Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi (57 BBY–0 BBY) was a legendary Jedi Master who taught both Anakin and Luke Skywalker in the ways of the Force, and an important General for the Galactic Republic in the Clone Wars.
He was also notable for being the first Jedi in approximately 1,000 years to kill a Sith, one of the last members of the Jedi Council and one of the few Jedi to survive the Great Jedi Purge.
Early Life (57 BBY to 32 BBY)
Kenobi was born in 57 BBY, and brought into Jedi training shortly thereafter. His homeworld was an unknown world of plains and grasslands, where Kenobi had vague memories of playing with his brother Owen. Regardless of his birthplace, for his entire life Kenobi spoke with a Coruscanti accent, pointing to the capital world as his true home.
As a youngling, he trained alongside other Jedi hopefuls of his age, many of which he became friends with: Siri Tachi, Bant Eerin, Garen Muln and Quinlan Vos. Others would become rivals, and even enemies - such as Bruck Chun and Aalto.
At the age of twelve, it seemed all hopes had gone for him to become a Jedi Knight, until one day, when Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn visited the Jedi Temple, in the hopes of finding an apprentice. Obi-Wan duelled one of his competitors, Bruck, to draw the attention of the maverick Jedi Master. Obi-Wan fought valiantly until exhaustion. The final offensive against Bruck was carried out so fiercely that Qui-Gon Jinn found him too dangerous to be trained. So Obi-Wan was sent to Bandomeer, a mining colony to work as a ploughman for the AgriCorps. Strangely enough, Qui-Gon happened to be sent on a mission to the same place. The youngling and the Jedi Master had to work together if they wanted to survive. Obi-Wan showed Qui-Gon that he was worthy to be taken as a Padawan learner.
During his time with Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan temporarily left the Jedi Order. Caught up in the civil war on Melida/Daan, Obi-Wan elected to stay and help the children who were fighting against their tradition-obsessed elders. However, Obi-Wan soon felt that his place was with the Jedi and was taken back by Qui-Gon, though it took a long time for them to fully trust each other again.
Obi-Wan fought along side his master in the Stark Hyperspace War - one of the many small-scale conflicts that plagued the Republic in its last days. It was during the Battle of Troiken where Obi-Wan's enduring friendship with fellow padawan Quinlan Vos truly began. Obi-Wan would later recall fondly a training mission the two padawans undertook on Ragoon VI and missions the both of them would undertake with Dexter Jettster on the Outer Rim.
Together, Obi-Wan and his master would foil the schemes of Qui-Gon's second padawan, Xanatos, catching up with the Dark Jedi on Telos, and then watching as, rather than surrender, Xanatos killed himself in a pool of acid.
In 33 BBY, Kenobi would assist his master in missions on Yinchorr and Dorvalla. After the Incident at Dorvalla, Kenobi, with his master, was also involved in the attempt to mediate relations between the Trade Federation and the Nebula Front, an attempt that would sadly fail with the disaster at the Eriadu Trade Summit.
He would later investigate this mysterious disappearance of a fellow padawan, Darsha Assant. He found a few tantalizing clues to her fate, but galactic events soon caught up with Kenobi, and soon he and Qui-Gon were dispatched by Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum to resolve the Blockade of Naboo.
In 32 BBY, on the mission to resolve the trade dispute on Naboo, Kenobi and his master were betrayed by Nute Gunray and the Trade Federation, who, on the orders of the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious, attempted to have the two Jedi killed.
Qui-Gon and Kenobi escaped, however, and managed to rescue the Queen and her entourage. Their attempt to find a safe haven where the Federation would not follow led them to the isolated Outer Rim world of Tatooine.
Here, Kenobi's master stumbled upon Anakin Skywalker, a young boy who showed tremendous Force potential. Jinn decided that the boy should be trained. Kenobi disagreed, believing the boy was already too old and had acquired too many emotional attachments to become a Jedi. The Jedi Council agreed with Kenobi, and forbade Qui-Gon from taking Anakin as an apprentice.
During the ensuing battle with Darth Maul, Qui-Gon was killed by the Sith Lord. Kenobi narrowly escaped death himself after being disarmed. He called his fallen master's lightsaber into his hand and cut Maul in two as the Sith gloated over what seemed to be his imminent victory. Qui-Gon's dying request to his apprentice was to train Anakin. Kenobi felt he could not refuse. The Jedi Council was similarly moved by the plea, and fatefully reversed its decision. In fact, Anakin was placed under the tuition of Kenobi himself, which was remarkable given that Kenobi was still a Padawan at the time of his duel with Maul. The Jedi Council had been impressed that Kenobi bested a Sith - an enemy that had not surfaced in a millennium - without any previous training, and he was made a full Jedi Knight.
