Obi-Wan Kenobi

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Obi-Wan Kenobi
Star Wars character
Ben Kenobi.png
Alec Guinness as Kenobi in Star Wars.
First appearance Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker (novel, 1976)
Created by George Lucas
Portrayed by Alec Guinness (Episodes IV-VI)
Ewan McGregor (Episodes I-III)
Voiced by
Information
Aliases "Old" Ben Kenobi
Rako Hardeen
Species Human
Gender Male
Occupation Jedi Padawan
Jedi Knight
Jedi Master
Jedi Council Member
Jedi General
Affiliation Jedi Order
Rebel Alliance
Galactic Republic
Homeworld Stewjon[1]

Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe, portrayed by Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor in the films. 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.

Appearances[edit]

Original trilogy[edit]

Obi-Wan Kenobi is introduced in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope 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 his home, R2-D2 plays Ben a recording of Princess Leia Organa which explains that R2-D2 contains the battle plans for the Death Star, the evil 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, however, he agrees to go with Obi-Wan to Alderaan and 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. Obi-Wan advises Han to fly away, but Han ignores him and is 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 Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, Obi-Wan Kenobi appears several times as a spirit, having survived death 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.[2]

In Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi appears to Luke again 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.[3]

Prequel trilogy[edit]

In Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan Kenobi appears as the Jedi 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 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 the Sith lord, 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 and reluctantly allows him to take Anakin on as his own Padawan.[5]

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 his master is "holding him back". After they save Senator Padmé Amidala from an assassination attempt, 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 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 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 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 the Sith Lord in cold blood 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 Vader is the baby's 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 Vader. After a long and ferocious lightsaber duel, Obi-Wan defeats Vader by severing his legs and left arm; he then takes his former friend's lightsaber and returns to Padmé's ship, leaving Vader to die beside a molten lava river. Unknown to Obi-Wan, the horribly injured Vader 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.

Sequel trilogy[edit]

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.

A combination of new recorded dialogue from McGregor and archival audio of Guinness was used for Obi-Wan.[7]

Television[edit]

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, he 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.

The character appears as a hologram in Star Wars Rebels.

Legends[edit]

With the 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company, most of the licensed Star Wars novels and comics produced since the originating 1977 film Star Wars were rebranded as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise in April 2014.[8][9][10]

Obi-Wan Kenobi appears extensively in the Star Wars expanded universe of comic books and novels.

Novels[edit]

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.

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 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.

Video games[edit]

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.

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 Akira Kurosawa's film The Hidden Fortress, played by Toshiro Mifune (whom series creator George Lucas also considered casting as Obi-Wan).[11] 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".

TV Tropes[12] 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.[13] He was also listed as IGN's third greatest Star Wars character,[14] as well as one of UGO Networks's favorite heroes of all time.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17]

Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell portrays Jeremy Corbyn (leader of the British Labour Party) as Obi-Wan Kenobi.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Star Wars: Q: Where's Obi-Wan's home ...". Official Star Wars Twitter. Twitter. August 14, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  2. ^ "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Script at IMSDb". Imsdb.com. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  3. ^ "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Script at IMSDb". Imsdb.com. 1981-12-01. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  4. ^ "The Phantom Menace Script". Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  5. ^ Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Novelization, 1st edition paperback, 1999. Terry Brooks, George Lucas, ISBN 0-345-43411-0
  6. ^ Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Novelization, 2003. R. A. Salvatore
  7. ^ Breznican, Anthony (December 20, 2015). "Obi-Wan and Yoda are secretly in Star Wars: The Force Awakens". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  8. ^ McMilian, Graeme (April 25, 2014). "Lucasfilm Unveils New Plans for Star Wars Expanded Universe". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 26, 2016. 
  9. ^ "The Legendary Star Wars Expanded Universe Turns a New Page". StarWars.com. April 25, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Disney and Random House announce relaunch of Star Wars Adult Fiction line". StarWars.com. April 25, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2016. 
  11. ^ Enk, Bryan (2013-01-14). "'Seven Samurai' star Toshiro Mifune: The would-be face of Darth Vader?". Yahoo. Retrieved 2015-12-24. 
  12. ^ "The Obi Wan - Television Tropes & Idioms". Tvtropes.org. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  13. ^ "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains". afi.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 20, 2012. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  14. ^ "Obi-Wan Kenobi is #3.". IGN. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  15. ^ UGO Team (January 21, 2010). "Best Heroes of All Time". UGO Networks. Retrieved April 3, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Gerald Home and Lucasfilm's letter to BFSW". YouTube. 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2015-12-24. 
  17. ^ "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". Starwars.pl. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  18. ^ Bell, Steve (2015-09-29). "Steve Bell's If... Labour's Obi-Wan Kenobi Corbyn gives a dire warning". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-12-24. 

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]