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Obi-Wan Kenobi's Entire Backstory Explained

His beginnings are shrouded in mystery. His youth was dedicated to the mysterious power known as the Force. His adulthood was filled with glory and battle. His golden years were spent on a golden planet, baked by the fierce light of two suns. Few managed to shape the destiny of the galaxy as Obi-Wan Kenobi did. Over the course of the Star Wars saga, he trained two of the most powerful Force users to ever exist, saved countless lives through skill and cunning, and took part in battles that altered the very fate of the universe.

He was an outcast, an outlaw, a powerful general, a student, a teacher, a friend, and even a father figure. Despite his deep knowledge of the Force and the ways of the Jedi, he couldn't always save those he loved from the dark side. But the Force follows mysterious paths and Obi-Wan's winding journey is ultimately one of the most important parts of Star Wars. This is the glorious, tragic, and ultimately unforgettable story of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

A youngling in training

Like most Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi's sensitivity to the Force was recognized at a young age. Extra-canon resources have revealed his home planet to be Stewjon — though that world was born as part of a joke between Jon Stewart and George Lucas, so how seriously one should take that is up for debate. However, it is certain that he came to the Jedi Order as a youngster, where he began his long and winding journey to truly becoming one with the Force. Life for a youngling, the term used to refer to the youngest trainees of the Jedi, is rigorous, but full of wonder. Obi-Wan was tested, dazzled, and introduced to obscure knowledge.

Obi-Wan was lucky enough to study under Grand Master Yoda himself, learning invaluable lessons from the tiny green powerhouse. Days of study of ancient texts, star charts, and the Force itself went by, in addition to Obi-Wan's physical training. When the time came for Obi-Wan to become a Padawan, essentially a Jedi master in training, he was taken under the wing of Qui-Gon Jinn. Qui-Gonn was a noble and wise man, well-versed in the ways of the Force ... but not without a sense of humor. He was, in short, the perfect choice of mentor.

Master and Padawan

For a Jedi in training, there is no figure more important than the Master who guides them. Jedi philosophy forbids traditional personal attachment — they are encouraged to leave behind their parents, and spouses and children are totally out of the question. The Jedi believe that close personal bonds like these can cloud one's use of the Force, muddying the greater picture with day-to-day emotions.

This is why the Jedi begin their training at such a young age — their way of life is so alien, few can adapt to it upon reaching adulthood.Thus, a Padawan's Master looms large in their life. They are a teacher, a brother, a parent, and a friend.

Qui-Gonn Jinn was a headstrong man. Powerful in the Force, he always followed his own intuition, treasuring and trusting in his connection with the Force instead of being swayed by outside voices ... even when those voices were the Jedi High Council itself. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gonn traveled the galaxy together as they trained, embarking on peace-keeping missions, diplomatic endeavors, and encountering more than a little danger. All of these adventures provided valuable lessons and helped shape Obi-Wan into the mighty Jedi he would become.

A dangerous mission

Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon's last mission together would prove to be their most dangerous. It would also change the destiny of the Jedi Order, the universe, and the Force itself. Qui-Gon was sent to assist in negotiations for what should have been a simple trade dispute. Naturally, he brought along his Padawan, Obi-Wan. The pair soon sensed that this would be no ordinary mission ... and the poisonous gas and battle droids sent to kill them proved them right.

They had uncovered a plot which endangered the newly elected senator of the peaceful world of Naboo, a young woman named Padme Amidala. The two barely escaped Naboo, with Amidala and her retinue of handmaids in tow, and headed for the backwater planet of Tatooine. The planet was outside of Republic control, a hotbed of ruffians and black market dealings. There, they had a fateful meeting with a young boy named Anakin Skywalker.

Obi-Wan was skeptical of Qui-Gon's fascination with the boy, but the child was a Force adept — and a strong one at that. Qui-Gon's trust in the Force made him realize that this was no chance meeting, and he (and therefore Obi-Wan) had a duty to give the boy the proper training a Jedi deserves.

