Obi-Wan Kenobi

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Obi-Wan Kenobi
Star Wars character
Alec Guinness as Ben Kenobi in Star Wars
Portrayed by Ben Kenobi:
Alec Guinness (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
Bernard Behrens (Star Wars Radio Adaptation)
Stephen Stanton (Star Wars: Empire at War and Star Wars: Battlefront II)
Nick Jameson (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (the video game) and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed)
Obi-Wan Kenobi:
Ewan McGregor (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: Clone Wars, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film and TV series), Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2002 video game), Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (the video game), Star Wars Battlefront II, Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Lightsaber Duels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Jedi Alliance)
David Scott (Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace)
Samuel Vincent (Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles)
Fictional profile
Species Human
Gender Male
Position Jedi Padawan
Jedi Knight
Jedi Master
Jedi Council Member
Jedi General
Homeworld Stewjon[1]
Affiliation Jedi Order
Rebel Alliance
Galactic Republic

Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe. The character has been portrayed by Sir Alec Guinness in the original trilogy and by Ewan McGregor in the prequel trilogy, as well as voiced by James Arnold Taylor in various other Star Wars projects.


Prequel trilogy[edit]

In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan Kenobi is depicted as the Padawan (student) of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn.[2]

He accompanies his master in negotiations with the Trade Federation, which is blockading the planet Naboo. They are attacked by battle droids and are forced to retreat to Naboo, where they meet the ungainly Gungan Jar Jar Binks, who assists them 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 meet Anakin Skywalker, 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. The Jedi Council forbids Anakin's training, however, believing that the boy's future is clouded by the fear he exhibits.

During a major battle, Qui-Gon is mortally wounded by Sith Lord Darth Maul. Having nearly fallen to his death, Obi-Wan uses the Force to seize his master's lightsaber and cuts Maul in half. With his dying breath, Qui-Gon instructs Obi-Wan to train Anakin. For his heroics in defeating a Sith (being the first Jedi in 1,000 years to do so), Grand Master Yoda bestows on Obi-Wan the rank of Jedi Knight and reluctantly grants him permission to train Anakin.[3]

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Attack of the Clones.

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 Padmé 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 template of the clones) and deduces that Fett is the one responsible for the attempts on the senator's life. Obi-Wan attempts to apprehend Fett, but Fett escapes with his adopted son. Obi-Wan follows the bounty hunter's ship Slave I to the planet Geonosis. On Geonosis, Obi-Wan discovers a conspiracy of star systems bent on secession from the Republic led by Sith Lord Count Dooku (Qui-Gon Jinn's former master). After sending a message to Anakin, Obi-Wan is captured.

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, resulting in the opening salvo of the Clone Wars. Obi-Wan and Anakin confront Dooku in a duel, wherein he 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 kill Obi-Wan, Anakin blocks his attack and engages him in a duel, which ends with Dooku cutting off Anakin's right arm. After dueling Yoda, Dooku puts Obi-Wan and Anakin in mortal danger in order to create a distraction and escape.[4]

Three years later in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a Jedi Master on the High 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.

They are sent on a mission to rescue Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who has been kidnapped by Separatist leader General Grievous. They find Palpatine and engage Count Dooku in a duel. After Dooku knocks Obi-Wan unconscious, Anakin defeats Dooku and kills him in cold blood. Soon after returning to Coruscant, Obi-Wan is called away to Utapau to confront Grievous.

After finding the Separatist encampment, Obi-Wan engages Grievous in battle, eventually killing him with a blaster. When Palpatine — who is secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious — issues Order 66 to have the clone troopers 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 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, Obi-Wan then watches a security hologram revealing that Anakin took part in the slaughter, and has become Palpatine's Sith apprentice, Darth Vader. Yoda charges Obi-Wan with confronting Vader while he fights Palpatine, who has turned the Republic into the tyrannical Galactic Empire. Obi-Wan is loath to fight his best friend, but Yoda tells him that Anakin Skywalker no longer exists, having been "consumed by Darth Vader".

Unaware of Vader's location, Obi-Wan visits Padmé for his whereabouts, and realizes that Vader is the father of Padmé's child. Padmé sets out to the planet Mustafar to confront her husband herself, while Obi-Wan secretly stows away in her ship. After Padmé arrives on Mustafar, Obi-Wan emerges from Padmé's ship. Vader immediately suspects that Padmé has betrayed him, and uses the Force to choke her into unconsciousness. Obi-Wan and Vader fight a furious lightsaber duel which ends with Obi-Wan severing Vader's legs and left arm in midair; Vader then slides too close to a lava flow and sustains life-threatening burns. Obi-Wan retrieves Anakin's lightsaber and returns to the shuttle, leaving his former friend to die. However, Vader survives and is rebuilt as the black armor-clad cyborg seen in the original trilogy.

