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In Episodes IV through VI, Kenobi was played by Sir Alec Guinness. In the prequels, Episodes I through III, he is played by Ewan McGregor. The role was loosely inspired by General Makabe Rokuruta, a character from The Hidden Fortress played by Toshiro Mifune, whom Lucas also considered casting as Kenobi.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is perhaps the most prominent character in the Star Wars film saga along with Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, as they, along with R2-D2 and C-3PO, are the only major characters to have appearances in all of Episodes I-VI.
Kenobi was born in 57 BBY and was trained as Jedi Knight from a young age. Little is known of his birth family, though, according to the series Jedi Apprentice, Obi-Wan does remember a brother named Owen. (No relation to Owen Lars.)
The Jedi Apprentice series of young reader novels by Jude Watson chronicles Obi-Wan Kenobi's exploits with Qui-Gon Jinn. The books span from approximately 44 BBY to 32 BBY with Obi-Wan being twelve years of age at the beginning of this series. During this time Obi-Wan meets many Jedi who would later be important friends, including Bant Eerin , Siri Tachi and Quinlan Vos.
The Phantom Menace
At the beginning of The Phantom Menace he is apprentice to Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn whom he accompanies to Naboo, the planet ruled by Queen Padmé Amidala. His master stumbles upon Anakin Skywalker, a young boy who showed tremendous potential with the Force, and wishes for him to be trained as a Jedi. Obi-Wan disagreed, believing the boy was already too old and too emotional to become a Jedi.
However, on the death of his master at the hands of Darth Maul, Kenobi honoured his master's final wish to train young Skywalker and the Jedi Council named Kenobi a Jedi Knight and reluctantly approved his request to take Anakin on as his Padawan (pupil). Apparently, the Jedi Council had been impressed that Kenobi bested a Sith, an enemy that had not surfaced in a millennium.
The Jedi Quest series of young reader novels by Jude Watson takes place between the events of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones and explores the relationship between and events that occur to Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker.
Attack of the Clones
In Attack of the Clones, Kenobi and Skywalker are tasked with protecting Padmé Amidala after an attempt on her life. Kenobi tracks a mysterious assassin to Kamino, and learns about a massive clone army that the Kaminoans are building for the Republic. He attempts to apprehend bounty hunter Jango Fett, but Fett escapes to Geonosis with his son Boba. Kenobi follows them.
On Geonosis, Kenobi uncovers a conspiracy of star systems that want to secede from the Republic, led by Count Dooku. Kenobi is captured shortly after sending a message to Skywalker. Skywalker and Padmé arrive on Geonosis, but they too are captured, and all three are sentenced to death by the Geonosians. The executions are prevented by the timely arrival of Jedi and clone reinforcements, led by Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Yoda. Kenobi and Skywalker confront Count Dooku and fight him, but he escapes.
The Clone Wars
Obi-Wan became a general in the Clone Wars as chronicled in the cartoon series Clone Wars and several books and comics of the Expanded Universe. As will be seen in Episode III, he also will sit on the twilight Jedi Council as one of the last Jedi Masters during the rise of the Galactic Empire and before the Jedi Holocaust.
Revenge of the Sith
Revenge of the Sith is expected to reveal that Kenobi and Skywalker duel on the planet Mustafar, resulting in the teacher wounding his former student so badly that Skywalker needs extensive medical prosthetics that became central to his new identity as Darth Vader.
However, this clash does not halt the rise of the Galactic Empire and Kenobi is forced into hiding on the remote desert planet Tatooine where he goes by the name of Ben. He also hides Anakin's children: Luke on Tatooine with Owen Lars and Leia on Alderaan with Bail Organa. In the Return of the Jedi novelization, Obi-Wan refers to Owen Lars as his brother, but nothing depicted in the films or novelizations of TPM or AOTC reference this. In fact, AOTC introduces Owen Lars as the stepson of Shmi Skywalker, Anakin's mother, who is married to Owen's father Cliegg Lars for a short period before her own death. Episode I implied that Kenobi had never been to or heard of Tatooine before, so it seems unlikely that he is "really" Owen's brother in any meaningful way. Most fans hold this plot point to be one that has been superseded, much like several others before.
