Hello everybody, and welcome back to the Sarlacc Pit! If asked for my top five list of Star Wars characters, Obi-Wan Kenobi would definitely come in towards the top. Whether it’s battling the vicious Darth Maul, fighting against Separatists in the Clone Wars, or mentoring the next generation of Jedi from the afterlife, Obi-Wan is a character that has always fascinated me. However, he is also a very complex character who evolved throughout the different Star Wars storylines. As such, I am going to spend the next three weeks carefully going through Kenobi’s life from a Jedi padawan to a desert wizard. This week, I will be focusing on Obi-Wan Kenobi’s life up to the start of the Clone Wars, focusing on material from “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” through “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones”. I am also including some information learned from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and Marvel’s Star Wars: Obi-Wan and Anakin comic series. So, let’s get started.
As a Padawan
Obi-Wan Kenobi was a human male born on the planet Stewjon. As there is no real canon information about his early years in the Jedi Order, we can probably assume that he had a very traditional Jedi upbringing: brought to the Temple on Coruscant at a very young age and raised and trained as a youngling until he was accepted as a padawan by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn.
All information we learn about Kenobi and Jinn’s relationship from “The Phantom Menace,” points to a fairly normal master/apprentice rapport. However, Kenobi seemed to have been more of a stickler to the rules than his master. While Jinn focused on the Living Force, preferring to stay grounded in the moment, Kenobi tended to gravitating toward the more Jedi-preferred Cosmic Force, as was encouraged by the High Council. Kenobi also seemed fairly preoccupied with forward movement in the Jedi ranks, often nagging his master for not following the orders of the Jedi High Council more strictly, which caused Jinn to be excluded from the High Council himself.
Kenobi always interested me because in my mind he is what a committed Jedi should look like. One good example of this is the stint of time in which he and Qui-Gon Jinn served as protectors for Duchess Satine Kryze, who had just gained power on Mandalore. Satine strove to turn Mandalore away from its war-scarred past and towards a peaceful future. When civil war broke out amongst the Mandalorians, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan were assigned to protect her from her enemies. The three had to constantly move, running from bounty hunters. While talking about this time, Obi-Wan and Satine both confessed that they had developed feelings for each other, but their duty took precedent over their desires and emotions, so after the war ended, they parted ways. This directly contrasts with the story of Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala, who allowed their desires to get in the way of their duties. Anakin’s secret relationship ended up playing a major role in the destruction of the Jedi Order.
Meeting Anakin Skywalker and the Battle of Naboo
“The boy is dangerous. They all sense it, why can’t you?” – Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace”
During the blockade of Naboo by the Trade Federation (secretly engineered by Darth Sidious), Jinn and Kenobi were called in to facilitate negotiations between the Trade Federation and Naboo. Once these negotiations failed, the Trade Federation sent in a droid army to occupy the capital city of Theed in an attempt to force Queen Amidala into agreeing to the Federation’s demands (presumably having to do with the rights to Naboos principle export: plasma). The two Jedi, in an attempt to bring the queen to Coruscant to plead for assistance from the Republic, ended up bringing Amidala to the Outer Rim planet of Tattooine after their hyperdrive was damaged. Here, they met a young child name Anakin Skywalker, who assisted them in replacing their hyperdrive. Qui-Gon Jinn discovered that the boy showed strength in the Force, as well as an incredibly high midi-chlorian count. This, accompanied by the mysterious circumstances of his birth (he had no father), brought Jinn to believe that Skywalker was the prophesied Chosen One and he decided to bring Anakin to Coruscant, against Kenobi’s strong objections. The Jedi Council told Jinn that Anakin was too old to train in the Jedi Order, but Qui-Gon vowed to train Skywalker, even if he had to do so against the Council’s orders.
Eventually, Jinn, Kenobi, Skywalker, and Amidala ended up back on Naboo. The Naboo, allied with the Gungans (who lived in the oceans of Naboo), joined together to fight against the Federation’s occupation. During the Battle of Naboo, the two Jedi battled with the first Sith seen in centuries: Darth Maul. Maul was able to kill Qui-Gon Jinn. At seeing his master killed, Kenobi rushed in to avenge him, eventually cutting Maul in half and letting his body fall down an energy shaft. With his dying words, Jinn implored Kenobi to train Anakin, believing that Anakin would bring balance to the Force.
