Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan Kenobi
Star Wars character

Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Portrayed by Alec Guinness
(Episodes IV–VI,
The Star Wars Holiday Special)
Bernard Behrens
(Star Wars Radio Adaptation)
Ewan McGregor
(Episodes I – III)
Voiced by James Arnold Taylor
(Clone Wars series, video games)
Fictional profile
Species Human
Gender Male
Position Jedi Padawan
Jedi Knight
Jedi Master
Jedi Council Member
Jedi High General
Homeworld Stewjon[1]
Affiliation Jedi Order
Galactic Republic
Rebel Alliance

Obi-Wan Kenobi is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe. He is one of several primary characters in the Star Wars series. Along with Darth Vader, R2-D2, and C-3PO, he is one of the few major characters to appear in all six Star Wars films. He is portrayed in the original trilogy by Alec Guinness, in the prequel trilogy by Ewan McGregor and is voiced by James Arnold Taylor in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars film and television series. His role in the original trilogy is of a mentor, whereas the prequels see him as a central protagonist.

Obi-Wan Kenobi first appears in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Luke Skywalker, the film's main protagonist, had previously known him as a mysterious hermit called Ben Kenobi. Soon, Obi-Wan reveals himself to be an exiled Jedi Knight, and begins to tutor Luke in the ways of the Force, a mysterious energy field harnessed by the Jedi. In the prequel films, Obi-Wan first appears in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as a Jedi padawan, or apprentice, and eventually becomes a Jedi Knight and mentor to young Anakin Skywalker, Luke's father. In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, he is shown to have progressed from the rank of Jedi Knight to Jedi Master. Finally, in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, he becomes an experienced Jedi Master and Council Member, fighting in the Clone Wars alongside Anakin, his pupil and best friend. He holds these titles under the Galactic Republic until it is replaced by the Galactic Empire—due in large part to Anakin's betrayal—and he is forced into hiding.




Original trilogy

Obi-Wan Kenobi is first introduced in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), played by Alec Guinness. He is first seen rescuing Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) from a group of Tusken Raiders, who ambush him during a search for a missing droid, R2-D2 (Kenny Baker). Obi-Wan reveals that he knew Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker, and served with him in the Clone Wars as a Jedi Knight. He gives Luke Anakin's lightsaber, and tells him that "a young Jedi named Darth Vader... betrayed and murdered your father." Obi-Wan offers to instruct Luke in the ways of The Force, but Luke initially refuses. He changes his mind after his aunt and uncle are murdered, however, and Obi-Wan takes him along to deliver the plans for the Death Star to Alderaan.

Obi-Wan and Luke buy passage to Alderaan on the Millennium Falcon, a spaceship piloted by smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his first mate Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). However, before they can reach Alderaan, the planet is destroyed by the Death Star on the orders of Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing). The Millennium Falcon is captured by the space station's tractor beam. After their capture, Obi-Wan sneaks into the core of the Death Star and disables the tractor beam so that the Falcon can escape. Obi-Wan then confronts Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel, eventually sacrificing himself so that Luke and the others can escape. He becomes a spirit in the Force, his body disappearing under Vader's blade.

He speaks to Luke telepathically in the film's climactic battle scene, telling him to use the Force to destroy the Death Star. Luke turns off his X-Wing fighter's targeting computer, and, trusting in the Force, fires his proton torpedoes, scoring a direct hit that destroys the battle station. Luke then hears Obi-Wan's voice telling him, "The Force will be with you, always."

In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), set three years after A New Hope, Obi-Wan appears as a Force ghost and instructs Luke to go to the Dagobah system for further training with Jedi Master Yoda (Frank Oz). After Luke has been further trained in the teachings of the Jedi, Obi-Wan once again appears in the Dagobah swamp to try and dissuade him from going to Cloud City, where Vader holds Han and Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) hostage. After Luke insists on facing Vader, Obi-Wan warns Luke that he would not be able to interfere, and Luke would have to face him alone. During Luke's battle with Vader, in which he loses his right hand, he learns that the Sith Lord is his father.

