Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi is a character in the Star Wars universe. He is one of several primary characters in the Star Wars series. Along with Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader), R2-D2 and C-3PO, he is one of only four characters to appear in all six Star Wars films. He is portrayed by Sir Alec Guinness in the original trilogy, and by Ewan McGregor in the prequel trilogy, and voiced by James Arnold Taylor in various other Star Wars projects.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Films[edit | edit source]
Original trilogy[edit | edit source]
First introduced in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Ben (Obi-Wan) is first seen rescuing Luke Skywalker from a group of Tusken Raiders. Ben takes Luke to his hut, where he reveals that he knew Anakin Skywalker (Luke's father) and served with him in the Clone Wars. He gives Anakin's lightsaber to Luke, having told him that Darth Vader "betrayed and murdered" Anakin. Suddenly, R2-D2 plays a message from Princess Leia that pleads for Ben to get the droid to her father on Alderaan. Ben offers to instruct Luke in the ways of the Force and asks him to join him on the quest; but Luke is only persuaded when his aunt and uncle are slain by the Empire whereupon Ben takes him to deliver the message to Alderaan.
Ben and Luke buy passage to Alderaan on the spaceship Millennium Falcon piloted by smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca; but before they reach Alderaan, the planet is destroyed by the Death Star on Grand Moff Tarkin's orders. On arrival, the Millennium Falcon is captured by the space station's tractor beam. While Luke, Chewbacca, and Han rescue Leia and attempt to get back to the Falcon, Ben disables the tractor beam so that the Falcon can escape and confronts Vader in a lightsaber duel, eventually sacrificing himself so that Luke and the others can escape.
Three years later in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Ben appears as a Force ghost and instructs Luke to visit the Dagobah system for further training under Jedi Master Yoda. After Luke has been further trained in the teachings of the Jedi, Ben appears in the Dagobah swamp to dissuade him from going to Cloud City where Vader holds Han and Leia hostage.
One year later in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Ben appears on Dagobah to talk with Luke after learning that Vader is indeed his father. He explains Anakin's fall from grace and helps Luke realize that Leia is his twin. He then tells Luke that killing Vader is the only way to destroy the Galactic Empire. At the end of the film, Ben's ghost appears alongside Yoda's ghost and Anakin's redeemed spirit on the forest moon of Endor, watching Luke and his comrades as they celebrate the second Death Star's destruction.
Prequel trilogy[edit | edit source]
In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan is depicted as a young Jedi Padawan, in which he accompanies his master Qui-Gon Jinn in negotiations with the Trade Federation, who are blockading the planet Naboo. Upon their arrival on the Federation's flagship, they are attacked by battle droids and are forced to retreat to the planet, where they meet clumsy Gungan Jar Jar Binks, who assists the Jedi in reaching Queen Padmé Amidala. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan help the queen escape Naboo on a space cruiser. In escaping the blockade, the ship is damaged and makes an unscheduled landing on Tatooine, where Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan meets Anakin, 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. The Jedi Council forbids Anakin's training, however, believing that the boy's future is clouded by the fear he exhibits.
During the Battle of Naboo, Qui-Gon is mortally wounded by the Sith Lord Darth Maul. Having nearly fallen to his death, Obi-Wan uses the Force to seize his master's lightsaber and defeats Maul. Qui-Gon's dying breath exacts his apprentice to train Anakin.
For his heroics in defeating a Sith (being the first Jedi in 1,000 years to do so), Yoda bestows on Obi-Wan the rank of Jedi Knight, and reluctantly grants him the right to train Anakin.
Ten years later in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan has become an experienced Jedi Knight while training his padawan Anakin. By this time, Anakin has grown powerful but arrogant and believes that Obi-Wan is holding him back.
He and Anakin are required to protect Senator Amidala after an attempt on her life. Obi-Wan traces the attempt to the planet Kamino and learns of a massive clone army that the planet's inhabitants are building for the Galactic Republic. He then meets with bounty hunter Jango Fett (the clones' template) and deduces that he is the one responsible for the attempts on Padmé. Obi-Wan attempts to apprehend Fett, who escapes to Geonosis with his adopted son. Obi-Wan follows them by placing a homing beacon on Fett's ship Slave I.
On Geonosis, Obi-Wan discovers the Confederacy of Independent Systems, known as the Separatists, a conspiracy of star systems bent on secession from the Republic led by Count Dooku (Darth Tyranus), another Sith Lord and Qui-Gon's former master. Obi-Wan is captured after sending a message to Anakin.
After Anakin and Padmé arrive on Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan and they are themselves captured, all three are sentenced to death by the Geonosians. The executions are prevented by the arrival of Jedi and clone reinforcements led by Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Yoda. Obi-Wan and Anakin confront Dooku in a duel, wherein Dooku strikes Anakin with Force lightning then turns to Obi-Wan. When the two duel, Dooku outmaneuvers Obi-Wan and wounds him on both his left arm and leg. Just when Dooku is about to deliver a killing blow on Obi-Wan, Anakin recovers from the lightning and blocks Dooku's attack. After Dooku defeats Anakin after a short duel, Yoda arrives and fights Dooku as well but the Sith Lord puts Obi-Wan and Anakin in mortal danger in order to create a distraction and escapes.
