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)
Chris Pratt ("Kinect Star Wars")
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. In the original trilogy of films, played by Alec Guinness, he is a mentor to the protagonist Luke Skywalker, initiating him into the ways of the Jedi. In the prequel trilogy, played by Ewan McGregor, he is master and friend to Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker. He is frequently featured as a main character in various other Star Wars media.

Appearances[edit]

Original trilogy[edit]

The Obi-Wan character is introduced in Star Wars living as a hermit, "Ben", on the planet Tatooine, the home of the film's protagonist, Luke Skywalker. When Luke and his droid C3PO wander off in search of his lost droid R2-D2, Ben rescues them from a band of native Tusken Raiders. At his home, R2-D2 plays Ben a recording of Princess Leia which explains that she has placed the battle plans for the Death Star, a superweapon of the evil Galactic Empire, into the robot. Leia asks Ben to deliver the droid and the plans safely to her home-planet of Alderaan.

Ben reveals to Luke that his real name is Obi-Wan and that he is a Jedi Knight, an ancient group of warriors that were hunted down by his apprentice Darth Vader, who also killed Luke's father. He gives Luke his father's lightsaber and asks Luke to accompany him to Alderaan and take up a Jedi training. Luke initially only promises to take Ben as far as Anchorhead Station, but after he returns to his homestead to find his uncle and aunt murdered at the hands of Imperial troops, he takes Ben up on the full offer.

In the spaceport city Mos Eisley, Ben 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 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.

On board the Death Star, Obi-Wan shuts down the tractor beam but Darth Vader, sensing his old master's presence, confronts Obi-Wan and they engage in a lightsaber duel. Obi-Wan uses the duel to distract Vader as Han, Luke, Leia, 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 and helps him destroy the Imperial station.

In The Empire Strikes Back, Obi-Wan appears several times as a spirit, having survived death through the Force. On the planet Hoth, he appears to Luke and instructs him to go to the planet Dagobah to find the exiled Yoda, Obi-Wan's old Jedi master. Despite Yoda's skepticism, Obi-Wan convinces his old master to continue Luke's training. Obi-Wan appears later to convince Luke not to leave Dagobah to try to rescue his friends on Cloud City, although Luke ignores this advice.[2]

In Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan appears to Luke again after Yoda's death on Dagobah. Obi-Wan acknowledges that Darth Vader is indeed Luke's father and 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.[3]

Prequel trilogy[edit]

In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan appears as the Padawan, or student, of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn.[4] 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 him 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. Obi-Wan is nearly killed alongside Qui-Gon in the ensuing duel, although he manages to turn the tables and kill Maul. Though doubtful, he promises to fulfill Qui-Gon's dying wish of training Anakin in the ways of the Jedi. Master Yoda proclaims Obi-Wan a knight and reluctantly allows him to take Anakin on as his Padawan.[5]

In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, set ten years later, Obi-Wan has become an experienced Jedi Knight while training Anakin. The two have formed a close friendship, although Anakin is arrogant and believes his master is "holding him back." After they save now-Senator Amidala in an attempt on her life, Obi-Wan goes on a solo mission and traces the bounty hunters involved to the planet Kamino. There, 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 adopted son with Obi-Wan in pursuit.

On Geonosis, Obi-Wan discovers that a 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 large force of Jedi arrive with the Kaminoan 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.[6]

In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, set three years later, Obi-Wan is a Jedi Master on the Jedi Council and a General in the Army of the Republic. Anakin, now a Knight, 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 Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who has been kidnapped by Separatist leader General Grievous onboard his starship. Count Dooku discovers the attempt and confronts the Jedi, but is killed by Anakin in cold blood after knocking Obi-Wan unconscious. The mission succeeds and soon after returning to Coruscant, Obi-Wan is called away to the planet Utapau to track down the escaped Grevious.

After finding the Separatist encampment, Obi-Wan engages Grievous and eventually kills 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 watches security footage revealing that Anakin — now Darth Vader — led the slaughter. Yoda charges Obi-Wan with confronting Vader while he fights Sidious. Obi-Wan is loath to fight his best friend, but accepts.

Obi-Wan visits Padmé to learn of Vader's whereabouts and realizes that Vader is the father of Padmé's child. When Padmé sets out to the planet Mustafar to confront her husband herself, Obi-Wan secretly stows away in her ship. After they arrive on Mustafar, Obi-Wan reveals himself and confronts Vader. After a furious lightsaber duel, Obi-Wan severs Vader's legs and left arm and leaves him for dead beside a lava flow. Obi-Wan retrieves Anakin's lightsaber and returns to Padmé's ship, where she has taken ill.

Obi-Wan takes Padmé to a remote asteroid belt, where she dies after giving birth to the twins Luke and Leia. Yoda instructs Obi-Wan to give Luke to his aunt and uncle on Tatooine, but also reveals that his old master, Qui-Gon, has returned from the Force to continue Obi-Wan's training. Obi-Wan hands Luke off to his family in the closing scene and goes into exile on Tatooine.

Television[edit]

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 is confirmed to appear in Star Wars Rebels, once again voiced by James Arnold Taylor, but whether his role is a brief appearance or a recurring role is unknown.

Novels[edit]

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 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.

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]

References[edit]

Sources[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]