In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983), set six months after The Empire Strikes Back, (as per the novelization) Obi-Wan appears on Dagobah to talk with Luke, who has just learned from a dying Yoda that Vader is indeed his father. He explains Anakin Skywalker's fall from grace, and helps Luke realize that Leia is his sister. He then tries to explain to Luke that killing Vader is the only way to destroy the Empire and save the galaxy. At the end of the film, Obi-Wan's ghost appears alongside the ghosts of Yoda and a redeemed Anakin Skywalker on the forest moon of Endor, watching over Luke and his comrades as they celebrate the destruction of the second Death Star and the end of the Empire.

Prequel trilogy

In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), set 32 years before A New Hope, Obi-Wan, now played by Ewan McGregor, is seen as a young Jedi Padawan.[2] At the start of the film, Obi-Wan accompanies his master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) on a mission to Naboo to discuss negotiations with the Trade Federation, who are blockading the planet. However, upon their arrival on the Federation flagship, they are attacked by battle droids and are forced to retreat down to the planet. In the swampy forests of Naboo, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan meet a clumsy Gungan named Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best), who assists the Jedi in reaching Queen Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman). While narrowly escaping the Trade Federation blockade, the ship is damaged and has to make an unscheduled landing on Tatooine, Qui-Gon meets Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), a young slave who shows such tremendous potential in the Force that Qui-Gon believes him to be the "Chosen One" of Jedi prophecy, destined to bring balance to the Force by destroying the Sith. Obi-Wan initially believes the boy is too old and has too many emotional attachments to become a Jedi. The Jedi Council agrees with Obi-Wan, and forbids Anakin's training, sensing that the boy's future is clouded by the fear he exhibits.

During the film's climactic battle scene, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan battle the Sith Lord Darth Maul (Ray Park). After Maul fatally wounds Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan attempts to vanquish Maul by himself. After being disarmed and nearly falling to his death, Obi-Wan uses the Force to pull his master's abandoned lightsaber into his hand and cuts Maul in half. Obi-Wan then runs to his master's side, and the dying Qui-Gon pleads with him to train Anakin in the ways of the Jedi. Obi-Wan promises that he will.

For his heroics in defeating a Sith (making him the first Jedi in 1,000 years to do so), Yoda personally bestows to him the rank of Jedi Knight. Obi-Wan then states that he will train Anakin with or without the Council's permission. Yoda reluctantly agrees, but warns Obi-Wan to be careful with the troubled boy.[3]

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002), set 10 years after The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan has become a young Jedi Master. However, his relationship with his Padawan, Anakin (now played by Hayden Christensen) is strained; the Chosen One has grown powerful but arrogant, and believes that Obi-Wan is trying to hold him back.

He and Anakin are tasked with protecting Padmé, now a Senator, after an attempt is made on her life. Obi-Wan tracks the mysterious assassin to the planet Kamino, and learns about a massive clone army that the planet's inhabitants are building for the Galactic Republic. He then meets with the bounty hunter Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison), the template for the clones, and figures out that he is the one responsible for the assassination attempts on Padmé. Obi-Wan attempts to apprehend Fett, who escapes to Geonosis with his unaltered clone Boba (Daniel Logan). Obi-Wan follows them by placing a homing beacon on Fett's ship, Slave I.

On Geonosis, Obi-Wan learns of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, also known as the Separatists, a conspiracy of star systems that wants to secede from the Republic. The renegades are led by former Jedi Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), who was once Qui-Gon's master. Obi-Wan is captured shortly after sending a message to Anakin. While Obi-Wan is in captivity, Dooku reveals that the Galactic Senate is under the control of a Sith Lord named Darth Sidious.

