10 Things You Didn't Know About Obi-Wan Kenobi
How Well Do You Know Him?
Hello there! Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the wisest and most powerful of all the Jedi during the time before the fall of the Republic. A general in the Clone Wars and Jedi Master to the Chosen One, Anakin Skywalker, Kenobi's list of accomplishments are virtually unparalleled in the Star Wars universe. A survivor of Order 66, Kenobi would pass on what he had learned to the next generation of Jedi, Luke Skywalker. Though Kenobi is one of the more complete characters in the Skywalker saga, there are still some facts about his identity that remain more obscure.
When Kenobi's very young, he's identified as a Force-sensitive and taken from his home planet of Stewjon, a very remote world covered in acres of grasslands. His parents give up their son to the Order, hoping for a better life than they could provide. Kenobi has no clear memory of his family, seeing the Jedi as his true family as he was raised in the Temple by the likes of Grand Master Yoda and Master Qui-Gonn. The planet of Stewjon was created by George Lucas during an interview with TV host Jon Stewart at Star Wars Celebration V in 2010. When asked about Obi-Wan's homeworld, George, tongue firmly in cheek, claimed that it was one of the first things he wrote down in his original script for Star Wars and revealed that the planet was named Stewjon.
2. Late Bloomer
While Obi-Wan's apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, would go on to be knighted at the young age of 19 after training as a Padawan for only ten years, it took Kenobi considerably longer to reach the level of Jedi Knight. Training since infancy, many believed that Obi-Wan would never reach Knighthood. At first, even his master and close friend, Qui-Gon Jinn, had his doubts, as seen in Claudia Gray's novel Master & Apprentice. As a youngling, no master would take Kenobi as an apprentice, seeing his abilities in the Force as average at best. Fortunately, Qui-Gon saw an opportunity to pass on his beliefs of the Living Force and began instructing the young boy. After many years of teachings, and the defeat of the first publicly revealed Sith Lord in a millennia, Kenobi became a much respected Jedi, quickly transcending Knighthood and becoming a leading Master on the Jedi Council during the Clone Wars.
3. Childhood Friendship
Childhood in the Jedi Temple is no easy part of life. From a young age, these individuals are given exercises, training, and tasks to perform to teach them the abilities and responsibilities of being a Jedi Knight. Pushed to their physical, mental, and emotional limits, younglings must persevere or be sent to one of the Service Corps where Force-sensitives not powerful enough to be Jedi instead become farmers, scientists, pilots, or engineers in service to the Jedi Order and the Republic. As younglings, prospective Jedi are grouped into clans to aid each other in their studies. One member of Obi-Wan Kenobi's clan was maverick Jedi Quinlan Vos, a near-human Kiffar who developed a reputation as a skilled fighter and rule-breaker, very reminiscent of Kenobi's future apprentice. Vos and Kenobi formed a close friendship during their early life in the temple, but drifted apart as their Jedi duties took them to opposite ends of the galaxy, with Kenobi becoming more of a rule-follower and Vos sticking to his erratic and unconventional ways.
4. Lightsaber Form
The third form of lightsaber combat, known as Soresu, is the most defensive of the Jedi saber styles. Relying heavily upon subtle dodges, continuous saber movement, and the conservation of stamina, Soresu requires great patience to practice. Also known as the Resilience Form or the Way of the Mynock, Soresu maximizes the efficiency with which one wields a lightsaber, with every movement having purpose. This form does however have limited offensive capabilities, luring one's opponent into either exhaustion or frustration before pushing for a killing blow. Through this style, Kenobi is able to continuously parry the attacks of such foes as General Grievous and his MagnaGuards. By the fall of the Republic, Obi-Wan's regarded as not only a master of Soresu, but the master of Soresu, held in high regard by such accomplished swordsmen as Mace Windu. Soresu is most effective when used from the high ground.
5. Key General in the Clone Wars
After the First Battle of Geonosis and the onset of the Clone Wars, the Jedi take command of the Grand Army of the Republic, leading the legions of the clone army into battle. Obi-Wan Kenobi is no exception. In fact, he's given a tremendous responsibility of leading the 7th Sky Corps into combat. This regiment of over 36,000 troops including tremendously decorated units such as the 212th Attack Battalion. Kenobi's clone troopers are instrumental in some of the most pivotal battles of the war including the Battles of Ryloth, Umbara, and Utapau. With clone Commander Cody as his right hand man, and often working closely with Anakin and the 501st Legion, Kenobi's an invaluable piece in the Republic war effort.