A return to Coruscant

Unbeknownst to Obi-Wan or his Master, doom was hot on their trail. They began to sense even more disturbance in the Force as a mysterious enemy began to dog their footsteps. This being had dark powers that allowed him to manipulate the Force itself. They were attacked on Tatooine and quickly fled the planet, finally heading back to complete their mission by delivering Amidala to Coruscant.

Coruscant had become something of a home to Obi-Wan, as it was where most of his training had taken place. The planet is covered in a sprawling, many-leveled city and is home to the seat of the Galactic Republic and the headquarters of the Jedi High Council. Qui-Gon had brought Anakin Skywalker with them in the hopes that they could train the boy to become a Jedi in his own right, in the place where Obi-Wan himself was trained.

Though Obi-Wan could sense something strange about the boy, it wasn't until they received his midichlorian count, quantifying the living cells which connect a being to the Force, that he knew what it was. Anakin's count was off the charts and completely unheard of –  the Force clearly had a special role for this boy to play. To Obi-Wan's delight, Qui-Gon announced that the time had come for Obi-Wan to become a Master himself.

Tragedy and a new enemy

Though Obi-Wan's newfound status as a full-blown Jedi was what he had been working for his entire life, the moment was marred by tragedy. How greatly this time period would rock the foundations of the Galactic Republic, he did not know yet ... but would soon find out.

The threat of the dark side of the Force had been a thorn in the side of the Jedi Order for millennia. Long considered extinct, the order known as the Sith had risen again. Devotees of the dark side, the Sith command powers inaccessible to the Jedi. It was a Sith who had chased Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon from the barren wastelands of Tatooine, and it was the very same Sith who finally confronted the pair in a hangar bay on Naboo. His name was Darth Maul.

The three warriors fought with skill, passion, and murderous intent. In one dramatic stroke, Qui-Gon was slain by Darth Maul as a horrified Obi-Wan looked on. Furious and grieving, Obi-Wan managed to get the jump on Maul and felled him with a fatal slash of his lightsaber. Maul was dead, but at a terrible cost.

Qui-Gon Jinn's dying wish

Obi-Wan hurried to comfort his fallen master, the man who had become closer to him than family, shown him all he knew, and served as a guiding light on a path so often thrown into shadow. Qui-Gonn, to the very end, trusted in the Force and the great destiny it had laid out. He would see that destiny fulfilled no matter what.

The Jedi High Council had forbidden Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan from training Anakin Skywalker as a Jedi. But Qui-Gonn's dying wish was to see the boy trained. He was certain the boy's destiny was intertwined with that of the Force, and so he begged Obi-Wan to train him, regardless of the Council's wishes. Obi-Wan promised to do so. The Jedi Council bestowed upon him the title of Jedi Master, and even, however reluctantly, agreed to Anakin's training. Anakin Skywalker became Obi-Wan's Padawan,  and the two would grow to become as close as Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan had been.

A plot uncovered

Anakin's training began late for a Jedi, but his enormous skill made up for it. Obi-Wan used all of the lessons he had learned from Qui-Gon to try and teach the headstrong young Padawan the ways and wisdom of the Force. Anakin was a special child, already one of the greatest pilots in the galaxy, and also showed great skill at wielding a lightsaber. He was stubborn, sure, and had a bit of wild streak, but his powers were so prodigious, it hardly mattered ... at first.

 While these were generally happy days for Obi-Wan and Anakin, the threat of the dark side continued to grow. Something dark loomed just outside the vision of the wise Jedi Masters ... something that would threaten the very order of the galaxy.

The pair were reunited with Padme Amidala, now a Senator from Naboo. After an attempt on her life was made, they were assigned to protect her. Obi-Wan followed his intuition and traced a series of clues to the planet Kamino, a watery, storm-torn world, home to some of the best cloners in the galaxy. There, he discovered a clone army, fully grown for use by the Galactic government. The clone army would become a great tool for the Jedi Order in the years to come ... and its ultimate downfall.