A New Hope
Some thirty-two years after the events of Episode I, Kenobi rescues Anakin's son, Luke Skywalker, from Tusken Raiders while Luke is in the wilderness of Tatooine looking for a droid named R2-D2 that has an important message for the old Jedi Knight, as chronicled in A New Hope. Kenobi eventually hears R2-D2's message from Princess Leia Organa asking for his assistance in delivering the schematics of the Death Star to Alderaan. Kenobi is willing to help, and takes young Luke Skywalker under his wing 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 buy passage to Alderaan on smuggler Han Solo's ship, the Millennium Falcon. Before they can reach their destination, Alderaan is destroyed by the Death Star. The Millennium Falcon is captured by the Death Star, however Kenobi manages to deactivate the tractor beam to allow the ship to escape. Unfortunately for him, his return to the ship is cut off by Darth Vader who challenges Kenobi to combat. Kenobi distracts Vader and his Imperial Stormtroopers, allowing Luke and the rest of the crew to reach the Falcon. Sacrificing his hope for escape, Kenobi concentrates for a moment and vanishes in an apparent form of ascension, his body disappearing entirely just as Vader's lightsaber, instead of severing his body, passes through his empty robe.
As it turns out, Kenobi does not vanish entirely. Rather, he becomes a spirit who advises Luke as a mentor that the Sith cannot touch. Most importantly, he tells Luke to use the Force to destroy the Death Star.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Kenobi tells Luke to go to the Dagobah system for further training with Yoda. He reappears in Return of the Jedi after the death of Yoda to explain why he did not tell Luke the truth about his father and confess that Leia is his sister. Kenobi is last seen in the films alongside the spirits of fellow Jedi, Yoda and Anakin Skywalker, watching over Luke and his comrades as they celebrate the destruction of the second Death Star.
Kenobi spoke to Luke again in The Truce at Bakura immediately after the Battle of Endor, warning him of the threat posed by the invading Ssi-ruuvi Imperium.
Obi-Wan, 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 Flint, apprentice of Lady Lumiya, heir to the Sith legacy. Because of their warning, Luke was able to redeem Flint, leaving the reigning Sith Master without an apprentice. This was the last known time Luke saw his father and Yoda, though Anakin Skywalker spoke to Luke's nephew, Jacen Solo, decades later in the New Jedi Order novels Balance Point and The Unifying Force.
Obi-Wan appeared to Luke again 5 years ABY to alert him to the presence of the Jedi Prince Ken, the grandson of Emperor Palpatine, who soon became a pawn in a coup orchestrated by a group of false Prophets of the Dark Side set up by Imperial Intelligence.
In Timothy Zahn's novel Heir to the Empire, which takes place in 9 ABY, Kenobi, still a spirit, visits Luke for the last time in a dream. Kenobi tells Luke that he must move on from his spirit form to another realm. As Kenobi explained it, from the time of his death until the time of the novel, Kenobi's spirit had been in an intermediate stage between life and the afterlife. This is Kenobi's final appearance in the timeline of the Star Wars universe. His final words are: "Not the last of the old Jedi, Luke. The first of the new."
In case one wonders what happened to Obi-Wan's lightsaber after he was killed by Darth Vader, in Kenobi's Blade , a young reader novel featuring Anakin Solo, Anakin Skywalker's grandson, it is revealed that Vader hid it in a retreat on Vjun. Unsurprisingly, Solo and company recover the lightsaber from Vader's palace.
In his youth (circa The Phantom Menace), the loyal and dedicated Obi-Wan Kenobi possessed a dry sense of humor and sarcastic wit. As a Jedi Knight, he was cynical, though wise beyond his years. Kenobi carefully measured his actions in any situation, giving him the nickname "The Negotiator" during the Clone Wars. In the original trilogy, he appeared as a kindly and eccentric old hermit and wizard to those not familiar with the ways of the Jedi.
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