Obi-Wan Kenobi is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe. He is one of the protagonists in the Star Wars series; along with Anakin Skywalker, R2-D2, and C-3PO, he is one of the few major characters to appear (in some form or another) in each of the six Star Wars films. He is portrayed in the original trilogy by Sir Alec Guinness and in the prequel trilogy by Ewan McGregor.
Obi-Wan first appears in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, seemingly a mysterious hermit known as Ben Kenobi. He is soon revealed to be an exiled Jedi Master, who then tutors Luke Skywalker to use the Force. In the prequel films, he appears as a young Jedi, progressing from apprentice, to knight, to master on the Jedi High Council.
Original trilogy Edit
A New Hope Edit
Obi-Wan Kenobi's first appearance within the fictional Star Wars universe was in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), played by Sir Alec Guinness. Obi-Wan provides a shaman-like figure who acts as counsel to the orphan character Luke Skywalker, and represents the hero archetype of the "Wise Old Man". The Shaman (also known as the Swordmaster) has influence within stories and myths that derives from “personal experience, not a societal ordination.”
In the film, Obi-Wan 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 is known to the inhabitants of Tatooine as Ben Kenobi, an eccentric hermit who lives in the Jundland Wastes in a rustic hovel (he had assumed this identity to hide from the Empire). Obi-Wan brings Luke to his home to recuperate from the Tusken Raider attack and reveals his knowledge of the force and his participation in past galactic events, such as The Clone Wars. Luke displays immediate interest in the subject, which prompts Obi-Wan to divulge his relationship with Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker and his past as a Jedi Knight. Obi-Wan then gives young Luke Anakin's former lightsaber, stating that his father had wanted him to have it when he was old enough. When Luke asks Obi-Wan about the nature of his father's death, Obi-Wan twists the truth, and says "a young Jedi named Darth Vader... betrayed and murdered your father." R2-D2 then plays the message from Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) asking for Obi-Wan's help in delivering the schematics of the Death Star to her foster father on Alderaan. Obi-Wan invites Luke to accompany him to Alderaan and aid the Rebellion against the Empire, but Luke initially refuses. After the murder of his aunt and uncle, Luke decides that he has no longer has any obligation to remain on Tatooine and Obi-Wan takes young Luke under his wing in order to teach him the ways of the Force. An action again tying into the concept of the Shaman who provides " “not only a physical instrument but a psychological commitment and psychological center.”
Obi-Wan and Luke make their way to Mos Eisley, "a wretched hive of scum and villainy," as described by Obi-Wan, to buy passage to Alderaan on the Millennium Falcon, a spaceship owned by Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his first mate, Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). However, before they can reach Alderaan, it is destroyed by the Death Star on the orders of Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing). After the characters initially mistake the massive Death Star for a moon, The Millennium Falcon is captured by the enormous 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 with the rescued Princess Leia. Obi-Wan then confronts Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel. As Luke and the others make a run for the Falcon, Obi-Wan disappears and becomes one with the Force leaving behind his empty robe which Vader slices through, leaving the confused Sith Lord to wonder whether Obi-Wan was indeed the more powerful.
Although he does not make any further appearances in the film, the older Jedi speaks to Luke via the Force in the film's climatic battle scene and advises, "Use the force, Luke." Luke turns off his X-Wing fighter's targeting computer, and, trusting in the Force, he fires his proton torpedoes and destroys the battle station. Luke then hears Obi-Wan's voice telling him, "The Force will be with you, always."
The Empire Strikes Back Edit
In the first sequel Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Obi-Wan's appearances are more limited. The character appears as a Force ghost at the start of the film and instructs Luke Skywalker to go to the Dagobah system for further training with the only surviving 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 Leia hostage. He feels his young apprentice is not yet ready to face Vader one-on-one and fears the results would be fatal. 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.
Return of the Jedi Edit
In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983), set one year later, a dying Yoda confirms to Luke that Vader is indeed his father. After Yoda's death, Obi-Wan appears on Dagobah as a Force Ghost to explain to a heartbroken Luke why he did not tell him the truth about his father, and to confess that Leia is his sister. Obi-Wan admits that his own pride had been partly to blame for Anakin Skywalker's fall from grace: "I thought I could instruct him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong." 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 fellow Jedi masters 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.
Prequel trilogy Edit
The Phantom Menace Edit
In the first film of the prequel trilogy Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), Obi-Wan, now played by Ewan McGregor, is seen as an apprentice Jedi aged 25 years. At the start of the film, Obi-Wan accompanies his master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) on a mission to Naboo. Within the narrative, the character of Obi-Wan now represents the hero archetype and Qui-Gon represents that of the shaman.
