.
But Does Owen Have Good Reason To Keep Luke Around?
The only time you ever consider that he might have a reason to keep Luke there is expressed in one sentence and not explored at that time. You are left wondering, but at least understanding there is more to this story than meets the eye. Perhaps Owen has a secret that he is keeping from Luke.
In the book he implores Luke to understand his reasons for needing him, telling him droids can’t replace a man. This conveys a deeper care or love for Luke than the movie depicts meaning that the reader is able to feel sympathy for Owen. Then he brushes it all off with a statement that time will pass before you know it and allows us to see that perhaps he just doesn’t understand how important the Academy is to Luke. There are so many more feelings and emotions shown in the scene in the book.
Owen And Obi Wan Have A Checkered Past
When Luke is told by C3PO, in the book, about R2D2 claiming to be the property of Obi wan Kenobi, Luke speaks of knowing him through talking to him once or twice, but mainly by what people have said about him, that he is a sorceror, and that he comes to the homestead to trade sometimes but his uncle runs him off.
The reaction from Uncle Owen when Luke, during a dinner conversation with his uncle, brings up the topic of the droid’s possible ownership by Ben Kenobi, Owen appears to fob him off with very little reaction or facial expression. He tells Luke that he doesn’t think Obi Wan Kenobi exists anymore and tells him to forget it and get the droid’s mind wiped.
This is very different to the book where Owen displays uncharacteristic nervousness and squirming at the mention of Obi Wan Kenobi. There is obvious dislike of Kenobi expressed by Owen which is not very apparent in the movie.
But I Just Know There Is More To It Than Indicated In The Movie
Clearly there is a back story here, part of which does get brought out in the open in later movies, yet it does not come across in the movie, as one to cause discomfort to Owen in the same way as the book. He tells Luke in the movie nothing of Kenobi, suggesting that Luke quit his continued questions.
In the book he explodes, telling Luke to stay away from Kenobi, that he’s crazy, dangerous, full of mischief and best left well alone. This more detailed book description helps me gain more feeling and understanding from the whole situation and it is clear there is much more to this story that the movie just isn’t able to convey.
Owen Is Afraid, But Of What?
According to Beru, Owen needs to come to terms with the fact that he can’t keep Luke on the farm forever because “he has too much of his father in him”. At this point, we are unaware of anything in relation to his father, and they don’t elaborate further. Beru tells Owen in the book that Luke will never be a farmer, no matter how much he tries to make him one, for the same reason.
Owen in the movie says “that’s what he’s afraid of”, his voice not really expressing that he truly is afraid, yet in the book there is more to it. In the book, these words are issued from Owen as a whisper, giving much more of an indication of just how much he fears this, but still we do not know why.
What Did Ben (Obi Wan) Kenobi Think Of Owen Lars?
From Ben Kenobi’s (Obi Wan’s) perspective we learn that Uncle Owen didn’t agree with Luke’s father’s ideals and thought he should have stayed on Tattooine and remained a farmer and not gotten involved. This is an instance where the story runs away from what we already know, however. Ben Kenobi claims that Luke’s uncle was afraid that Luke would follow in his father’s adventurous footsteps.
As Obi Wan handed Luke his father’s lightsaber he told him that he tried to give it to him once before but Owen wouldn’t let him. Kenobi thought it was because Owen was afraid that Luke would leave Tattooine on some foolish crusade, following Obi Wan in his father’s footsteps.
Obi Wan Kenobi And Owen Lars Did Not See Eye To Eye
Obi Wan told Luke in the book that his father and his uncle disagreed about farming, how Owen believed that Luke’s father should have stayed home and farmed and minded his business, whereas his father wanted adventure, he was an idealist who was also a notable pilot. Obi Wan didn’t seem to mind that Owen didn’t like him, seeming to prefer to find it amusing.
However, if Owen did fear that having much to do with Kenobi would give Luke even more reason to leave, it’s no wonder he expressed his distaste of the man. It was probably deliberate so as to dissuade Luke from interacting or speaking to Kenobi thinking he was a crazy old wizard might be enough to foster distrust in anything he might say.
Uncle Owen And Aunt Beru – More Should Have Been Said
When we last see Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, it is their smoldering bodies after they have been killed by Stormtroopers in search of the two droids, C3PO and R2D2 and in front of the garage of the burned homestead. It is a shame that in both the book and in the movie, we don’t get to see or read more of the events surrounding this scene. Even Luke’s reaction seemed dulled in light of the fact that they were his relatives who had raised him for most of his life.
The book does not even delve into his feelings at this time except that he asks Ben to take him to Alderaan with him because there is nothing left for him on Tattooine anymore. This is such a major loss for the most important character in the story and they don’t give any description of anything surrounding this. This sad exclusion makes the reader feel a bit cheated about the stories of these two people who raised Luke and helped shape him.
What Must Have Gone Through Luke’s Head Upon Finding His Dead Relatives?
How did Luke feel at seeing these two beloved family members, his ONLY family, killed due to the mere fact that they bought some droids from some jawas? The lack of description only served even more to give the impression that perhaps Luke wasn’t cared for as a nephew but rather the hired help. Was Luke their Cinderella, all work and no play? Obviously this was not the case, but it would have been a valuable addition to the story to include a bit more information about this scene.
I hope you feel a little more connected with Owen Lars with some of this information and don’t find yourself thinking “but what about Uncle Owen?”. As I come across more of his back story I will write more but for now, I’ll close this article.
If you have enjoyed learning more about Luke’s Uncle, leave me a comment and let me know. If you want to learn more about other characters, ask me and I will find out more for you.
Thank you for reading