I watched the original Star Wars movie this weekend with the kids, and relived the greatest disappointment of my childhood: the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Actually, the death scene itself was lovely. You got to see him evaporate as Darth’s light saber hit him, like the witch in the Wizard of Oz. Darth was left alone, kicking the robes and wondering what just happened. “[shhhhhck] Hey! [shhhhhck] Come back here, old man! [shhhhhck] That is not fair, I totally cut you in half. [shhhhhck]”
No, the disappointing part was the aftermath of this battle. Before he died, Obi-Wan told Darth, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Then he waited until he saw Luke was watching (which is more than a little creepy), raised his weapon and let himself be popped like a piñata.
This was an awesome lead-up into something wonderful. Would he become a god and smite Darth? Would he become Luke’s protector? Would he add power to the light side of the force, like some human turbo-booster? Or was he just screwing with Darth and wasn’t going to die at all? I couldn’t wait - it was going to be fantastic.
And then.... nothing. Zilch. Except for a couple of “Use the force, Luke” and “Hey, Luke, listen to me, you young whippersnapper!” Obi-Wan became a total non-force in the story. He returned for a couple of lame cameos in episodes V and VI, but didn’t do much besides play a supporting role as a low-res hologram, mumbling on about the force and how kids these days should listen to their elders more.
This awesome warrior let himself be killed just to end up as a minor cameo character spouting soundbites; that was the greatest disappointment of my childhood.
The greatest disappointment of my adulthood was years away and would come in several installments: Star Wars episodes I, II, and III.