Obi-wan Kenobi is one of the most well-known characters in the Star Wars universe, right up there with Darth Vader, not to mention Baby Yoda and his Mandalorian babysitter.
The Padawan prodigy who would grow into a Jedi Master is, more than anything, faithful to a fault. In the prequels (played by Ewan McGregor), he adheres to the promise he made to his dying master to train a boy who deep down he knew was trouble and who eventually becomes Darth Vader. He’s also the quintessential Jedi, never drifting from the code, always heroic, humorous and honest. In the animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (voiced by James Arnold Taylor), which takes place between Episodes II and III, we see the human behind the Jedi, someone who has loved and lost but has learned to not be defined by his emotions. And in the original movies (played by Alec Guinness), he’s an old, wise warrior, years removed from the Jedi Knight at war he once was.
Never boring despite always playing things by the book, Obi-Wan is the stuff of Star Wars legend in his triumphs and his mistakes. He put even more of the “star” in Star Wars when the Notorious B.I.G. said in his 1997 hit “Hypnotize,” “hit ‘em with the force like Obi” — and that was two years before the prequels, and two decades after his first appearance.
As his “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series premieres on Disney Plus on Friday, McGregor now finds himself in a new deep-space reality that he probably would have never imagined after his three Star Wars films were maligned by critics. Those prequels have wowed a younger wave of fans who are now old enough to pay for Disney Plus subscriptions. And even after some divisive theatrical offerings in the Rey/Kylo Ren trilogy and a Han Solo movie, “The Mandalorian" has turned Star Wars into a streaming superpower. Now the return of Obi-Wan, and his looming rematch with Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen), is one of the most-anticipated Star Wars events ever. That is to say, we don’t have a bad feeling about this.
Here are the top Obi-Wan Kenobi movie moments, to help prepare you for the character’s return.
“The boy is dangerous.” (Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
Obi-Wan Kenobi is a young Padawan pleading with his master, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), to recognize the problem with training Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon is convinced Anakin (Jake Lloyd) is the chosen one. But even before Obi-Wan becomes a Jedi Knight, he senses something much more sinister.
Duel of the Fates “We’ll handle this” (Episode 1: The Phantom Menace)
Duel of the Fates, the epic lightsaber battle featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul, borders on Star Wars perfection. Its success comes from the combination of John Williams’s score, Ray Park’s physicality as Darth Maul and modern CGI technology finally catching up to the imagination of George Lucas. And it is a moment that shows the ascension of Obi-Wan Kenobi from Padawan to Jedi Knight when he ends up victorious.
“You will be a Jedi, I promise.” (Episode 1: The Phantom Menace)
At the funeral of Qui-Gon Jinn (who dies in Duel of the Fates), Obi-Wan promises a young Anakin that he will train him to become a Jedi Knight. The grief behind that promise blinds Obi-Wan to just how dangerous a decision he is making.
“Why do I get the feelings you’re going to be the death of me?” (Episode II: Attack of the Clones)
While trying to calm down his now older but still very young Padawan learner Anakin (Christensen) during their hunt for a bounty hunter, Obi-Wan jokes that the stress of teaching Anakin the Jedi way could be enough to kill him. This is as close as Star Wars gets to dark humor.
“I should very much like to meet this Jango Fett." (Episode II: Attack of the Clones)
In this meeting of future Disney Plus Star Wars titans, Obi-Wan interrogates Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison), the genetic supplier of the clone troopers that Obi-Wan will one day command in battle. Obi-Wan correctly suspects Jango is behind recent assassination attempts on Padmé Amadala (the secret love of Anakin Skywalker played by Natalie Portman). The two tussle on the rainy water planet of Kamino and in space before Jango ultimately falls at the hands of Jedi Master Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson).
“Sith lords are our specialty.” (Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
While on a rescue mission to save Chancellor Sheev Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), Obi-Wan and Anakin get a rematch with Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), the Jedi-turned-Sith they battled in Episode II. Palpatine says the two Jedi are no match for a Sith. Obi-Wan begs to differ, with the irony being that he’s rescuing a Sith, the evil Darth Sidious, he just doesn’t know it yet.
“Hello there.” (Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
While this frequently memed moment is no Duel of the Fates, Obi-Wan going up against seasoned Jedi killer General Grievous and his four-armed lightsaber attack is quite the Star Wars sight. You would never know a larger rivalry between these two existed without the much deeper dive in the animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars" series. In their cinematic duel, Obi-Wan disposes of Grievous with a laser blaster, which he afterward describes as “so uncivilized.”
“I will do what I must.” (Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
After Anakin falls to the Dark Side of the force and becomes the new apprentice of Darth Sidious, Yoda asks Obi-Wan to take him down permanently, a task he initially refuses because of their lifelong bond. During an intense lightsaber battle between the two, Obi-Wan seemingly leaves Anakin for dead, but Darth Sidious rescues Anakin, building him a mechanical suit that will fully transform him into Darth Vader.
“I was once a Jedi knight, the same as your father.” (Episode IV: A New Hope)
A much older Obi-Wan (Guinness) schools a young Luke Skywalker on the legend of his father, letting Luke know Anakin was an incredible pilot and a “cunning warrior." Obi-Wan teaches Luke how to handle a lightsaber while telling him how his father died at the hands of Darth Vader, without revealing that it is actually his father underneath Vader’s mask.
“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” (Episode IV: A New Hope)
Before Darth Vader uses a lethal lightsaber lash to make Obi-Wan one with the force, Obi-Wan warns his former pupil that he’ll be just as formidable in the afterlife. He is a man of his word, appearing in later films as a helpful whisperer to Luke, and as a Force Ghost.