Knighthood (32 BBY to 22 BBY)
Kenobi inspects the clones on KaminoWith Anakin as his Padawan, Obi-wan travelled to the mysterious planet Zonama Sekot to find the missing Jedi Vergere. They were present when Vergere was taken by the Far Outsiders and the planet jumped into Hyperspace to hide for the next fifty years.
In 27 BBY, they were involved in the events surrounding the departure of the Outbound Flight Project from Yaga Minor, though they did not join the expedition itself. They would later foil the plots of Granta Omega, the son of Xanatos, on the planet Korriban and protect Senator Simon Greyshade from the assassin that had claimed the life of his relative, Jheramahd.
Ten years after the Invasion of Naboo, shortly after returning from a border dispute on Ansion, Kenobi and Skywalker were tasked with protecting Padmé Amidala after an attempt on her life. Through a ruse organized by Anakin, the assassin, a Clawdite named Zam Wesell, was soon uncovered and Kenobi pursued her through the streets of Coruscant, finally cornering her inside the Outlander Club.
Unfortunately Wesell soon became a victim herself - falling to the poisoned dart of a mysterious hunter garbed in Mandalorian armor. The only clue to his identity was the very dart that killed Wesell - a weapon of Kaminoan make.
With the aid of long-time associate Dexter Jettster, Kenobi tracked the mysterious second assassin to Kamino, in the process discovering a massive clone army that the Kaminoans were raising for the Republic. Kenobi attempted to apprehend the bounty hunter, now identified as one Jango Fett, but Fett escaped to Geonosis with his son Boba. Kenobi followed them.
On Geonosis, Kenobi uncovered a conspiracy of star systems that wanted to secede from the Republic, led by Count Dooku. Kenobi was captured shortly after sending a message to Anakin.
Dooku attempted to persuade Kenobi to join the Confederacy of Independent Systems, using Kenobi's memory of Qui-Gon Jinn as bait. Much to Dooku's disappointment, Kenobi responded that "Qui-Gon Jinn would never join you." Dooku left, musing that it would be difficult to secure Kenobi's release.
Anakin and Padmé arrived on Geonosis, but they too were captured, and all three were sentenced to death by the Geonosians.
It was the timely arrival of Jedi and clone reinforcements, led by Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Yoda that prevented the executions. Kenobi and Skywalker confronted Count Dooku and fought him, but were defeated by the masterful Sith Lord, who later escaped after a fierce duel with Yoda.
The Clone Wars (22 BBY to 19 BBY)
Kenobi during the Clone WarsKenobi became a General in the Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars, leading the Republic to many famous victories, beginning with the countering of the Dark Reaper Project, followed by the First Battle of Kamino and the mission to the Separatist stronghold on Queyta.
It was Kenobi who crushed the forces of San Hill and the Confederacy in the Battle of Muunilinst - an early victory that would do much to build the warrior's reputation. His forces on Muunilinst included the Muunilinst 10 and a Lancer Battalion, which Kenobi led into battle on 105-K speeder bikes.
Obi-Wan was partnered with fellow Jedi Kit Fisto on his mission to Ord Cestus where Kenobi and Fisto successfully ended the production of Jedi Killer droids on the planet, in addition to preventing the planet from falling to the Confederacy.
He led troops during the Battle of Jabiim, and was believed dead after being caught inside an exploding walker. In reality, Kenobi and the ARC trooper Alpha had been captured by Asajj Ventress and taken to her fortress on Rattatak. The pair escaped after many days of torture, and flew a stolen Fanblade fighter to Riflor, where they were reunited with Skywalker.
On a mission to acquire a special codebreaker, Obi-Wan and Anakin teamed with Siri Tachi and Padmé Amidala, where Siri was killed, which shook Obi-Wan very much.
As a General, Kenobi took command of the Open Circle Armada, which included the 212th Attack Battalion. Towards the end of the Clone Wars, Kenobi, Skywalker and Commander Cody took part in a number of successful and high profile missions, including the First Battle of Cato Neimoidia. After Skywalker's knighthood, Kenobi also sat on the twilight Jedi Council as one of the last Jedi Masters during the rise of the Galactic Empire and before the Great Jedi Purge.
His legend grew considerably during the wars, as he and his partner Anakin became household names from their daring exploits. This earned the attention of the Separatist general, Grievous, who wanted to add both Anakin's and Kenobi's lightsabers to his belt as trophies.
Obi-Wan was sent by the Jedi Council to eliminate Grievous, due to him then being the Head of State of the Confederacy of Independent Systems following the death of Count Dooku on the Invisible Hand, Grievous' flagship, during the Second Battle of Coruscant. Kenobi eventually tracked Grievous to Utapau and, after defeating some of his bodyguards, he engaged the General. After a brief lightsaber duel, in which Grievous used 4 lightsabers, Obi-Wan pursued him on a varactyl named Boga, Grievous using a Tsmeu-6 personal wheel bike. Kenobi eventually caught up with and killed Grievous with his own blaster, citing it as an uncivilized weapon.
