Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. Within the original trilogy he is portrayed by Sir Alec Guinness, while in the prequel trilogy a younger version of the character is portrayed by Ewan McGregor. In the original trilogy, he is a mentor to Luke Skywalker, to whom he introduces the ways of the Jedi. In the prequel trilogy, he is a master and friend to Anakin Skywalker. He is frequently featured as a main character in various other Star Wars media.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is introduced in the original Star Wars living as the hermit Ben Kenobi on the planet Tatooine. When Luke Skywalker and the droid C-3PO wander off in search of the lost droid R2-D2, Ben rescues them from a band of native Tusken Raiders. At Ben's home, R2-D2 plays a recording of Princess Leia seeking help, which explains that R2-D2 contains the plans for the Death Star, the Galactic Empire's superweapon. Leia asks him to deliver the droid and the plans safely to the planet Alderaan in order to help the Rebel Alliance. Ben reveals to Luke that his real name is Obi-Wan and that he is a Jedi Master, member of an ancient group of warriors that were hunted down by his apprentice Darth Vader, the apparent killer of Luke's father. He gives Luke his father's lightsaber and asks Luke to accompany him to Alderaan and take up Jedi training. Luke declines, but promises to take Obi-Wan as far as Anchorhead Station. After Luke finds his uncle and aunt killed by Imperial troops, he agrees to go with Obi-Wan to Alderaan and to train as a Jedi.
In the spaceport city Mos Eisley, Obi-Wan uses the Force to trick Imperial troops into letting them through a military checkpoint. They enter a local cantina and make a deal with two smugglers, Han Solo and Chewbacca, to fly them to Alderaan in their ship, the Millennium Falcon. During the journey, Obi-Wan begins instructing Luke in lightsaber training. He suddenly becomes weak and tells Luke of "a great disturbance in the Force". Emerging from hyperspace, the party finds that Alderaan has been destroyed, and the Falcon is attacked by an Imperial TIE Fighter. The trio chase the TIE fighter to the Death Star, and subsequently get caught in the Death Star's tractor beam. On board the Death Star, Obi-Wan shuts down the tractor beam, but Darth Vader confronts him and they engage in a lightsaber duel. Obi-Wan uses the duel to distract Vader as Luke, Leia, Han and Chewbacca escape to the Falcon. Although Vader strikes Obi-Wan down, his body mysteriously vanishes the moment he dies. At the climax of the film during the Rebel attack on the Death Star, Obi-Wan speaks to Luke through the Force to help him destroy the Imperial station.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Obi-Wan Kenobi appears several times as a spirit through the Force. On the planet Hoth, he appears to instruct Luke to go to the planet Dagobah to find the exiled Jedi Master Yoda. Despite Yoda's skepticism, Obi-Wan convinces his old master to continue Luke's training. He appears later to beseech Luke not to leave Dagobah to try to rescue his friends on Cloud City, although Luke ignores this advice.
In Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan again appears to Luke after Yoda's death on Dagobah. Obi-Wan acknowledges that Darth Vader is indeed Luke's father, revealed by Vader in the previous film and confirmed by Yoda on his deathbed, and also reveals that Leia is Luke's twin sister. After the second Death Star is destroyed and the Empire defeated, Obi-Wan appears at the celebration in the Ewok village, alongside the spirits of Yoda and the redeemed Anakin Skywalker.
In Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan Kenobi appears as the Jedi Padawan (or student) of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. He accompanies his master in negotiations with the Trade Federation, which is blockading the planet Naboo with a fleet of spaceships. After they are attacked by battle droids and forced to retreat to Naboo, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon rescue Queen Padmé Amidala through the help of native Gungan Jar Jar Binks and escape in a spaceship toward Coruscant, the Republic capital. Their ship is damaged in the escape, however, and they are forced to land on Tatooine, where they discover a young Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon senses Anakin's extraordinarily strong link to the Force and brings the boy to Coruscant to begin Jedi training, although Obi-Wan expresses concerns.
When Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan return to Naboo to defeat the Trade Federation, they are met by Sith Lord Darth Maul. When Maul mortally wounds Qui-Gon in the ensuing duel, Obi-Wan rushes to fight Darth Maul, who nearly kills him. However, Obi-Wan manages to turn the tables and defeat Maul, slicing him in half and sending him plunging down a vast reactor shaft. He promises to fulfill Qui-Gon's dying wish of training Anakin in the ways of the Jedi. Yoda proclaims Obi-Wan a Jedi Knight and reluctantly allows him to take Anakin on as his own Padawan.
In Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, set 10 years later, Obi-Wan Kenobi is now a respected Jedi Knight and the master of Anakin Skywalker. The two have formed a close friendship, although Anakin is arrogant and believes Obi-Wan is "holding him back". After they save Senator Amidala from an assassination attempt, Obi-Wan goes on a solo mission and traces the bounty hunters involved to the planet Kamino, where he learns of a massive clone army that the planet's inhabitants are building for the Republic. He is introduced to bounty hunter Jango Fett, the clones' template, and the two fight after Obi-Wan deduces that Fett must be behind the attempted assassination. Fett escapes to the planet Geonosis with his clone son while Obi-Wan is in pursuit.
On Geonosis, Obi-Wan discovers that a conspiracy of star systems bent on secession from the Republic is led by Sith Lord Count Dooku, Qui-Gon's old master. After sending a message to Anakin, Obi-Wan is captured, interrogated, and sentenced to death by Dooku. A cadre of Jedi arrive with the clone army just in time to prevent the executions. Obi-Wan and Anakin confront Dooku during the ensuing battle, but are defeated in a lightsaber duel. Yoda intervenes and saves their lives, at the cost of Dooku's escape.
In Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, set three years later, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a Jedi Master, a member of the Jedi Council and a General in the Army of the Republic. Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker remains Obi-Wan's partner and the two have become war heroes and best friends. The film opens with the two on a rescue mission to save the kidnapped Supreme Chancellor Palpatine from Separatist commander General Grievous onboard his starship. Count Dooku discovers the attempt and fights the Jedi, knocking Obi-Wan unconscious; while Obi-Wan is out cold, Dooku is defeated by Anakin, who then executes him on Palpatine's orders. The mission succeeds and soon after returning to Coruscant, Obi-Wan is called away to the planet Utapau to track down the escaped Grievous.
After finding the Separatist encampment, Obi-Wan fights Grievous and eventually kills the cyborg with a blaster after failing to overcome him in hand-to-hand combat. When Palpatine—who is secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious—issues Order 66 to have the clone troopers turn on the Jedi, Obi-Wan survives the attempt on his life and escapes, rendezvousing with Yoda and Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan aboard Organa's ship Tantive IV. Returning to Coruscant, he and Yoda discover that every Jedi in the Jedi Temple has been murdered. After sending a beacon to all surviving Jedi to scatter across the galaxy and remain in hiding, a heartbroken Obi-Wan watches security footage revealing that it was Anakin — who is now Sidious' Sith apprentice Darth Vader—who led the slaughter. Yoda charges Obi-Wan with hunting down Vader while Yoda fights Sidious. Obi-Wan is loath to fight his best friend, but reluctantly accepts.
Obi-Wan visits Padmé to learn of Vader's whereabouts and after noticing Padme's pregnancy realizes that Anakin is the father. When Padmé sets out to the volcanic planet Mustafar to confront her husband herself, Obi-Wan secretly stows away in the ship. After they arrive on Mustafar, Obi-Wan reveals himself and confronts Anakin. After a long and ferocious lightsaber duel, Obi-Wan defeats Anakin by severing his legs and left arm; he then takes his former friend's lightsaber and returns to Padmé's ship, leaving Anakin to die beside a molten lava river. Unknown to Obi-Wan, the horribly injured Anakin is rescued by Sidious and reconstructed into a cyborg.
Obi-Wan takes a heartbroken Padmé to a remote asteroid belt, where she dies after giving birth to twins Luke and Leia. Afterwards, Yoda instructs Obi-Wan to give Luke to his uncle and aunt on Tatooine, but also reveals that the spirit of his old master Qui-Gon has returned from the Force to continue Obi-Wan's training. Obi-Wan hands Luke off to his family and goes into exile on Tatooine.
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan's voice is heard by the young scavenger Rey when she touches the lightsaber that previously belonged to Luke. Obi-Wan calls out to Rey, before saying the words of encouragement he gave to Luke during his training on the Millennium Falcon: "These are your first steps."
Obi-Wan Kenobi is a main character in the animated micro-series Star Wars: Clone Wars and the CGI animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, voiced by James Arnold Taylor. In both series, Obi-Wan is a general in the Clone Wars, and he and Anakin have many adventures fighting the Separatists. The latter series highlights his numerous confrontations with General Grievous, his adversarial relationship with Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress, his romance with Duchess Satine Kryze, and the return of his old enemy Darth Maul.