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are sent as representatives of the Republic to discuss negotiations with the Trade Federation, who are blockading Naboo, ruled by Queen Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman). 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 the Queen. After making an unscheduled landing on Tatooine, Qui-Gon meets Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), a young slave owned by Watto, a junk dealer. The young boy shows tremendous potential with the Force, and Qui-Gon later discovers that Anakin has the highest number of midi-chlorians known and, therefore, he believes the boy to be the prophesied "Chosen One" who would bring balance to the Force by destroying the Sith; Qui-Gon asks the Jedi Council that the boy be trained as a Jedi. Obi-Wan is also amazed by Anakin's unprecedented Force potential, but 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, in whom they sense a great deal of fear and a clouded future.
During the film's climactic battle scene Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan battle a Sith Lord known as Darth Maul (Ray Park). Maul operates a double-bladed lightsaber, and is able to fight both Jedi at once. During the battle, however, Obi-Wan is separated from Maul and Qui-Gon, who is killed after Maul distracts the aging Jedi by striking him in the face with the handle of his lightsaber and then plunging the blade into his chest. Obi-Wan is visibly heart broken over his master's defeat and immediately 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 saber to 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 take it upon himself to train Anakin whether the Council grants him the right to or not. Yoda reluctantly agrees, but warns Obi-Wan to be careful training the troubled child.
Attack of the Clones Edit
In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002), set 10 years after the events of The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan has become an experienced Jedi Knight. However, his relationship with his Padawan, Anakin (now played by Hayden Christensen) is strained; the jedi-in-training has grown powerful but arrogant, and believes that Obi-Wan is trying to hold him back out of jealousy or fear. Nonetheless, the duo share a deep bond, with Anakin telling Obi-Wan that he is the closest thing to a father he has ever had.
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 called Darth Sidious (though he does not reveal who Sidious is, or where Obi-Wan might find him).
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 easily 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. Obi-Wan gives Anakin his lightsaber to help him in the duel. Dooku and Anakin fight a short duel, and Dooku cuts off Anakin's right lower hand (which is later replaced by a robotic prosthetic). Yoda arrives and fights Dooku as well, but the Sith uses the force to put Obi-Wan and Anakin in peril of being crushed, and escapes as Yoda helps them.
Revenge of the Sith Edit
In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), set three years after the events of 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 Skywalker, now a full-fledged Jedi Knight, remains his partner.
Obi-Wan and Anakin 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 a confident Anakin manages to defeat the Sith by slicing off both his hands. At Palpatine's urging, Anakin violates the Jedi Code, which forbids killing an unarmed prisoner and executes the defenseless Count. Palpatine assures Anakin that what he did was right, reassuring the Jedi that his revenge on Dooku (as well as his incident with the Tusken Raiders) was justified and that Dooku was "too dangerous to be left alive".
After returning to Coruscant, Yoda soon leaves to assist in the Battle of Kashyyyk. Not long after, Obi-Wan is called away to Utapau to confront General Grievous. Meanwhile, Anakin is angry at the Jedi Council for not granting him the rank of Master, and is also troubled by visions of his secret and pregnant wife Padmé dying in childbirth. With Obi-wan and Yoda on opposite ends of the galaxy, Palpatine (who is secretly Darth Sidious) continues to tempt Anakin to the dark side of the force, promising infinite and greater powers that Jedis do not possess such as preventing death. Haunted by nightmares of Padme's possible death and guilt-ridden at not being able to save his mother, Anakin betrays and helps destroy Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson). He later succumbs to Sidious and takes him as his new master, becoming the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
After finding the Separatist encampment, Obi-Wan engages Grievous in combat and kills him with a blaster after a long, hard-fought battle. Not long after, Palpatine issues Order 66, directing clone troopers to turn on their Jedi generals. Obi-Wan survives the attempt on his life and escapes by stealing Grievous' star fighter and rendezvousing with Senator Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) and Yoda aboard Organa's ship, the Tantive IV.
Along with Yoda and Bail, Obi-Wan returns to Coruscant, where he and Yoda discover that every Jedi in the Jedi Temple has been murdered, even the younglings. Obi-Wan reprogrammes a beacon, which had been instructing all remaining Jedi to return to the Jedi Temple (where they surely would be killed), by instructing them to scatter across the galaxy and remain in hiding. A heartbroken Obi-Wan then watches a security video showing Anakin leading the assault on the temple and accepting Darth Sidious as his master. Subsequently, Obi-Wan and Yoda split up to confront the two Sith Lords: Obi-Wan to fight Darth Vader and Yoda to battle Darth Sidious. Obi-Wan wishes to fight Sidious, to avoid having to kill his friend and former pupil, but Yoda insists that Obi-Wan is not strong enough to fight Sidious, and would have to accept that Anakin had been "consumed by Darth Vader."
