Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan Kenobi

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One of the most beloved of Jedi masters, Obi-Wan Kenobi (also known as Ben Kenobi) served on the Jedi Council in the final years of the Republic Era. Kenobi was a human male and served as a Jedi General in the Grand Army in the Clone Wars, battling against the Separatist Drone army. During the Great Jedi Purge, however, he was forced into exile and hid himself away on the planet of Tatooine.

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Kenobi trained two members of the famous Skywalker family: first, Anakin Skywalker (who later turned to the Dark Side and became Darth Vader), and Anakin’s son Luke Skywalker. Each man served as Kenobi’s padawan in his youth and later became masters of the Force.

Kenobi’s home planet is Stewjon, where he was born in 57 BBY. As a Force-sensitive child he was identified and inducted in the Jedi order at a young age. He grew up in the Jedi Temple on Corsucant under the watchful eye of his master, Master Qui-Gon Jinn. Kenobi achieved his rank of Jedi Knight in 32 BBY when he defeated the Sith Lord Darth Maul on Naboo. Around that time, he took on Anakin Skywalker as his padawan, as he had promised Jinn (who had died during the duel against Darth Maul). Jinn believed Anakin to be the Chosen One, and that the boy was destined to restore balance to the Force by destroying the Sith.

By 22 BBY, Kenobi was serving as a general in the Grand Army of the Republic, leading clone troopers of the 212th Attack Battalion, along with Clone Marshall Commander CC-2224. The two leaders gained many victories over the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Things culminated in 19 BBY when Kenobi slew General Grievous during the battle of Utapau, bringing an end to the Clone Wars.

Despite the efforts of the Sith Lord Darth Sidious to eradicate the Jedi order through the purge, Kenobi survived. After Kenobi discovered that Anakin Skywalker had turned to the Dark Side, becoming Sith apprentice to Darth Sidious, and taking on the name Darth Vader, Kenobi fights and defeats his former student, leaving him on Mustafar at the point of near-certain death. Kenobi then exiled himself to the Outer Rim, to the barren and little-noticed desert planet of Tatooine. Meanwhile, the Galactic Empire continued to gain power over the bulk of the galaxy.

It was there, on that lonely planet that Obi-Wan Kenobi took on the name Ben Kenobi and lived as a hermit in the desert. He had placed Vader’s son on a moisture farm nearby and kept an eye on him over long years, ready to protect him if the need should come. The need indeed came, in 0 BBY, and Luke began to train under Kenobi’s tutelage. Kenobi then encountered Vader again, this time sacrificing himself in the duel, allowing Luke to escape and Kenobi himself to become one with the Force and in that way continue to guide and empower his new student. The Galactic Civil War came to its culmination in the final face-off between Luke and his father. In the end, Anakin turned on his master, destroying the Sith Lord in order to save Luke – but giving his own life in doing so.

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Kenobi was held in very high regard by most, and his memory honoured by the Jedi Order. Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa (Luke’s twin sister) had a child they named Ben, in honour of Kenobi. Ben Solo became a padawan of Luke, but was troubled, and also turned to the Dark Side. It was this sad event, and Luke’s struggles with blaming Kenobi for Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side, that contributed to Luke’s disillusionment and his own eventual self-exile.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Films

Original Star Wars Trilogy (1977–1983)

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) first appears in the Tatooine desert, a 57-year-old hermit going by the name of Ben Kenobi. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) run into him while searching for their lost droid, R2-D2 (Kenny Baker). More accurately, Ben runs into them, as they are being attacked by Tuscen Raiders. Ben imitates the call of a Krayt dragon, scaring the raiders off for long enough to rescue the duo and their lost droid.

Once in Kenobi’s home, R2 plays a recording of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), during which she tells him that the R2 unit holds plans for the Death Star. She tells him that the plans must get to Alderaan, and that he is her only hope of getting them there.

Kenobi reveals his real identity to Luke, and that the Jedi had been hunted and nearly exterminated by Darth Vader (portrayed by David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones) who had killed Luke’s father. Kenobi does not reveal Darth Vader’s true identity prior to turning to the Dark Side. Kenobi offers Luke his father’s lightsabre and offers to train him in the ways of the Jedi, to take him to Alderaan to fight for the Rebel Alliance. Luke declines, reluctantly, as he has responsibilities to his aunt and uncle. Once he finds them slain by Imperial Stormtroopers, however, he turns his back on that home and sets out into the stars with his new Master.