6. Varied Weaponry
Despite his chastising of Anakin after he later drops his saber during a high speed chase through the Coruscant underworld, Obi-Wan has gone through several sabers over his long career. His first saber, built while apprenticed under Qui-Gon, was extremely similar to his master's. A single blue blade emitted from a silver and black hilt with a large red activation toggle. During Kenobi's first duel with Darth Maul during the Battle of Naboo, he is disarmed, and his first saber is knocked down a reactor shaft and lost. Kenobi is able to call his fallen master's saber to hand and bisect the Zabrak Sith. Upon taking young Anakin Skywalker as his apprentice, Kenobi builds another saber in the same fashion as his first. However, upon his capture by the Separatists while spying on Geonosis, Kenobi is relieved of his saber, which is later destroyed by the Geonosians. During the Clone Wars, Kenobi fought with his third and final saber, a completely different style hilt from his first two that allowed for a greater variation of grips, additional leverage, and more powerful attacks during combat. This is the same saber he would carry through his exile on Tatooine and into his final duel with Darth Vader.
7. Undercover Assignment
During the Clone Wars, a plot to kidnap the Supreme Chancellor comes to the attention of the Jedi High Council. Determined to safeguard Palpatine, the Jedi come up with their own plan to infiltrate the gang responsible, and bring the scheme to a swift end. Kenobi is chosen to carry out this task that only the Jedi Council is aware of. Obi-Wan's death is staged, making Anakin, Ahsoka, and the entirety of the Republic believe that he was gunned down by a sniper. Secretly, he is brought to an advanced medical bay within the Jedi Temple, where he undergoes extensive facial transformation, including receiving tattoos, having his facial bone and muscle structure chemically rearranged, and shaving his beautiful beard. In the guise of his own killer, Obi-Wan is thrown in prison, where he falls in with gang boss Moralo Eval and bounty hunter Cad Bane, key cogs in the Separatist plot to capture the Chancellor. Surviving a brutal and merciless selection process, Kenobi travels with Eval, Bane, and a posse of scum and villainy to Naboo where he is in perfect position to foil the plot to seize the Chancellor.
When Star Wars debuted in 1977, it was a marvel of modern filmmaking. Audiences and critics alike marveled at the special effects of the movie. The creatures, aliens, vehicles, and weaponry were all an accomplishments of Industrial Light and Magic, George Lucas' audio and visual effects studio. The winner of multiple technical Oscars, including costumes, art direction, sound, and music, it was also nominated for multiple acting and directing awards. Alec Guinness was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the wizened Jedi Knight Old Ben Kenobi. Though he didn't win, the nomination alone speaks to the popularity and uniqueness of Star Wars at the time and how the character of Obi-Wan has spoken to audiences since his debut.
9. Saber Wound Easter Egg
Throughout his life as a Jedi, Obi-Wan would do battle with multiple Sith Lords. Some would even describe them as his specialty. One such crony of the dark side was Darth Tyrannus, better known as Count Dooku. He first dueled this master swordsman during the First Battle of Geonosis as the Count attempted to flee the Republic-captured world onboard his solar sailor. Obi-Wan and Anakin corner him in his secret hangar and attempt to apprehend him. Catching Skywalker off guard with a blast of Force lightening, Dooku flings him aside, incapacitating him and allowing him to cross blades with Kenobi one-on-one. Count Dooku was regarded as one of the greatest wielders of a lightsaber before he left the Jedi Order, and his talents are on full display against Kenobi. The young knight is overmatched and is defeated when Dooku gives him vicious slashes across the left shoulder and thigh. The location of these scars correspond to actual gunshot wounds that Sir Alec Guinness received during his service in World War II, as the captain of a landing craft during the Invasion of Sicily and D-Day. As Attack of the Clones was the first Star Wars movie released after Guinness' death in 2000, it is an excellent touch to pay homage to his service and bravery, albeit in an extremely subtle way.
10. Ties to Mandalore
Several years before the events of The Phantom Menace, the independent planet of Mandalore was embroiled in a brutal and bloody Civil War. A Mandalorian extremist splinter cell called the Death Watch attempted to overthrow the established Mandalorian government and its leader, Duchess Satine. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were sent by the Jedi Council to protect the Duchess. They were forced to keep moving by a band of bounty hunters who were after the Duchess. During this time, Obi-Wan and Satine developed a close relationship, possibly too close for the Jedi's liking. Kenobi was forced to defend the Duchess from both mercenaries and Death Watch troopers while they were on the run. This revelation in The Clone Wars is reminiscent of the most recent season of The Mandalorian when Boba Fett reveals that his father, Jango, was a foundling who also fought in this conflict.
Written By Weston Erickson
Syndicated From Culture Slate