Three years later in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan is a Jedi Master on the High Jedi Council and a general in the Army of the Republic. Anakin (now a Jedi Knight) remains Obi-Wan's partner and the two have become war heroes and best friends. They are sent on a mission to rescue Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who has been kidnapped by Separatist leader General Grievous. When they find Palpatine, they both engage Dooku in a duel. When Obi-Wan is rendered unconscious by Dooku, Anakin defeats Dooku by cutting off both his hands and then kills the Sith Lord.
Soon after returning to Coruscant, Obi-Wan is called away to Utapau to confront Grievous. With Obi-Wan on the opposite end of the galaxy, Palpatine eventually corrupts Anakin to the dark side of the Force as the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
After finding the Separatist encampment, Obi-Wan engages Grievous in battle, eventually killing him with a blaster. When Palpatine issues Order 66 to have the 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 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. Obi-Wan then heartbreakingly watches a security hologram revealing that Anakin took part in the slaughter. Subsequently, Obi-Wan and Yoda split up to confront the two Sith Lords: Obi-Wan to fight Vader and Yoda to battle Palpatine, who has declared himself Emperor of the Galaxy. Obi-Wan wishes to fight Palpatine to avoid having to kill his best friend. However, Yoda insists that Obi-Wan is not strong enough to fight Sidious, and must accept that the Anakin he knows no longer exists, having been "consumed by" Vader.
Unaware of Vader's location, Obi-Wan visits Padmé and explains to her what his former friend has done. Padmé refuses to believe him, and will not reveal her husband's whereabouts, knowing that Obi-Wan will attempt to kill him. At this point, Obi-Wan realizes that Anakin is the father of Padmé's child and tells her he is "so sorry". When Padmé sets out to the Mustafar system to confront her husband herself, Obi-Wan secretly stows away in her ship.
After Padmé arrived on Mustafar, Obi-Wan emerges from Padmé's ship to which 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. When Vader slides too close to a lava flow and almost burns to death, Obi-Wan retrieves his former friend's lightsaber and returns to the shuttle to leave Vader to die. Unknown to Obi-Wan, Vader clings to life and is rescued by Palpatine, who rebuilds him as the black armor-clad cyborg first seen in the original trilogy.
After Obi-Wan watches helplessly as Padmé dies after giving birth to twins, Luke is put on Tatooine with Owen Lars (Anakin's stepbrother) while Leia is adopted by Organa. Yoda 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 Luke to Owen and Beru and disappears into the distance.
Expanded universe[edit | edit source]
Television[edit | edit source]
Novels[edit | edit source]
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'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. The Jedi Quest books detail his adventures with Anakin in the years leading up to Attack of the Clones.
Obi-Wan's life between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope is 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 Luke. 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 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[edit | edit source]
Obi-Wan appears in many video games. He is a playable character in all four Lego Star Wars video games, as well as Battlefront II and Renegade Squadron. He is also the lead character in Star Wars: Obi-Wan. The older version is only playable in Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy and Star Wars: The Complete Saga, and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith multiplayer mode and Death Star bonus mission Star Wars: Renegade Squadron, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed in multiplayer mode and the droid PROXY disguises as him while fighting Darth Vader. 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[edit | edit source]
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 Darth Maul on Tatooine to protect Luke. 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[edit | edit source]
The character is loosely inspired by General Makabe Rokurōta, a character from The Hidden Fortress, played by Toshiro Mifune (whom series creator George Lucas also considered casting as Obi-Wan Kenobi). 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" as 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 called 'Obi-Wan Toadi'. The 1998 Animaniacs episode "Star Warners" (which spoofed Star Wars) featured Slappy Squirrel portraying a parody of Obi-Wan as 'Slappy Wanna Nappy'. In the Family Guy episode "Blue Harvest", Obi-Wan Kenobi 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.
In 2003, the American Film Institute selected Obi-Wan Kenobi as the 37th greatest movie hero of all time. He was also listed as IGN's third greatest Star Wars character, as well as one of UGO Networks's favorite heroes of all time.
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. 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 | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- The Phantom Menace Script. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Novelization, 1st edition paperback, 1999. Terry Brooks, George Lucas, ISBN 0-345-43411-0
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Novelization, 2003. R. A. Salvatore, ISBN-X
- Star Wars DVD audio commentary
- The Obi Wan - Television Tropes & Idioms. Tvtropes.org. Retrieved on December 27, 2010.
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains. afi.com. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi is #3.. IGN. Retrieved on December 6, 2010.
- UGO Team (January 21, 2010). Best Heroes of All Time. UGO Networks. Retrieved on April 3, 2011.
- resolution No. XXVIII/373/04
- An interview with Leszek Budkiewicz, who lives on the street, and who (being the Council member himself) managed to convince the Council to name the street after Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- 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
[edit | edit source]
- Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Official StarWars.com Encyclopedia
- Obi-Wan Kenobi on Wookieepedia: a Star Wars wiki
- Template:Imdb character
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