Later, Anakin and Padmé arrive on Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan. They are themselves captured, however, and all three are sentenced to death by the Geonosians. The executions are prevented by the timely arrival of Jedi and clone reinforcements, led by Jedi Masters Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and Yoda. Obi-Wan and Anakin confront Dooku and they engage in a lightsaber duel. Dooku strikes Anakin with Force lightning, then turns the deadly barrage onto Obi-Wan, who blocks the attack with his lightsaber. The two duel and Dooku outmanoeuvres Obi-Wan, wounding him on both his left arm and leg. Dooku is about to deliver a killing blow when Anakin recovers from the lightning and blocks Dooku's attack. Dooku and Anakin fight a short duel, and Dooku cuts off Anakin's right lower arm (which is later replaced by a robotic prosthetic). Yoda arrives and fights Dooku as well, but the Sith Lord puts Anakin and Obi-Wan in mortal danger in order to create a distraction, and escapes.[4]

In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), set three years after Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan is now a Jedi Master on the High Jedi Council and a general in the Army of the Republic. Anakin, now a full-fledged Jedi Knight, remains his partner, and the two have become war heroes and best friends. They are sent on a mission to rescue Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who has been kidnapped by Dooku and Separatist leader General Grievous (Matthew Wood). When they find the captive Palpatine, Count Dooku engages them both in a duel. Obi-Wan is rendered unconscious by Dooku, but Anakin defeats the Sith Lord by cutting off both his hands. At Palpatine's urging, Anakin kills the defenseless Count in cold blood, a violation of the Jedi Code. Palpatine then tries to convince Anakin to leave the unconscious Obi-Wan behind. Anakin refuses, insisting to Palpatine that "his fate will be the same as ours".

Soon after returning to Coruscant, Obi-Wan is called away to Utapau to confront General Grievous. Meanwhile, Anakin is angry at the Jedi Council for refusing him the rank of Master, and is also troubled by visions of Padmé, whom he married in the previous film, dying in childbirth. With Obi-Wan on the opposite end of the galaxy, Palpatine—who is in reality Darth Sidious—eventually corrupts Anakin to the dark side of the Force and takes him as his Sith apprentice, Darth Vader.

After finding the Separatist encampment, Obi-Wan engages Grievous in battle, eventually killing him with a blaster. At the same time, Palpatine issues Order 66, directing clone troopers to turn on their Jedi generals. Obi-Wan survives the attempt on his life and escapes, rendezvousing with Yoda and Senator Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) of Alderaan aboard Organa's ship, the Tantive IV. Obi-Wan returns to Coruscant, where he and Yoda discover that every Jedi in the Jedi Temple has been murdered, even the children. Obi-Wan sends a beacon to all surviving Jedi, instructing them to scatter across the galaxy and remain in hiding. A heartbroken Obi-Wan then watches a security hologram revealing that the assassin, Darth Vader, is actually Anakin. Subsequently, Obi-Wan and Yoda split up to confront the two Sith Lords: Obi-Wan to fight Vader and Yoda to battle Palpatine. Obi-Wan wishes to fight Sidious to avoid having to kill his best friend, but Yoda insists that Obi-Wan is not strong enough to fight the new Emperor of the galaxy, and would have to accept that the Anakin he knows no longer exists, having been "consumed by Darth Vader."

Unaware of his former Padawan's location, Obi-Wan visits Padmé and explains to her what Vader has done. Padmé refuses to believe him, and will not reveal Vader's whereabouts, knowing that Obi-Wan will attempt to kill him. At this point, Obi-Wan realizes Padmé is pregnant with Vader's child and tells her he is sorry for what he is about to do. Padmé sets out to the Mustafar system to confront her husband herself, and Obi-Wan secretly stows away in her ship.

Arriving on Mustafar, Padmé confronts Vader and realizes with horror that Obi-Wan had been telling the truth. When Obi-Wan emerges from Padmé's ship, an enraged Vader immediately suspects that Padmé has betrayed him and uses the dark side of the Force to choke her into unconsciousness. Obi-Wan and Vader then fight a furious lightsaber duel, which ends with Obi-Wan severing Vader's legs and left arm in midair. As Vader lies defeated, he shouts to Obi-Wan that he hates him, to which Obi-Wan, in tears, responds, "You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you." Vader then slides too close to a lava flow and catches fire, almost burning to death. Unable to bring himself to deliver a fatal blow, Obi-Wan retrieves his former apprentice's lightsaber and returns to the shuttle, leaving Vader to die. However, Vader holds onto his life long enough to be rescued by Palpatine, who rebuilds him as the black armor-clad cyborg first seen in the original trilogy. Obi-Wan senses Vader's grief for Padmé from afar, and realises Vader is still alive.

