It seems like an impossible task to pick out only five, since I feel that every single moment Obi-Wan takes breath deserves to be on the list, lol. But I forced myself to pick out five of his best moments in the Star Wars universe, in my opinion:
- Defeating Maul Part I (TPM).
When Qui Gon and Obi-Wan face Darth Maul on Naboo in The Phantom Menace, it’s a really cool lightsaber duel (and John Williams’ soundtrack for it is fantastic). But when Maul cuts down Qui Gon, it gets real personal real fast. When Obi-Wan slices Maul in half, it was the first time a Jedi had defeated a Sith in a thousand years. And a Padawan, at that. Because of this, Obi-Wan earned his Jedi Knighthood and did not have to go through the Jedi Trials (whatever that is, lol). At any rate, this moment illustrates Obi-Wan’s excellent lightsaber skills and the kind of Jedi Knight he will become.
- Satine’s Death (Clone Wars).
This scene from Clone Wars (The Lawless, Season 5 , Episode 16 ), simply gutted me. Maul gets his revenge on Obi-Wan by killing the only woman he’s ever loved. In the episode, you can see the despair, and then the anger, that rises in Obi-Wan, but only for a moment. It’s in this moment that he fights one of the hardest battles of his life: resisting the urge to kill everyone in the room in his rage; to give in to the dark side. We get a glimpse into his emotions and thoughts in this moment in Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark, in the short story Kenobi’s Shadow by Greg Van Eekhout:
“…if Obi-Wan gave in to his desires, he’d be giving Maul exactly what he wanted.
He’d become the thing he’d dedicated his life to oppose.
He’d no longer be himself.
None of that was what Satine would have wanted. Not on her world. Not anywhere…
As Obi-Wan allowed the commandos to drag him away, only he knew of the painful victory he’d just won–and how he could not have done it without drawing strength from Satine Kryze, duchess of Mandalore.”
Maul had struck a blow to Obi-Wan–but he didn’t win. Obi-Wan’s “weakness”, according to Maul (his love and respect for Satine) is what saved him.
- Defeating Anakin/Vader (ROTS).
This is another tragic moment for Obi-Wan: his Padawan, his brother, his friend, Anakin, turns to the dark side and threatens everything Obi-Wan holds dear. It hurts him, but he will do what he must. Anakin’s arrogance causes him to make a mistake, and Obi-Wan maims him, leaving him to burn in the ashes of Mustafar. Some might wonder why Obi-Wan didn’t finish him off and put him out of his misery. He could have prevented a LOT of pain and suffering in the future if he’d killed Anakin. But he didn’t–he just walked away, leaving Anakin’s fate–and the fate of the galaxy–to the Force. Obi-Wan is a Jedi, and he will not kill an unarmed (pardon the pun) man. And perhaps he can’t bring himself to destroy Anakin at this moment–perhaps, somewhere in his heart, he still feels there’s hope. And of course, Obi-Wan is right. It takes a few decades, but the Force, in its way, brings Anakin face to face with his son, Luke, who brings about his redemption. By the time of A New Hope, though, Obi-Wan feels there’s nothing left of Anakin and there’s no hope of his ever coming back; maybe we’ll learn more about why in the upcoming Kenobi series.
- Defeating Maul Part 2 (Rebels).
Like a bad penny, Maul just keeps turning up. He uses Ezra Bridger to find Obi-Wan, intent on finishing his revenge against his long-time nemesis. For years, Maul chewed on his hatred of Obi-Wan; meanwhile, Obi-Wan has let all of that go to focus on the most important mission of his life: to watch over and protect Anakin’s son, Luke. In this scene, you can see how Maul has stagnated in his hate; while the desert of Tatooine and his focus on his mission has burned everything else away for Obi-Wan. He is a sea of calm, focus, and wisdom. Maul doesn’t understand this Obi-Wan, and ferrets out that he’s protecting someone here. Obi-Wan narrows his concentration, not willing to let Maul endanger Luke, going into a readiness stance with his lightsaber. This, the prelude to violence, Maul understands. But he underestimates Obi-Wan, and the Jedi cuts him down ridiculously fast. Obi-Wan catches him as he falls and holds him as he dies, showing a compassion for Maul that is astounding considering the pain Maul brought him in the past. But as Obi-Wan told him, he’s risen above all that. He kind of reminds me of Gandalf the White here–he’s passed through fire and ruin, and is no longer the man he was. He’s burned down to his essence: a Jedi in the truest sense. Ironically, he reached this pinnacle in the act of letting go of being a Jedi Knight and becoming simply Ben Kenobi.
- Sacrifice to Vader on the first Death Star (ANH).
I didn’t recognize the significance of this scene when I first saw it in my youth. I probably didn’t even really understand it. But I didn’t know Obi-Wan all that well back then (none of us did before the prequels) and just figured he sacrificed himself so Luke and his friends could get away. And he did, but there’s more to it than that. At this point in his life, Obi-Wan believes he’s fulfilled his destiny: he protected Luke and brought him into the fray at a critical point. Now he must do what all Jedi must master–to let go. Of everything. That look he gives Luke before he allows Vader to cut him down–that knowing smile–he trusts in Luke, and in the Force, and that everything will work out the way it should. Or not. He simply trusts, and like the time he walked away from a burning Anakin, he leaves it all to the Force. And as he tells his former apprentice, Vader, he’ll be more powerful in death than in life. He’ll be one with the Force. And we find out later that as a Force ghost he can more easily guide and advise Luke. He’ll always be there (though not at Luke’s beck and call, lol). I love that Obi-Wan chose his moment of death, that he was in complete control, and was at peace with it. It’s a fitting death for one of the greatest Jedi who ever lived.
So these moments are all probably obvious, but nonetheless, they really do define the kind of Jedi Obi-Wan was.
What do you think are Obi-Wan’s best moments? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!