Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of Star Wars’ most beloved characters. Fans adore him for the role he played in mentoring Luke Skywalker since they first appeared in the 1977 George Lucas film, but also because he’s a revolutionist of sorts, always ready to bend the rules for the greater good. He may be a teacher but as the franchise’s cartoons such as The Clone Wars and Rebels have shown, he is also a rebel with a cause. The thing is, there’s a lot more than meets the eye with Obi-Wan, who has harbored quite a few secrets of his own, in order to remain a Jedi stealthily operating in the galaxy after Order 66 (which was meant to destroy all Jedi) nearly wiped them all out.
He may have lost his protege, Anakin Skywalker, to the Dark Side as Darth Vader, but he never gave up the fight he was part of alongside the likes of Yoda, Mace Windu, his master Qui Gon Jinn, and eventually, Luke. However, to continue the battle, he had to live a covert life, and stay underground, which ironically, is how he preferred to live anyway. With that in mind, CBR decided to dissect 15 secrets the Star Wars universe kept tucked away regarding one of the Jedi’s most iconic warriors.
SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for several Star Wars movies, cartoons and comics.
15. HE KILLED DARTH MAUL (TWICE)
In The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul killed Qui Gon in an epic battle with his double-edged lightsaber. He almost killed a young Obi Wan as well, but he used the Force to help split Darth Maul in half and kill Emperor Palpatine’s Sith apprentice. However, Maul was eventually revived, bearing a red-hot hatred for Obi Wan, which drove his arc through Clone Wars and into Rebels, and saw him confront the Jedi once more on Tatooine.
Cybernetically (and magically) enhanced, Maul squared off with Obi one last time. In a short but sweet showdown, he tried to use the same tactics employed against Qui Gon, only for an older, weathered Obi Wan to kill him. The Jedi showed him empathy and compassion at the end, though, understanding that Maul was driven by ego, pride and Palpatine’s mistreatment. The final chapter of their lifelong rivalry finally ended with Maul asking Obi Wan to avenge them both.
14. HE HAD A SECRET JOURNAL
Obi Wan’s secret journal plays a big part in Marvel’s current Star Wars comics. Found by Luke, he reads it in between his duties as a pilot with the Rebel Alliance, learning more about his mentor’s past and why he eventually needs to learn from Yoda about the Light Side. It acts as a manual for apprenticeship, not only teaching Luke about the Jedi and the Force, but about the Empire’s tyranny across the galaxy.
Obi Wan wrote it hoping Luke would find it and follow the diary’s philosophies. It seemed he knew he would die and not be there in person to look after the young Skywalker in his formative years as the galaxy’s new hope. It told of how Obi Wan lived and what being a Jedi truly meant, inspiring Luke along the way.
13. SIR ALEC GUINNESS DIDN’T WANT HIM TO DIE
Conflicting reports emerged over what Sir Alec Guinness wanted for the character. Some stated that he didn’t like the spotlight he got with the well-received hero, so he wanted Lucas to kill him off. Others suggested that Lucas struggled to find tension in his role as Luke’s master and was encouraged by his wife, Marcia, to kill the elder Jedi.
However, in The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film, it was revealed that Lucas originally had him slated to die… much to Guinness’ chagrin. He initially objected but after Lucas explained that Ben would have little to do in the story after the Millennium Falcon escaped the Death Star, Lucas convinced Guinness to let the arc slide, especially as it would be better for Luke’s development as a solo warrior.
12. THE SKYWALKERS HATED HIM
Uncle Owen, Anakin’s half-brother, hated Obi Wan with a passion and warned him to stay away from the family, especially Luke, after he brought him to Tatooine to escape the clutches of Lord Vader. Obi Wan had spread word that Anakin died fighting the Empire as a Jedi but as Jason Aaron’s current comics revealed, Owen knew there was something much more sinister behind what happened.
In Aaron’s books, Owen’s contempt was simply because he viewed the Jedi as a radical order, a cult, even extremists, which destroyed Anakin’s potential. He wanted Obi Wan to have no part of the family so as to protect Luke from suffering a similar fate, which is why they helped spread rumors of old Ben Kenobi being a madman and a hermit to keep away from.
