On the February 21, 2014 episode of Rebel Force Radio, the hosts had a very cool discussion about what the character of Kanan Jarrus, a Jedi hiding from the Empire and Order 66, and featured in the upcoming Star Wars Rebels TV show, means to the Star Wars Saga as a whole. Specifically does it change the fact that we have always believed that Obi-Wan ‘Ben’ Kenobi and Yoda are the last of the Jedi Knights. The question posed by Rebel Force Radio was whether the appearance of a Jedi in the period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope would now change how we view Ben and Yoda in their roles of “Last of the Jedi.”
Of course we’ll have to see how Rebels plays out over the course of it’s run to know for sure but I anticipate that Kanan’s story will only enhance Ben’s role when we meet him in Episode 4. We know so little about what Ben's experience was while in exile on Tatooine that Kanan's role in Rebels won't diminish the 'specialness' of meeting our first Jedi Knight in Episode 4.
While I think we all assumed that Ben (and later Yoda) were the last of the Jedi, Ben does say "now the Jedi are all but extinct."--not "I'm the last of my kind" as Tarkin refers to Vader. It's obvious the Jedi have been forgotten but it's very likely that others escaped Order 66. If Ben and Yoda could disappear from the Empire's sight, why not others? After all, we never thought Anakin had a Padawan until we met Ahsoka in The Clone Wars.
Picture Ben Kenobi living in seclusion for 20 years "far from the centre of the universe." It's likely he is as cutoff from the news of the galaxy as could only happen on a desolate desert planet. Twenty years of isolation have perhaps beaten Ben down, indeed look at him! Until the Prequels came along I think we all assumed Ben was a very old man when in fact he's in his 50's. His weathered appearance, his limp as he rushes through Mos Eisley, his comment that he's "too old for this sort of thing" all reveal a man with a broken spirit. Too broken to believe that there may be more of his kind out in the galaxy.
Ben's role on Tatooine was to watch over Luke until the time was right. Basically hurry up and wait. Wait without knowing what was going on in the galaxy. Look at Ben's reactions when Luke refers to 'Obi-Wan' that first time in the Jundland Wastes or when he reacts to Leia's holographic message. This is a man who has been waiting to take action, but is stunned when he finally has to.
By having a Jedi appear during Rebels achieves two important themes:
-As the Empire asserts it's power, there is still hope in the galaxy for good. That hope may be a few more years away, but it's still there.
-Meeting Ben Kenobi in Episode 4 for the first time will now create a link between Rebels and the role of the reemerging Jedi in the Original Trilogy.
Just like with Ahsoka, Kanan will be a character that we will want to know his ultimate fate. Perhaps we already know it when Yoda tells Luke in Return of the Jedi, “when gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be.”