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What, besides acting out the role of 'Old Ben the Hermit', did Obi-Wan do on Tatooine in between bringing Luke to his Uncle and saving Luke from the Sand People years later?

Did he have a trade, or was there another way he was able to support himself?

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Obi-Wan's life on Tatooine is detailed in the canon comics (Marvel Star Wars #7), the Inside the Worlds factbook and the animated Star Wars webtoon by Hong Jacga.

He makes items for sale and repairs small electrical devices

Image of text transcribed below Image of text transcribed below

Image of Obi-Wan's home, with text transcribed below

Ben Kenobi's simple house consists of one main room in which he lives and sleeps. He uses the natural cellar for food and water storage, and constructs mechanical items, for trading with Jawas, on a workbench.

This ageing Jedi spends most days meditating and walking the remote canyons that make up the unrelenting surroundings. He has no vehicle, but occasionally rides into Mos Eisley in a Jawa Sandcrawler to purchase provisions

Obi-Wan sees few beings other than Jawas, from whom he obtains foodstuffs and spare parts — though his reputation as a wizard causes many Jawas and even a few Sand People, to avoid him. There are some who, out of fear, present Old Ben with gifts intended to appease him.

Large amounts of time were spent in meditation or just sitting around being bored

Two panels of a comic. The first shows the silhouette of Obi-Wan looking at the house where Luke and Lar's live. The second panel shows Obi-Wan looking down on a young Luke at Luke's family home. The text is from Obi-Wan, which reads: "One day blurred into the next, with little to distinguish them. Instead of sith lords and bounty hunters, my days were spent battling monotony and boredom. I should have been busier than ever. I should have been training the boy."

He used his Jedi powers to protect Luke and the Lars family's farm

Two comic panels. In the first Obi-Wan faces off against raiders who are pointing a large gun at him; the raiders have arrived in a speeder. The raider speaks to Obi-Wan: "It's too hot for death wishes old man. Move along and die of thirst like everybody else." Obi-Wan replies: "You've taken enough water for the day, and you should return to Jabba's before a dust storms comes. And I should mind my business", it's clear that Obi-Wan has used a jedi mind trick as in the second panel, the raider pressing a gun to Obi-Wan's face, but replies: "We've taken enough water for the day, we should return to Jabba's before one of those dust storms comes. And you should mind your damn business old man."

After a while, Owen asked him not to come around anymore.

Three small panels float against a white background. Owen Lars, leans against whitewashed wall, looking petulant. In the second panel, Owen's bubble just shows dots, but Obi-Wan in the foreground facing away from the reader, his speech bubble reads: "That Krayt Dragon might have killed kids if I didn't followed them. He's barely hurt so he should be ok." In the last panel, Owen's speech bubble appears from off to the side, Obi-Wan looks unimpressed. Owen's speech bubble reads: "I appreciate that you saved Luke. But please us alone, and do not come back."

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The main thing he did was watch over Luke. That was his main purpose there, as he said to Bail Organa and Yoda on Polis Massa. Yoda says "To Tatooine, to his family, take him.", and Obi-Wan says "I will take the boy and watch over him." There are many instances in the legends where he 'saves' Luke from skirmishes, etc. even though Luke's Uncle Owen wasn't too happy about that.

With regards to his own life, he continued with his training, despite not having a master with him. As Yoda says to Obi-Wan on Polis Massa, Obi-Wan's old master Qui-Gon had contacted him and had found the way to 'come back' to the world of the living and interact with people. Qui-Gon had not completed his own training, so he could only come back as a voice (I think), but he told Yoda how to do it. Yoda taught Obi-Wan, and he spent at least some time on Tatooine training with this particular 'power'.

This last part is just speculation, but he might also have travelled at least around the immediate vicinity of where he lived and where Luke lived, and got to know a bit more about the planet he was on. Evidenced by:

  • He knew a deal more about Sand People than Luke, though Luke had been living there as long as Obi-Wan. When Obi-Wan and Luke found the butchered bodies of the Jawas who found C-3PO and R2-D2, Luke suggested it might have been the Sand People who attacked them. But Obi-Wan says that the blaster marks on the Sandcrawler were too accurate for Sand People, and guessed correctly that it had been Imperial Troopers who killed the Jawas. He probably interacted with the Sand People enough to know how well they shot. When he saved Luke from them, he also knew how to scare them off.
  • He was familiar with the denizens of Mos Eisley. While Luke did mention the town in the movie, when they actually went there, it was Obi-Wan who somehow knew exactly how and where to find a smuggler. If he'd simply found a passenger ship, this could be waved off. I'm sure many people would want to leave Tatooine, and would not need to do it so hush-hush, so a simple cruise ship would be what most travellers look for. But Obi-Wan found a smuggler of all things, and normal people who are unfamiliar with the place would not be able to find one that easily.
  • He also knew Chewbacca. While in Episode 3, we see that Chewbacca formerly knew Yoda and helped him escape Kashyyyk after nearly being killed, we also see that Chewie remained on the planet, and did not follow Yoda to Polis Massa. So, since that is the only moment before Episode 4 where Chewie appears, and he does not meet Obi-Wan then, it only makes sense that Obi-Wan only met Chewie after he started living on Tatooine.

EDIT: From the wiki, the cantina on Mos Eisley was indeed a popular gathering place for spacers, smugglers, and the centre of a host of criminal activity in Mos Eisley. So you could argue that Obi-Wan might have simply heard about the place, brought Luke there, and met Chewbacca by chance. But to have asked around for smugglers who were willing to evade Imperial Troopers would have attracted too many unwanted questions and rumours. There was a very high chance that some smuggler could have rejected them, and then tattled to the Imperials for money, if Obi-Wan had simply walked in without a plan. In fact, someone did tattle to the Troopers just before the Millennium Falcon took off.

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    @DanielRoseman, perhaps... But unless he had some prior knowledge about Chewbacca, finding a smuggler's ship wouldn't have been very easy for a newbie. For example, why did he go to Chewie, who was the first mate and not even a captain of his own ship, unless he knew Chewie at least a bit. Why not look directly for a captain? And prefarably one who spoke English? – ASH-Aisyah Sep 20 '16 at 11:27
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    If it really was the first time they ever knew of each other, convincing Chewie to take them to Han to smuggle them away would have been very difficult. I mean, think about it. An old man simply walks into a bar in what is obviously a shady part of the town, flashes a lightsaber around and kills at least one person, then just asks the room at random "Hi, me and my boy are running from the all-powerful empire and we'd like someone to hide us on their ship to take us to Alderaan. Anyone interested?". Not likely. – ASH-Aisyah Sep 20 '16 at 11:30
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    But isn't that the whole point of the cantina? It's the place that dodgy deals are done. – Daniel Roseman Sep 20 '16 at 11:37
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    @DanielRoseman I guess I always thought of it as this: If someone wasn't familiar with a place and the people/customs, they would have no idea where to go for a dodgy deal. They wouldn't know where the smugglers/pirates/thieves hang out, and even if they did get there, it would be pretty obvious that they were inexperienced, and would probably get cheated. Also, they would automatically look for the captains of ships to directly deal with them. I guess you could take it a different way, but it really seemed like Obi-Wan was very comfortable in the cantina and around Chewie. – ASH-Aisyah Sep 20 '16 at 12:43
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    Then again... Hahaha I just remembered we were talking about Obi-Wan, probably one of the most amazing Jedi ever... :P I guess you could put all I just said down to his Jedi training and experience... :) – ASH-Aisyah Sep 20 '16 at 12:50

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