11. HE SUFFERED FROM PTSD
Obi Wan endured a lot from the variety of enemies he faced over the years. It wasn’t just via betrayal by Stormtroopers as seen in Order 66, but he also had to constantly fend off Sith assassins. This definitely took a toll on his mental health, especially after losing his brethren, such as Yoda, Mace Windu and so many more. The murder of the younglings from the Jedi temple in particular broke his heart, and almost his will to continue. Anakin’s descent into Darth Vader punctuated his failures and overall misery.
On Tatooine, he recounted all these nightmares-turned-reality. The likes of Darth Maul, Count Dooku, General Grievous and Darth Vader himself plagued Obi Wan’s mind as he kept trying to figure out his purpose and if the Jedi Order was a wasted dream. In isolation here, his sanity was well and truly haunted, leading to post traumatic stress disorder.
10. HE WAS AN ENEMY OF JABBA
When fans think of Jabba the Hutt’s numerous enemies, they often think of the debonair pilot Han Solo. However, when Obi Wan got to Tatooine, he incurred the wrath of Jabba for very virtuous reasons. Jabba was trying to implement a water tax and exploit the good people on the planet and Obi Wan didn’t take too kindly to this. It painted Jabba as a true kingpin who was looking to dip his fingers into everything.
Obi Wan, on the other hand, stayed true to his character and continued to show why the Jedi were considered heroes. He knew it would bring Jabba on his trail, possibly exposing him, but he had to do what was right, something engrained in him since he joined the Jedi Order.
9. HE LOST HIS ABILITIES IN HIS OLD AGE
Obi Wan did well to protect his secret that he was losing his Jedi abilities as he got older. His lightsaber skills were waning, we assume because his motor coordination skills withered with old age, but we also saw his ability to use the Jedi mind-trick against enemies weaken. A great toll was taken on his body and mind after years of fighting the Empire, Vader, and of course, looking after Luke, so we can’t fault him.
Not everyone can remain on point as, say, Count Dooku! That said, few people went through the rigors of so many wars like Obi Wan did. It makes you wonder how great a duo they would have been had he properly trained Luke as he did Anakin. Despite fading in his twilight, as seen with Maul’s second death, old Ben was still a force to be reckoned with.
8. HE WAS HUNTED BY A WOOKIE
Jabba, incensed at Obi Wan’s meddling in his business, sent Black Krrsantan, a Wookie bounty hunter, to capture him. This bounty hunter was just as popular as Boba Fett, even being hired by Vader on occasion, and when he went after Obi Wan on Tatooine, it was a fierce battle. Here, we saw Obi Wan’s waning powers, as with his failed mind-trick, in defending Owen from the Wookie’s rage.
Luke would end up saving his uncle, but Obi Wan had to pull out all stops, from blasters to lightsabers, to stop the mercenary. He ended up leaving the Wookie with a scarred face to return to Jabba, unsuccessful in his hunt. This was one of the battles where Obi Wan realized his age was catching up to him big time.
7. HE TEMPORARILY RETIRED AS A JEDI
Obi Wan did retire as a Jedi when he got to Tatooine because he knew it would be the most ideal way to remain covert and also, to help watch over Luke without drawing Vader’s attention. After his fight with Anakin on the lava-planet Mustafa, he took his lightsaber and left the friend he considered a brother for dead, not knowing he’d go on to become Vader.
He put this lightsaber away on Tatooine, just like Wolverine retired his claws in the Old Man Logan comics, to mark a retirement. Obi Wan would have to use it later on but Anakin’s lightsaber would eventually be passed to Luke and then officially to Rey in The Last Jedi. Luke lost it when Vader cut his hand off, so we can’t wait to see if it brings memories back from Obi Wan’s old days when Rey uses it.
6. HE BROUGHT STAR WARS’ ONLY OSCAR NOMINATION
In the original trilogy, Sir Alec Guinness brought a unique heart and soul to Obi Wan. Such was his performance that he received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He had already won a Best Actor Oscar for 1957’s The Bridge on the River Kwai, so this wasn’t new territory for him. It really showed, though, that Lucas’ 1977 movie transcended the typical geek or sci-fi film.