Then, as Order 66 was issued by the newly-self-titled Emperor Palpatine, commanding all clone troopers to kill their Jedi Generals, Kenobi narrowly escaped murder at the hands of his clones using General Grievous' Belbullab-22 starfighter. Of particular note during the execution of Order 66 on Utapau was Commander Cody, Obi-Wan's friend for the past three years.
As Anakin became increasingly enchanted with the dark side (with thanks, in no small part, to Palpatine), Kenobi, with help from Anakin's wife Padmé Amidala, tracked the Sith Apprentice to the volcanic world of Mustafar, reluctantly battling him for what would not be the last time. After a long and grueling duel, Obi-Wan ended up cutting off both of Vader's legs and one of his arms, sending him next to one of Mustafar's many lava rivers where the newly Vader caught fire and burned almost to death.
As Vader lay cursing his former master, Kenobi replied, "You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you." Taking Vader's blue lightsaber, Kenobi left the planet as Palpatine and his clone escorts arrived, narrowly rescuing the Sith Apprentice from death. Despite his Jedi detachment and strength of will, this would weigh on Kenobi for the rest of his life.
During the Imperial era, Kenobi was forced into hiding on the remote desert planet Tatooine, where he went by the name of Ben. He hid one of Anakin's children, Luke, on that arid world with Owen and Beru Lars. Leia, the other child, was taken to Alderaan with that planet's Senator, Bail Organa, and his wife Breha.
Self-exiled on Tatooine, Kenobi spoke with his departed master, Qui-Gon Jinn through a technique passed down to him by Yoda which had in turn been taught to the old Jedi Master by Qui-Gon.
Exile (19 BBY - 0 BBY)
Over the next few months, Kenobi felt he was ready to train in the way of the Whills, but Qui-Gon's spirit told him that he was not, and that he must realize it for himself why in order to begin. Roughly a year into his exile, Kenobi overheard spacers discussing events on Bellassa, where an ex-Jedi named Ferus Olin was on the run from Imperial forces. With the spirit of Qui-Gon temporarily looking after Luke, Kenobi went to Bellassa, where he helped Ferus escape the ruthless Inquisitor Malorum. Pursued by Boba Fett, Kenobi and Olin escaped to the Red Twins.
It is believed that Kenobi was also responsible for the secreting away in the Lost City of the Jedi on Yavin 4 of the young Ken, just under seven years before the Battle of Yavin. Certainly, Kenobi knew of the city's location, as he would later send Luke Skywalker there, and Ken himself seemed to have vague memories of a "brown-robed Jedi Master".
Some thirty-two years after the Battle of Naboo, Kenobi rescued Anakin's son, Luke Skywalker, from Tusken Raiders, while Luke tracked the errant R2-D2, who insisted he had a message for an “Obi-Wan Kenobi”. Kenobi eventually heard R2-D2's message from Princess Leia Organa asking for his assistance in delivering the schematics of the Death Star to Alderaan. Kenobi was willing to help, and took young Luke Skywalker under his wing, giving him his father Anakin's lightsaber in order to teach him the ways of the Force with the intention of fully training the boy later, on Alderaan.
Kenobi, Luke, and the droids C-3PO and R2-D2 found passage to Alderaan on smuggler Han Solo's ship, the Millennium Falcon. Before they could reach their destination, Alderaan was destroyed by the Death Star. The Millennium Falcon was captured by the Death Star, but Kenobi managed to deactivate the tractor beam to allow the ship to escape.
On his way back to the ship, Kenobi encountered his old student, Darth Vader. Vader had earlier surmised to Tarkin that Kenobi had intended from the beginning to meet him in combat. Kenobi distracted Vader and his stormtroopers, allowing Luke and the rest of the crew to reach the Falcon. During their battle, Kenobi cryptically warned Vader, "You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."
Sacrificing his hope for escape, Kenobi let down his guard and concentrated for a moment, vanishing to the spiritual plane; his body disappearing entirely just as Vader's lightsaber, instead of severing his body, passed through his empty robe.
Post Mortem (0 BBY - 9 ABY)
Kenobi did not vanish entirely. In accordance with his prediction, he became a spirit that could guide and counsel the young Luke from afar.
The spirit of Kenobi played a vital role in the Battle of Yavin, for he was able to guide Skywalker in successfully destroying the Death Star I.