Obi-Wan watches helplessly as Padmé dies after giving birth to the twins Luke and Leia. Luke is put on Tatooine with Owen Lars (Anakin's stepbrother) while Leia is adopted by Bail Organa and his wife. Yoda then tells Obi-Wan that he has more training for him: Qui-Gon Jinn's spirit will teach him how to retain his identity through the Force and commune with the living after death. The film ends with Obi-Wan giving Luke to Owen and Beru Lars and disappearing into the distance.

Original trilogy[edit]

Introduced in Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi is living as a hermit on the planet Tatooine and has adopted the alias "Ben Kenobi". He rescues Luke Skywalker, R2-D2 and C3PO after an attack by the Tusken Raiders. At his home, Ben discovers that R2-D2 and C-3PO escaped Princess Leia's ship in order to prevent the Death Star's stolen battle plans from being recovered. He then gives Luke his father's lightsaber and says that the boy's father was "betrayed and murdered" by Darth Vader. After trying to convince Luke to accompany him to Alderaan and learn to be a Jedi, Ben agrees to Luke's offer to take him as far as Anchorhead.

But en route to Anchorhead, Ben and Luke discover the remains of an attacked Jawa sandcrawler, realizing that the Imperials were looking for his two droids. After discovering the burnt skeletons of his foster uncle and aunt, Luke returns to the sandcrawler and accepts Ben's offer of training.

In the spaceport city Mos Eisley, they are pulled over by Imperial troops who question Luke about the droids, prompting Ben to use a Force mind trick on the troops' commander to get them through the checkpoint. They enter a local cantina and make a deal with Han Solo and Chewbacca to fly them to Alderaan in their Millennium Falcon ship. During the journey, Ben begins instructing Luke in lightsaber training. While instructing, 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. Against Ben's advice, Han is caught in the Death Star's tractor beam.

While Luke and Han don stormtrooper armor and rescue the Princess, Obi-Wan shuts down the tractor beam. Darth Vader, sensing his old master's presence, confronts Obi-Wan and they duel while Luke, Han, Chewbacca and Leia fight their way back to the Falcon. As they prepare to rush aboard, Obi-Wan creates a distraction by allowing Vader to cut him in half. There is no body, however; only his empty robes and sabre hilt fall to the deck, much to Luke's horror. Moments later, he calls out to Luke through the Force, telling him to run.

Later during the Rebel Alliance's attack on the Death Star, Luke hears Obi-Wan's assurance that "the Force will be with you". After many of the Rebel pilots are destroyed, Obi-Wan tells Luke to "trust his feelings" rather than use the X-wing's targeting system, taking his teacher's advice and uses the Force to guide his proton torpedoes, destroying the station. Afterward, Luke hears Obi-Wan's assurance "remember, the Force will be with you, always."

Three years later in The Empire Strikes Back, Ben Kenobi appears several times in spirit form. On the planet Hoth, he appears as a spirit in the Force to Luke Skywalker and instructs his student to go to the Dagobah system to be taught by the exiled Yoda. Despite Yoda's skepticism, Ben convinces his old master to continue the youth's training. Ben's spirit form later appears to convince Luke to not leave Dagobah to try to rescue his friends on Cloud City.[5]

Six months following the events in The Empire Strikes Back in Return of the Jedi, Ben Kenobi appears in spirit form once again. After Yoda's death on Dagobah, he appears to Luke Skywalker. When asked why he didn't tell him the truth, Ben replies that Anakin Skywalker ceased to exist after turning to the dark side, becoming instead Darth Vader. He also reveals that Princess Leia is Luke's twin sister. After the second Death star is destroyed and the Empire defeated, Ben appears at the celebration in the Ewok village, alongside the spirits of Yoda and the redeemed Anakin.[6]


Obi-Wan Kenobi is a major character in the animated micro-series Star Wars: Clone Wars and the CGI animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In both series, Obi-Wan proves himself an adept strategist and spy, as his leadership style heavily favored subterfuge and misdirection while commanding clone troopers, or wielding the lightsaber and the Force. The latter series highlights his adversarial relationship with Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress.


Obi-Wan Kenobi appears extensively in the "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, 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.

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 the original film 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]

Obi-Wan Kenobi 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. 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

Comic books[edit]

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.

Cultural impact[edit]

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).[7] 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', 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'.

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.

TV Tropes[8] 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.[9] He was also listed as IGN's third greatest Star Wars character,[10] as well as one of UGO Networks's favorite heroes of all time.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

See also[edit]



  • The New Essential Guide to Characters, revised 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[edit]