Unaware of his former Padawan's location, Obi-Wan visits Padmé and explains to her what Anakin has done. A horrified Padmé refuses to believe what Obi-Wan tells her (Anakin's murder of the younglings, and his turn to the dark side) and will not reveal Anakin's whereabouts, knowing that Obi-Wan will attempt to kill him. Before departing, Obi-Wan tells Padme that he knows Anakin is the father of her unborn child. Eager to know the truth, Padmé sets out to the Mustafar system to confront Anakin herself as Obi-Wan secretly stows away in her ship.
Arriving at the volcanic planet Mustafar, Padmé realizes what Obi-Wan has told her about Anakin to be true. When Obi-Wan emerges from Padmé's ship, an enraged Anakin immediately suspects that Padmé has betrayed him and Force chokes her to unconsciousness. Obi-Wan attempts to reason with Anakin but realizes his friend is no more and that "only a Sith deals in absolute". He reluctantly ignites his lightsaber as Jedi and Sith duel throughout Mustafar's control center. After a lengthy clash, Anakin's overconfidence gets the best of him and he is cut down in mid-air by Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan takes Anakin's fallen lightsaber and watches as his former friend is consumed by the fires of the molten lava. Believing Anakin to be dead, a saddened Obi-Wan leaves the planet. Anakin survives his injuries long enough to be rescued by Palpatine and later outfits himself in the iconic black body armor, fully becoming Darth Vader.
Obi-Wan watches helplessly after Padmé has "no will to live" and dies after bearing twin children. Luke is put on Tatooine with Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton) and Obi-Wan agrees to look after him in secret, while his twin sister Leia is adopted by Bail Organa of Alderaan. Yoda, unsuccessful in his confrontation with Sidious, then tells Obi-Wan that he has more training for him: the spirit of Qui-Gon would teach him how to be a "Force ghost"—to be able to retain his identity through the Force and commune with the living after death.
Expanded Universe Edit
Clone Wars series Edit
Obi-Wan is a major character in the animated microseries, Star Wars: Clone Wars and its sequel series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which both cover the period between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. He is voiced by James Arnold Taylor.
Among Obi-Wan's adventures in the series are a battle with the Intergalactic Banking Clan and an air strike on the planet Rattatak. In the series' 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. It is also revealed that he is granted a seat on the Jedi Council during this time.
Obi-Wan's exploits before, during, and after both the prequel and original trilogies are detailed in many Expanded Universe novels.
Pre-Phantom Menace Edit
Obi-Wan's life prior to The Phantom Menace is portrayed mostly in Jude Watson's Jedi Apprentice series, which follow his adventures as Qui-Gon'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.
Circa Clone Wars Edit
Post-Revenge of the SithEdit
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.
Post-Return of the Jedi Edit
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 Sri-ruuk; 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 Edit
He appears in many video games, particularly as a playable character in all three Lego Star Wars, The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith video games, Star Wars: Obi-Wan and Battlefront II and Renegade Squadron of the Battlefront series. The older version, Ben Kenobi, is only playable in Lego Star Wars, Revenge of the Sith, Renegade Squadron and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and in multiplayer mode as a playable character. He will also appear in the new Clone Wars video game series as a playable character.
Comic books Edit
In this series, 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.
Inspirations and parodies Edit
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 nightclub shown in the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is called "Club Obi-Wan."
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episode "Star Koopa", being a spoof of Star Wars (which had the original trilogy, comprised with episodes IV, V and VI, complete at the time), also had its own parody of Obi-Wan Kenobi called Obi-Wan Toadi.
In the MMORPG World of Warcraft, when a priest character dies, they have a chance of becoming a "Spirit of Redemption" for 15 seconds. The description of this effect is "You have become more powerful then anyone can possibly imagine", echoing Obi-Wan's last words.
In the short film Thumb Wars Obi-Wan is parodied by 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 (e.g. How big is the Eiffel Tower?: 1.quite big 2.not so big 3.I don't know 4.Obi-Wan Kenobi).
The Council of the Commune Lubicz in Poland passed a resolution No. XXVIII/373/04 dated 30th Dec 2004 giving the name Obi-Wan Kenobi to one of the streets in Grabowiec village. 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.
See also Edit
- 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
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace by Patricia Wrede.
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones by Patricia Wrede.
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith by Patricia Wrede.
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope by William Ryder
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back by William Ryder
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi by William Ryder
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