On Hoth, Kenobi told Luke to go to the Dagobah system for further training with Yoda. He reappeared after the death of Yoda to explain why he did not tell Luke the truth about his father and confess that Leia was Luke's sister. Kenobi was seen shortly after the Battle of Endor, standing next to the spirits of Anakin and Yoda as they watched Luke.
Kenobi spoke to Luke again, immediately after the Battle of Endor, warning him of the threat posed by the invading Ssi-ruuvi Imperium, and would also help Luke find the fabled Lost City of the Jedi.
Kenobi, Yoda, and Anakin again appeared to Luke in spirit form a few months later to warn him of the dangers presented by the Dark Lord of Belderone, Flint, apprentice of Lady Lumiya. Because of their warning, Luke was able to redeem Flint, leaving Lumiya without an apprentice.
In 9 ABY, Kenobi, still a spirit, visited Luke for the last time in a dream. Kenobi told Luke that he must move on from his spirit form to another realm. As Kenobi explained it, from the time of his death until then, Kenobi's spirit had been in an intermediate stage between life and the afterlife.
His final words were: "Not the last of the old Jedi, Luke. The first of the new."
As mentor to the first Jedi of the new order and one of the earliest heroes of the Rebel Alliance, Kenobi's legacy would continue long after his death. His name was commemorated with the Obi-Wan, first of the Defender-class Star Destroyers as well as through Ben Skywalker, son of Luke.
Tacticians, both from the Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance would pay homage to the General through the study of the Kenobi Offensive, a starship maneuver developed by Kenobi during the Clone Wars.
Kenobi's lightsaber lay in Lord Vader's quarters during the Battle of Yavin. This fragment of the Death Star was eventually acquired by Ugors and transported to the Paradise Sector. Shortly after the bombardment of Dankayo, the Rebel crew of the Bonderium visited the wreckage and retrieved Kenobi's relic.
Apparently, the weapon was later recovered by the Empire, because a second group discovered the blade in Darth Vader's castle on Vjun.
In 22 ABY, Uldir, a classmate of Anakin Solo, stole the lightsaber in a belief that it would make him a great Jedi. Solo, along with his associates Tahiri, R2-D2, Tionne and the Jedi Master Ikrit eventually recovered the weapon and returned it to the Jedi Praxeum.
Personality and traits
In his youth (circa 32 BBY), the loyal and dedicated Kenobi possessed a dry sense of humor and sarcastic wit. Yoda said that he sensed Qui-Gon's defiance in him, but spoke very highly of him nonetheless. Qui-Gon himself reflected upon Kenobi's considerable knowledge and potential. Despite having been apprenticed to the radical Qui-Gon Jinn, Kenobi himself was relatively orthodox in his views.
As a young Jedi Knight, he was cynical, though wise beyond his years. His humble and soft-spoken demeanor belied his warrior prowess. Despite his numerous complaints during flight, he was also a quite skilled pilot. In many ways, he represented the strength of the old Jedi Order: steadfast, selfless, and modest. His later skill at resolving disputes without a single battle would earn him the sobriquet The Negotiator.
Over time, Kenobi lost some of his youthful audacity and assumed the role of a more cautious and conservative mentor to Anakin Skywalker. Kenobi carefully measured his actions in any situation, garnering him the aforementioned nom de guerre. While hiding in the Jundland Wastes in his later years, he appeared as a kindly and eccentric old hermit (or, in Owen Lars' words, a "crazy old wizard") to those not familiar with the ways of the Jedi. In his final days, Kenobi retained his traits of patience and foresight as well as gaining some of the boldness reminiscent of his youth—perhaps a characteristic acquired from his brash new apprentice, Luke, or his old apprentice, Anakin.
Powers and abilities
Despite his preference for diplomacy, Master Kenobi was known as one of the greatest swordsmen the order had ever seen, and the definitive master of Form III (Soresu) lightsaber combat. In his early years, Kenobi had become very skilled with Form IV: (Ataru), but later abandoned it because of its lack of defense that resulted in the death of his master, Qui-Gon Jinn. Kenobi also knew elements of the Form VIII: (Sokan).
Along with Kenobi's lightsaber mastery, he was very advanced in the art of mind trick and force persuasion. He had learned from the spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn the ability to become a Force ghost, something he later used to guide and counsel Luke Skywalker.
Behind the Scenes
Obi-Wan Kenobi is played by Ewan McGregor in The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. In the Clone Wars micro-series, Obi-Wan is voiced by James Arnold Taylor. In the radio dramatizations, he was voiced by Bernard Behrens. Obi-Wan also appears in numerous comic books and novels set in the era of the prequel trilogy.
During A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi is played by Sir Alec Guinness, who reprised the role as Obi-Wan's ghost in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Obi-Wan's spirit appears occasionally in Expanded Universe material set during and just after the original trilogy, with his final appearance to Luke taking place in Heir to the Empire.