They go, with the droids, to the settlement of Mos Eisley, where Luke first sees Kenobi use the Force to trick the Imperial Stormtroopers, “These are not the droids you’re looking for,” he states, and is repeated by the commanding trooper. Weaker minds are easily manipulated by the force, Luke learns. They enter a cantina and commission notorious smugglers Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) to smuggle them to Alderaan without any “Imperial entanglements.” With a few little bumps in the plan, they make it away.

During the flight, Kenobi begins to teach Luke the ways of the Force, and how to use his new lightsabre. Suddenly, however, Kenobi is shaken by a great disturbance in the force, as if many voices had all cried out at once and then gone silent. Upon arrival at their destination, they learn the cause: Alderaan has been utterly destroyed by the new weapon, tested well ahead of schedule and functional, despite not yet being complete.

They attempt to flee but are trapped in a tractor beam and drawn into the Death Star. They hide in the smuggling compartments and disarm the guards and search team. They devise a plan to disable the tractor beam and escape. It is Kenobi’s part to disable the beam’s power, and he does so with finesse and near-silence. Luke and the others, however, have discovered the presence of the captive princess and launch a rescue, which does not go as smoothly. In the end, in order to allow them to escape, Kenobi allows Vader to strike him down, and Kenobi enters the Force.

During the climax of the film, however, when Luke most needs his teacher, Kenobi’s voice comes to him through the Force, and guides him to the needed shot.

Kenobi appears a few more times, too, in The Empire Strikes Back as a Force Ghost. He tells Luke to leave Hoth and to seek Jedi Master Yoda on the planet Degobah. When there, Kenobi appears again to convince the hesitant Master to train Luke. He appears again, urging Luke not to leave his training too early, but Luke ignores this advice in order to save his friends.

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Kenobi is back again in Return of the Jedi, appearing after Yoda’s death on Degobah. He confirms that Darth Vader is Luke’s father, and reveals that Leia is Luke’s twin sister. He urges Luke to face Vader, but Luke again refuses to follow his former master’s advice. Finally, Kenobi appears with Yoda and the now-redeemed Anakin Skywalker at the celebration on Endor, after the destruction of the second Death Star.

Prequel trilogy (1999–2005)

In Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace, set 32 years before A New Hope, Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a 25-year-old hotshot padawan apprenticed to Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). The two of them attend the negotiations with the corrupt Trade Federation which is blockading the planet Naboo. The duo descends to the planet and rescues 14-year-old Queen Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), with the help of a local creature called Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best). Their flight to the Republic capital of Corsucant is altered by engine damage and they land instead on Tatooine, where they meet Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), a nine-year-old mechanics prodigy enslaved to a local merchant. Qui-Gon believes that Anakin is the prophesied Chosen One, the one who will bring balance to the Force. They free the boy and take him with them. As they go to leave the planet, however, they are attacked by Darth Maul (portrayed by Ray Park, voiced by Peter Serafinowicz), a member of the Sith, a Dark Side cult thought to have been extinct long ago. They escape, with no loss of life.

Later, when Qui-Gon and Kenobi return to fight the Trade Federation on Naboo, they are again faced with the Sith, Darth Maul. They try to fight him, two on one, but he holds his own for most of the battle, even mortally wounding Qui-Gon. Kenobi manages a victory in the end, cutting Darth Maul asunder. Qui-Gon’s last wish is that Kenobi train the boy, Anakin, and Kenobi accepts the charge. Yoda reluctantly gives Kenobi the necessary rank of Jedi Knight and allows Anakin to be his padawan.

The events in Attack of the Clones begin ten years later. Anakin (Hayden Christensen) has been training with great success, but he is arrogant and wilful. He feels that he is being held back from his full potential, not allowed to really flourish and show what he can do.

The two of them save Pandmé, who is now a senator, from an attempted assassination, and Kenobi traces the would-be killers back to their source on the planet Kamino, while Anakin guards the senator. Kenobi learns of a massive clone army being built for the Republic. The seed for the clones, Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison), battles with Kenobi and flees with his cloned son, Boba (Daniel Logan), but Kenobi is able to secretly pursue them. On Geonosis, he discovers that there is a conspiracy against the Republic, backed by several star systems, and led by Sith-Lord Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) who was once himself, a Jedi – Qui-Gon’s old master, in fact. Kenobi is captured, questioned, and sentenced to death.