No actor or actress has garnered any Oscar nomination since, although Ewan McGregor’s performances as a young Ben Kenobi has always been critically acclaimed, leading to talk of a solo film (which is now happening, it seems). We can see him getting nominated there because just like Sir Alec, he has a huge passion for the Jedi. Hopefully, it happens sooner rather than later.
5. HE BECAME TATOOINE’S DARK KNIGHT
Obi Wan frowned upon injustice and he ended up becoming a vigilante on Tatooine. He made a pact with the Jawas to attack Tusken Raiders who constantly raided them and caused them a lot of discomfort, acting as a silent protector and yes, the planet’s own Batman! He had to stick to the shadows because he wanted to stay off the grid so he could continue to monitor Luke.
The Empire was searching all over for him, and while it would have been best to leave everyone to their own devices and go off the radar for good, he couldn’t help but defend the innocent. This was when he unsheathed Anakin’s blue lightsaber for the first time since he fought him on Mustafa and took it.
4. HE HELPED SHAPE LUKE AS A YOUNG PILOT
As part of the protection and recovery services he offered the Jawas against the Tusken Raiders, Obi Wan received engine parts and speed-racer equipment, which he kept secretly at the Skywalkers’ residence. It would drive Owen insane because he wanted Obi Wan to leave Luke alone, but Luke was already engrossed in using the parts to build his T-16 racer, in order to go womp-hunting.
Obi Wan kept watch over the boy’s prowess as a pilot, especially as he himself was quite the (admittedly reluctant) navigator. He saw Luke did indeed have Anakin’s intuition, and even used the Force on occasion to help keep him on track in races. Obi Wan wanted to ensure the boy stuck to the things he loved most, which ironically culminated in their team-up to destroy the Death Star years later.
3. HE LEFT A PSA AGAINST ORDER 66
“Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope,” is one of Star Wars’ most iconic lines. Princess Leia left the message for old Ben Kenobi in R2-D2, as we saw at the end of Rogue One, and later on, Obi Wan would record a secret message himself. It warned Jedi to stay away from the temple because of Order 66, and also that the Republic had fallen. He told his brothers to go into hiding because they were now being hunted.
This became an integral part of Rebels, shaping the paths of Jedi like Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger, but it also showed that Obi Wan was worried, and that desperate days loomed. He begged everyone to trust in the Force with an uncertain future ahead, while still remaining optimistic of a new hope emerging.
2. STARKILLER KILLED HIM (TWICE)
The Force Unleashed was a story outside the normal Star Wars canon and focused on Darth Vader’s apprentice, Starkiller. Vader wanted to use him to kill Palpatine and rule the galaxy his own way. As part of their conquests, Starkiller fought Obi Wan, but because he was so powerfu,l he actually threw the Jedi into the turbines of a spaceship and basically killed him as if it were a fatality in Mortal Kombat!
Obi Wan returned as a Force Ghost to fight him again but Starkiller once more defeated him. This showed he was way more powerful than any Jedi. It actually worried Vader that his apprentice could one day turn on and defeat him. Starkiller rubbed salt in Obi Wan’s wounds by also beating Luke and turning him to the Dark Side as his own apprentice.
1. HE MASTERED THE AFTERLIFE
At the end of Revenge of the Sith, Yoda told Obi Wan to head to Tatooine; there, he would communicate with him on how to reach Qui Gon, who had become one with the Force as a vision. Obi Wan, as seen in The Clone Wars, did so and spoke to his former master from the afterlife, learning bits and pieces for when he would transcend the mortal plane himself.
Qui Gon’s teachings, supplemented by Yoda’s, would see the trio all end up as Force ghosts, with Anakin eventually joining them after being purged of his Vader persona. We witnessed this at the end of Return of the Jedi, capping Obi-Wan’s mentoring of Luke from the afterlife and providing a fitting end to when they first met on Tatooine.
Let us know in the comments below if you have any more of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s secrets!
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