General of the Clone Wars

Though the Jedi were still based on Coruscant, Obi-Wan and Anakin would often venture off-world to carry out missions at the order of the Jedi High Council, just as Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan had done.

Suddenly, those missions were more important than ever. Obi-Wan's discovery of a plot to overthrow the Galactic Republic's traditions of democracy and peace led to a full-blown war which raged all over the galaxy. Heroes tend to emerge in times of crisis, and it was during the Clone Wars that Obi-Wan truly came into his own.

Rising to the rank of General and earning a seat on the Jedi Council, Obi-Wan commanded troops, using his brilliant tactical mind to outwit and defeat the enemies of the Jedi over and over again. While he was an adept commander from afar, he was also never afraid to be on the battlefield, right in the thick of the fighting. He was, after all, one of the most skilled lightsaber wielders in all the Jedi Order. His exploits during the Clone Wars would become the stuff of legend.

The Jedi betrayed

General Kenobi won countless battles through brilliance and skill. But not even he could stem the tide of the dark side, rising ever-faster in that age of turmoil and treachery.

Anakin, so full of promise, had begun to change. Unbeknownst to Kenobi, he was being seduced by the dark side — and by the time Obi-Wan realized what had happened, it was too late. In a final coup by the the traitorous Senator Palpatine, who had been gathering power for years, the clone army was ordered to turn on the Jedi they had served and execute them. They were brutally effective, and the Jedi were nearly put out of existence.

Tensions built until Anakin and Obi-Wan were forced to confront each other on the molten planet of Mustafar. Their battle was fierce and tragic, culminating in Obi-Wan severing Anakin's legs and leaving him on the bank of a lava flow to die. Though Obi-Wan technically "won," it was the most hollow victory possible. The Jedi Order was destroyed and the Republic was in flames. And Anakin, as it turned out, was saved by Palpatine. He was now ensconced in a life-support suit, and went by a very different name: Darth Vader.

Return to Tatooine

Though he'd become lost to the dark side, Anakin had truly loved Padme Amidala. The two had been carrying on a secret relationship, and Amidala was pregnant with twins. Padme did not survive their birth, leaving Obi-Wan in a difficult position. The fall of the Republic and the twins' true parentage made the universe a very dangerous place for these two innocent babies.

Galactic order as Obi-Wan had known it was in tatters, and anyone with information as to how it had all fallen apart was fleeing into hiding. It was decided that Luke and Leia were to be separated for their own safety and raised with false backstories. Leia was sent to be raised as a princess by Bail and Breha Organa of Alderaan. Luke was taken by Obi-Wan to Anakin's homeworld of Tatooine. He was raised by relations of Anakin's mother as a simple farm boy — though not even his modest circumstances could stop him from dreaming of bigger things.

Obi-Wan also settled on Tatooine to keep an eye on Luke from afar, and to give him his father's lightsaber when the time came.

A new hope for the galaxy

 Obi-Wan assumed the role of hermit on Tatooine, hiding his true identity from any trespassers. He kept a watchful eye on Luke, especially as the boy's thirst for adventure grew. Obi-Wan became a sort of guardian angel, saving the boy from peril as needed, then slinking back into the shadows of seclusion.

Obi-Wan continued his own training, meditating on the Force and increasing his own power and wisdom. Even on Tatooine, in the far corner of the galaxy, trouble still found the fallen general. No threat was greater or more unexpected than his old foe Darth Maul's appearance on the planet, however. Darth Maul had survived and tracked Kenobi down. The two crossed lightsabers, and once again, Obi-Wan defeated the Sith lord.

He returned to guarding Luke from afar, but the arrival of the droid R2-D2 containing a message sent by Leia Organa begging for Obi-Wan's help changed everything. This would spark Luke's call to adventure and signal it was time for Obi-Wan to return to the galactic stage. 

Obi-Wan became a mentor to Luke, teaching him as he had taught his father, and the two embarked on a great quest to bring peace to the galaxy once more.