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Obi-Wan Kenobi timeline: the Star Wars hero's life explained

Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

How much do you really know about Obi-Wan Kenobi?

Aside from the likes of Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan is one of the most instantly recognizable faces in the Star Wars universe. Master to both Anakin and Luke Skywalker, he has overseen the training of two of the most influential Jedi around.

With Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney Plus transporting us back to the events in between the first two trilogies very soon, we took a look back at the Jedi Master's life and charted the major events he's become tangled up in throughout the Star Wars movie saga so you're up to speed.

Training under Qui-Gon Jinn

Ewan McGregor, Jake Lloyd and Liam Neeson for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

R2D2, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) and Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Born on the planet Stewjon, the Force-sensitive youngling Obi-Wan Kenobi was quickly inducted into the Jedi Order for training and was made a Padawan under Jedi Master, Qui-Gon Jinn.

During The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan accompanied his Master to rescue Queen Padmé Amidala from the Trade Federation on Naboo. During their escape from the planet, Padmé's ship is damaged, forcing them to land on Tatooine to conduct repairs.

Obi-Wan remains behind on the ship while his Master goes out to look for parts. On Tatooine, Qui-Gon finds Anakin Skywalker and sends data from Anakin's blood sample to Obi-Wan, who analyses it; he finds that Anakin's midi-chlorian count is the highest known count from this sample. Qui-Gon is later attacked by Darth Maul as they are attempting to escape Tatooine.

Obi-Wan accompanied his Master to meet with the Jedi Council, where Qui-Gon Jinn pushed them to allow Obi-Wan to take the Jedi trials to become a Jedi Knight so that he could begin training Anakin.

During the Battle of Naboo, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon were confronted by Maul once again. This time, Obi-Wan was separated from his Master and was forced to watch in horror as Qui-Gon was impaled by the Sith Lord. Out of rage, Obi-Wan overpowers and defeats Darth Maul before promising to train Skywalker to his dying Master.

Becoming Anakin's Master

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Attack of the CLones.

Obi-Wan became a Jedi Knight after the Battle of Naboo. (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

During the events of Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan is dispatched by the Council to guard now-Senator Padmé Amidala by Chancellor Palpatine after an assassination attempt. That same night, Kenobi tracked down bounty hunter Zam Wessell after they attempted to poison the senator, but Zam is killed before she could tell Obi-Wan who hired her.

Obi-Wan and Anakin are then split up; Anakin remains by Padmé's side as Obi-Wan continues to look into Padmé's attackers. His research leads him to Kamino, where Obi-Wan discovers the assembled Clone Army.

On Kamino, Obi-Wan questions bounty hunter Jango Fett about any potential visits to Coruscant. When Jango tries to escape with his son, Boba, in his ship, Obi-Wan intervenes. During their brawl, Jango gains the upper hand and seemingly knocks Obi-Wan into the sea, but the Jedi Knight manages to cling onto the structure and attaches a homing beacon to the ship before Jango escapes.

Obi-Wan pursues Fett to Geonosis to continue the search. There, the Jedi Knight discovers Count Dooku was behind the attempts on Padmé's life. After revealing his findings to the Jedi Council, Obi-Wan is captured by droids. 

Dooku visits Obi-Wan in his cell and asks him to help him put a stop to Darth Sidious' plans, who he implies controls much of the Galactic Senate, but he refuses. Anakin and Padmé go to rescue Obi-Wan but get caught by Jango Fett and sentenced to death. Luckily, Yoda, Mace Windu and some clone troopers rescue them. Dooku escapes and the conflict kickstarts the Clone Wars, in which Obi-Wan plays a significant part as a Jedi General.

Anakin's betrayal

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith

Obi-Wan's greatest defeat was losing Anakin to the Dark Side. (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

By the events of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan and Anakin are dispatched to rescue Chancellor Palpatine from General Grievous, whom Obi-Wan had clashed with numerous times throughout the Clone Wars. They locate Palpatine and then duel Count Dooku together for the final time. During their duel, Obi-Wan is knocked out and Palpatine successfully convinces Anakin to execute Dooku. Palpatine later elects Anakin as his personal protector.

Obi-Wan is dispatched to Utapau to confront General Grievous. This proves to be their final duel, as Obi-Wan finally defeats the infamous Jedi hunter. 

Meanwhile, Palpatine finally corrupts Anakin and chooses him as his next Sith apprentice. He then executes Order 66 and dispatches Darth Vader to Mustafar to eradicate the remaining Separatist leaders in order to secure his throne as the new Galactic Emperor. 

Although countless Jedi are lost as the clones turn on them, Obi-Wan manages to survive the chaos of Order 66. He returns to Coruscant with Yoda — who also survived Palpatine's scheme — and learn what happened to Obi-Wan's former apprentice.

After discovering Anakin's corruption, Obi-Wan seeks out Padmé to find out where Vader (nee Anakin) has gone, telling her what's happened. He then stows away on her ship when she travels to Mustafar to seek out her husband. 

After Vader nearly Force chokes Padmé to death, Obi-Wan engages him in a fierce duel across the planet. Eventually, Obi-Wan outmaneuvers his former apprentice (he had the high ground) and leaves him to burn up in lava. He then works with Yoda to conceal Anakin and Padmé's twins, Luke and Leia, from the Sith. 

Obi-Wan's final act before the events of the original trilogy is to willingly enter exile on Tatooine in order to watch over Luke Skywalker at the Lars family home. 

The Obi-Wan Kenobi series is set 10 years after the events of Revenge of The Sith, so we look forward to finding out what he got up to before A New Hope.

Life as Ben Kenobi

Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: A New Hope.

Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. (Image credit: LucasFilm)

As a hermit on Tatooine, Obi-Wan adopts the alias Ben Kenobi. He eventually crosses paths with Luke Skywalker when Luke is searching for R2-D2. Obi-Wan steps in to save Luke and C-3PO from Tusken Raiders and the lost R2-D2 plays the infamous "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope" recording. This prompts "Ben" to reveal his true identity and the ways of the Jedi to Luke.

Obi-Wan tells Luke that Darth Vader was responsible for the death of his father and begins training him after Luke's family is murdered by stormtroopers. Obi-Wan and Luke bargain with Han Solo to gain passage to Alderaan aboard the Millennium Falcon, but they discover the planet has been destroyed by the Empire.

The Falcon then gets trapped in the Death Star's tractor beam after they encounter a TIE Fighter. Obi-Wan manages to disable the beam but is confronted by Darth Vader. As Luke looks on, Obi-Wan allows Vader to strike him down during the duel and disappears, becoming one with the Force.

Throughout the rest of the original trilogy, he manifests as Luke's guide. Thanks to his encouragement, Skywalker manages to destroy the first Death Star. In The Empire Strikes Back, he directs Luke to Dagobah to train under Master Yoda and he appears in Return of the Jedi where he encourages Luke to finally defeat his own father. He also returns alongside the Force ghosts of Yoda and the now-redeemed Anakin Skywalker at the celebration following the Empire's defeat. 

Although he's become one with the Force, Kenobi's voice can also be heard at multiple points in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, offering words of encouragement to Rey (Daisy Ridley) to push her to undergo her journey towards becoming a Jedi. 

Martin Shore
Martin Shore

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.