Promotion to Jedi Knight and Training Anakin Skywalker
“The council has granted me permission to train you. You will be a Jedi, I promise.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace”
After defeating Darth Maul, the Jedi High Council promoted Kenobi to the rank of Jedi Knight, and also begrudgingly allowed him to take on Anakin Skywalker as his apprentice. While the defeat of Darth Maul was seen as a victory over the Sith by most Jedi, I believe that Kenobi realized that the brutal way he gained that victory was not the way of the Jedi. Afterwards, Kenobi often attempted to put off any violence, preferring to negotiate his way out of trouble if possible.
His padawan, however, idolized Kenobi’s brutal tactics during this fight, often using practice droids to recreate the battle and Kenobi’s victory while learning to lightsaber duel. During Skywalker’s training, Kenobi often worried that his apprentice did not have the patience or empathy necessary to be a Jedi. While Kenobi preferred negotiations, his padawan preferred his lightsaber. Ever a stickler for the rules, Kenobi had to stay wary of his apprentice, as Anakin was often unpredictable and followed his own path. Obi-Wan also worried as his saw Skywalker begin to fall more and more under the influence of Chancellor Palpatine, who showed an interest in Skywalker starting with Anakin’s admittance into the Jedi Order. Since at this point the Jedi did not know of Palpatine’s true nature, Kenobi originally feared that Anakin would be pulled into the corrupt world of Republic politics, the truth, however, was far more insidious (ha!).
Kenobi always had a deep sense of duty. Normally, this was expressed as duty as a Jedi, but his persistence of training and watching over Anakin shows that this extends to his duty as a student. While he originally fought against Qui-Gon taking on Anakin as a padawan, Jinn’s death became a driving force, as he believed it was his duty to fulfill his master’s dying wish. Even when this duty weighed heavy on him and Anakin expressed a desire to leave the Order, Obi-Wan carried on, fulfilling his duty to Qui-Gon’s memory.
The Beginning of the Clone Wars and Promotion to Master
While investigating the attempted assassination of Senator Padmé Amidala, Obi-Wan was led to Kamino (leaving his padawan alone with an attractive single senator who had made a big impression on him as a child, what could possibly go wrong?). On Kamino, Obi-Wan discovered the clone army (which I have discussed in detail in previous posts). From Kamino, Kenobi followed Jango Fett (the main suspect in the attempted assassinations) to Geonosis. On Geonosis, Obi-Wan found a large battle droid manufacturing facility, as well as a meeting in which several planetary leaders were discussing plans to leave the Republic. Leading the discussion was Count Dooku, a Jedi who had left the Order. Coincidentally, Dooku had trained Qui-Gon Jinn when Jinn was a padawan.
After being discovered on Geonosis, Kenobi was captured, along with Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala, who had traveled to Geonosis to rescue him (this is what could possibly go wrong). In an effort to both save the Jedi and senator as well as quash the Separatist movement before it got out of control, the Jedi High Council went to Geonosis with the Clone Army. This sparked the Battle of Geonosis. During this battle, Kenobi and Anakin faced off against Dooku, who was revealed to be Darth Tyranus, a new Sith lord. The Jedi fought against Dooku and lost, allowing Dooku to escape. Many Jedi were killed during this battle, and eventually the Clone War began as most of the other Separatist leaders were able to escape as well.
After the Battle of Geonosis, two major promotions were in order. First, Anakin Skywalker was raised to the role of Jedi Knight for battling against a Sith, where he lost his hand in the process. Obi-Wan was raised to the status of Master. Kenobi was then soon admitted onto the Jedi High Council due to the fact that many council members were killed during the Battle of Geonosis and some even left the Order all together. Around this time, Anakin and Padmé also got married in secret, though Obi-Wan would not know this for certain for some time afterwards.
This brings us up to speed on all the canon information on Obi-Wan Kenobi from his admittance to the Jedi Order to his admittance to the Jedi High Council. There really is not much extended canon on Obi-Wan at this point, so a lot of this information may be very familiar to those who have seen the prequels. Next week, however, I will be discussing Obi-Wan Kenobi during the Clone Wars, focusing on content from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” This will follow his career as a Master on the Jedi High Council, as well as a General of the Grand Army of the Republic. Thank you for reading, and may the Force be with you.