In Star Wars Rebels, set five years before A New Hope, Obi-Wan appears as a hologram in the pilot episode "Spark of Rebellion". In the Season 3 episode "Visions and Voices", it is discovered that Obi-Wan is alive on Tatooine by both Maul and Ezra Bridger. In the episode "Twin Suns", Maul is shown wandering the desert of Tatooine searching for Obi-Wan. Maul lures Ezra and uses him to draw Obi-Wan out. It succeeds when Obi-Wan rescues Ezra from dying from heat exhaustion. Obi-Wan gives advice to Ezra and helps to remind him that his place is with the rebellion. When Maul appears, Ezra is told to leave. Maul deduces that Obi-Wan is protecting someone and they engage in a brief duel where Maul is mortally wounded. With his dying breath, Maul asks if it's the Chosen One he is protecting; Obi-Wan replies that he is. After Maul's death, Obi-Wan is seen watching over Luke Skywalker from a distance.
The behind the scenes animation team revealed on Rebels-Recon that the face was shaped as a mix of Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor, and that both faces had the same shape. Kenobi also appears using his Jedi robes from A New Hope. The voice was done by Stephen Stanton, who replaced James Arnold Taylor, because he could imitate the voice of Guinness. Rebels creator and director of the episode Dave Filoni who worked with the character during the full duration of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, also said he considered McGregor to reprise and voice the role.
Novels and comics
Kenobi appears briefly in the novel Dark Disciple, based on unfinished episodes from The Clone Wars.
The Marvel Comics five issue mini-series Obi-Wan and Anakin focuses on the title characters between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. In the Star Wars main comic series, Luke Skywalker goes to Kenobi's abandoned house on Tatooine, and finds a diary written by Obi-Wan. Issues #7, #15, #20 and #26-30 are about Luke reading those journals.
In April 2014, most of the licensed Star Wars novels and comics produced since the original 1977 film Star Wars were rebranded by Lucasfilm as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise.
Obi-Wan Kenobi appears extensively in the Star Wars expanded universe of comic books and novels.
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 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 the final chapter of Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, set just after the events in Revenge of the Sith. He is also the protagonist in John Jackson Miller's novel Star Wars: Kenobi, which takes place during his exile on Tatooine.
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.
Obi-Wan Kenobi appears in several 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. 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. He is also playable in the strategy game Star Wars: Empire at War. He will be a playable character in Disney Infinity 3.0.
In the comic book series Star Wars: Republic, Obi-Wan Kenobi faces many grave threats while fighting against the Separatists. Among other notable storylines, he is kidnapped and tortured by 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.
Presumed planned Anthology film
On August 17, 2017, it was reported that there are plans for a stand-alone Star Wars movie about Obi-Wan Kenobi. No casting or script decisions have been made yet. It is currently unclear what part of Kenobi's life will be portrayed. In August 2017, Stephen Daldry was reported to be directing the film. While no casting decisions have been made, Ewan McGregor has said he would be open to reprising the role of Obi-Wan.
The character is loosely inspired by General Makabe Rokurōta, a character from Akira Kurosawa's film The Hidden Fortress, played by Toshiro Mifune (whom series creator George Lucas also considered casting as Obi-Wan). 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" (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" (a spoof of Star Wars) also had its own parody of Obi-Wan called 'Obi-Wan Toadi', and the live-action segment "Zenned Out Mario" featured a parody called "Obi-Wan Cannoli". 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".
Guinness received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination for his portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
In the parody song The Saga Begins, released approximately one month after the release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, "Weird Al" Yankovic sings a humorous summary of the plot of that film from the standpoint of Obi-Wan, to the tune of the song "American Pie." In the video for the song, Yankovic is dressed similarly to Obi-Wan in Episode I, including the braid in his hair.
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.
The desired film
Since the announcement of the sequel trilogy, Ewan McGregor has also expressed interest in returning to the role, albeit for an Obi-Wan spin-off film, should he be approached; wanting to tell a story between Episode III and IV. A fan-trailer for an Obi-Wan film, with footage from the film Last Days in the Desert, has been widely praised by fans. Lucasfilm and McGregor have denied the development of such film, despite fans' continued interest, and rumors. Despite being nothing but rumors, the film was voted as the most wanted anthology film in a pool by The Hollywood Reporter. Days before the Star Wars Rebels episode "Twin Suns" aired, McGregor said he would like to do it, if Lucasfilm wanted him to.