Obi-Wan watches helplessly as Padmé loses the will to live, although physically healthy, and dies after giving birth to twins. Luke is put on Tatooine with Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton), Anakin's stepbrother, and Obi-Wan agrees to look after him in secret; Luke's twin sister Leia, meanwhile, is adopted by Bail Organa. Yoda, unsuccessful in his confrontation with Palpatine, then tells Obi-Wan that he has more training for him: Qui-Gon's spirit will teach him how to retain his identity through the Force and commune with the living after death. The film ends as Obi-Wan gives the infant Luke to Lars and his wife Beru (Bonnie Piesse), and disappears into the distance.

Expanded universe

Obi-Wan Kenobi appears extensively in the Star Wars "Expanded Universe" of comic books, novels, and video games. This material portrays the events in the character's life outside of the six films.


Obi-Wan is a major character in the animated microseries Star Wars: Clone Wars and the CGI animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which both cover the period between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. It is also revealed that he is granted a seat on the Jedi Council during this time. Obi-Wan is voiced by James Arnold Taylor in both versions.

Among Obi-Wan's adventures in the microseries are a battle with the Intergalactic Banking Clan and an air strike on the planet Rattatak. In the microseries' final episode, he and Anakin are sent to the Outer Rim of the galaxy, a journey that climaxes in a quest to save the planet Nelvaan from the Techno Union.


Many Expanded Universe novels detail Obi-Wan's exploits before, during, and after the six films.

Obi-Wan's life prior to The Phantom Menace is portrayed mostly in Jude Watson's Jedi Apprentice and Jedi Quest series. The Jedi Apprentice books follow his adventures as Qui-Gon Jinn's Padawan. Notable events in the series include battling the Dark Jedi Xanatos, falling in love with fellow Padawan Siri Tachi, and going on his first independent mission. As for the relationship between him and Siri, she is killed during the Clone Wars; after Obi-Wan is killed by Darth Vader and becomes one with the force, he meets Siri and she promises that they can now be together and that she will always be by his side. The Jedi Quest books detail his adventures with Anakin in the years leading up to Attack of the Clones.

His heroism just before and during the Clone Wars is portrayed in novels such as Outbound Flight, The Approaching Storm, and The Cestus Deception.

Obi-Wan's life between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope is, so far, portrayed mostly in Jude Watson's The Last of the Jedi series. Set roughly a year after the fall of the Republic, the series follows Obi-Wan as he seeks out possible survivors of the Great Jedi Purge, most notably Anakin's former rival, Ferus Olin. The books also portray Obi-Wan adjusting to life as a hermit on Tatooine, and quietly watching over the infant Luke Skywalker. He also discovers that Vader is still alive after seeing him on the Holonet, the galaxy's official news source.

Obi-Wan appears in spirit form in many novels set after the destruction of the Empire in Return of the Jedi. In The Truce at Bakura, he appears to Luke to warn him about the threat presented by the Ssi-ruuk; in The Lost City of the Jedi, he guides Luke to the titular city on Yavin IV; in Heir to the Empire, meanwhile, he bids farewell to Luke, explaining that he must abandon his spiritual form to "move on" to a new, higher plane of consciousness. Before parting, Luke tells him that Obi-Wan was like a father to him, to which Obi-Wan replies that he loved Luke like a son.

Video games

Obi-Wan appears in many video games. He is a playable character in all four Lego Star Wars video games, Battlefront II, and Renegade Squadron of the Battlefront series. He is also the lead character in Star Wars: Obi-Wan. The older version, Ben Kenobi, is only playable in Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy and The Complete Saga, Renegade Squadron, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed in multiplayer mode. He also appears in Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Jedi Alliance, Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles and Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Lightsaber Duels as a playable character.

Comic books

In the comic book series Star Wars: Republic, Obi-Wan faces many grave threats while fighting against the Separatists. Among other notable storylines, he is kidnapped and tortured by Dooku's minion Asajj Ventress before being rescued by Anakin ("Hate & Fear"), and apprehends corrupted Jedi Master Quinlan Vos ("The Dreadnaughts of Rendili"). Throughout the series, he grows increasingly wary of Palpatine's designs on the Republic—and his influence on Anakin.