Anakin and Padmé arrive in time to save him, backed by a cadre of Jedi and the clone army. Kenobi and Anakin fight Dooku, but he is too strong for them. Yoda steps in and saves them, but Dooku is able to escape.

Set three years later, the first events of Revenge of the Sith see Kenobi as a Jedi Master now, and a member of the Jedi Council. He also serves as a general in the Grand Army of the Republic. Anakin is a Jedi Knight now, and fast friends with his former Master.

The two rescue Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) from General Grievous (Matthew Wood) on his cruiser. They battle again and, again, the master is knocked out. While Kenobi lies unconscious, Anakin defeats Dooku and is ordered by Palpatine to execute his defeated foe. Anakin obeys. 

The duo then finds the Separatist encampment, where Kenobi fights General Grievous and defeats him with an abandoned blaster. This victory is short-lived, as Emperor Palpatine – secretly Sith Lord Darth Sidious – issues Order 66, and the clone troopers turn on the unsuspecting Jedi. Many Jedi are slain, but Kenobi survives, as do Yoda and Senator Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) or Alderaan. They flee on Organa’s ship, the Tantive IV, to Corsucant, where he and Yoda discover that every Jedi present in the Jedi Temple has been slain in their absence. Kenobi sets a beacon to tell every surviving Jedi in the galaxy to flee or hide, then views the footage of the slaughter, watching his friend and student, Anakin Skywalker, kill all of the other Jedi in the temple. Anakin is now Sidious’s Sith apprentice. He has become Darth Vader. Yoda proclaims that he will go after Sidious, and that Kenobi should confront Vader. Yoda tries to encourage Kenobi, who is troubled by the thought of fighting his friend, telling Kenobi that the Anakin he knew is no more, that he was “consumed” by Vader.

Kenobi goes to Padmé for information on where Anakin might be, but finds out that she and Anakin had married in secret, and that his child was in her womb already. She sets out to confront Anakin herself, on the volcanic planet of Mustafar, and Kenobi secretly stows away in her ship. When she arrives there, and Kenobi shows up, Anakin accuses them of conspiring against him. He uses the Dark Side to choke Padmé to unconsciousness, only releasing her when Kenobi commands him to. The two men then face off and a long lightsabre battle ensures. Kenobi defeats Vader, severing his legs and left arms and seeing him catch fire at the edge of a lava flow.

Kenobi picks up Anakin’s fallen lightsabre, grabs Padmé, and flees the place, leaving Anakin for dead. He is not aware that Vader is rescued, moments later, by Darth Sidious, and his life saved.

Kenobi and Padmé go to the asteroid Polis Massa, where she gives birth to twins (Luke and Leia), but does in the process. Kenobi assists in hiding the children from the Empire. Leia goes to live as the child of Bail Organa and his wife, while Luke is taken to live with Anakin’s stepbrother, Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton), and his wife Beru (Bonnie Piesse) on Tatooine. Kenobi stays on Tatooine to watch over the infant, from a distance, until the time is right.

Sequel trilogy (2015–2019)

The Force Awakens is set 30 years after Return of the Jedi. Kenobi’s first ‘appearance’ is when the protagonist, Rey (Daisy Ridley), hears his voice when she touches Luke’s old lightsabre. ‘Rey’, he says, ‘These are your first steps.’ Ewan McGregor voice-acted these lines. The word ‘Rey’ is taken from Alec Guinness’s voice saying the word ‘afraid.’

As Rey battles her grandfather, Palpatine, in The Rise of Skywalker, she hears Kenobi’s voice among those of the other Jedi of the past, saying ‘These are your final steps, Rey. Rise, and take them… Rey…. Rise.’ Again, both the voices of Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness are used.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Quotes

Here are some popular Obi-Wan quotes from the films:

  1. “Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” / “The truth is often what we make of it; you heard what you wanted to hear, believed what you wanted to believe.”
  2. “Be mindful of your thoughts, Anakin, they betray you.”
  3. “So uncivilized.”
  4. “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”
  5. “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”
  6. “I have the high ground.”

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