In the non-canon story "Old Wounds", set a few years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan confronts a resurrected Darth Maul on Tatooine to protect Luke Skywalker. The duel ends when Owen Lars shoots and kills Maul; he then warns Obi-Wan to stay away from his nephew. Through the Force, Obi-Wan reassures Luke that he will be there for him when needed.

Cultural impact

The character is loosely inspired by General Makabe Rokurōta, a character from The Hidden Fortress played by Toshirō Mifune, whom series creator George Lucas also considered casting as Obi-Wan.[5] Mad magazine parodied the original film under the title Star Roars and included a character named "Oldie Von Moldie"; a grizzled 97-year-old whose lightsaber runs on an extension cord. The Shanghai nightclub shown in the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is called "Club Obi-Wan" because George Lucas wrote both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones Series. A real bar/club by this name existed in the Xihai district of Beijing, China but closed in the summer of 2010. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episode "Star Koopa", being a spoof of Star Wars, also had its own parody of Obi-Wan Kenobi called Obi-Wan Toadi. The 1998 Animaniacs episode "Star Warners", which spoofed Star Wars, featured Slappy Squirrel portraying a parody of Obi-Wan Kenobi as "Slappy Wanna Nappy". In the Family Guy episode "Blue Harvest", Obi-Wan is parodied by the character Herbert. In the short film Thumb Wars Obi-Wan is parodied as the character Oobedoob Benubi. In the film his full name is Oobedoob Scooby-Doobi Benubi, "the silliest name in the galaxy". In the 1977 Star Wars parody Hardware Wars, Obi-Wan is parodied by the character "Augie Ben Doggie".

In French Internet subculture, "Obi-Wan Kenobi" became an expression meaning "your question does not make sense", and is said when one does not know what to answer but wants to respond in an amusing way. It was popularised by Les Guignols de l'info, which made a parody of the French version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in which for every question, the fourth choice was invariably "Obi-Wan Kenobi" (and the question invariably nonsense). Humorous multiple choice questionnaires made on the internet since often featured an "Obi-Wan Kenobi" option.

Television tropes[6] uses Obi-Wan's name for the archetype mentor figure.

In 2003, the American Film Institute selected Obi-Wan Kenobi as the 37th greatest movie hero of all time.[7] He was also listed as IGN's third greatest Star Wars character,[8] as well as one of UGO Networks's favorite heroes of all time.[9]

In 2004 the Council of the Commune Lubicz in Poland passed a resolution giving the name Obi-Wan Kenobi to one of the streets in Grabowiec, a small village near Toruń.[10] The street was named in 2005. The spelling of the street name, Obi-Wana Kenobiego is the genitive form of the noun in the Polish language: the street of Obi-Wan Kenobi. "ul." is an abbreviation of ulica, the Polish for street.[11]

See also


  • The New Essential Guide to Characters, 1st edition, 2002. Daniel Wallace, Michael Sutfin, ISBN 0-345-44900-2
  • Star Wars Episode I Who's Who: A Pocket Guide to Characters of the Phantom Menace, hardcover, 1999. Ryder Windham, ISBN 0-7624-0519-8
  • Star Wars: Power of Myth, 1st edition paperback, 2000. DK Publishing, ISBN 0-7894-5591-9
  • Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, hardcover, 1998. David West Reynolds, ISBN 0-7894-3481-4
  • Star Wars: The Phantom Menace: The Visual Dictionary, hardcover, 1999. David West Reynolds, ISBN 0-7894-4701-0
  • Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: The Visual Dictionary, hardcover, 2002. David West Reynolds, ISBN 0-7894-8588-5
  • Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary, hardcover, 2005. James Luceno, ISBN 0-7566-1128-8
  • Revised Core Rulebook (Star Wars Roleplaying Game), 1st edition, 2002. Bill Slavicsek, Andy Collins, J.D. Wiker, Steve Sansweet, ISBN 0-7869-2876-X
  • Star Wars Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, 1st edition, 2000. Bill Slavicsek, Andy Collins, ISBN 0-7869-1793-8

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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