Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness has come and gone, which means the geek community is sailing full steam ahead toward Obi-Wan Kenobi. The highly anticipated Star Wars series features Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen reprising their roles as the popular peacekeeper and menacing Darth Vader from George Lucas’ prequel trilogy.
Last week, to celebrate May the 4th and the show’s impending release, Disney+ unveiled the “Obi-Wan Kenobi Collection.” From The Clone Wars to Episode IV, this new section under the Star Wars banner contains every movie and TV show that showcases the titular Jedi Master.
The collection emphasizes the character’s vast journey since his debut in 1977, but in some ways, it is vague for the casual viewer. It particularly does not provide a sense of direction for the animated shows.
A show like The Clone Wars, as a whole, certainly impacts the greater Skywalker Saga. However, specific episodes highlight key character traits and moments of growth that make Obi-Wan Kenobi who he is. Some TV installments also possess critical information that will play into the forthcoming series.
To make sure you’re fully prepped for May 27, The Direct has put together the essential Obi-Wan Kenobi rewatch list that expands upon the Disney+ collection. Let’s dive back into the franchise to see how these projects affect our lead character and set the stage for the upcoming show.
The Phantom Menace
Every movie on this list is going to seem like an obvious choice, and Episode I is no exception. The Phantom Menace gave fans their first look at Ewan McGregor’s version of the fabled Jedi as he made his Star Wars debut.
In 1999, it was surely hard to imagine any actor becoming as synonymous with Obi-Wan Kenobi as Alec Guinness. Yet here we are 23 years later, and McGregor will be playing Old Ben for the sixth time (including voice-over work). Not only that, but he has accumulated substantially more screen time than his predecessor.
This film presents Kenobi as a Padawan learner. It lays the foundation for who Obi-Wan is throughout the prequel trilogy. Audiences are introduced to his witty, sarcastic humor, which is used quite frequently in The Clone Wars. He’s also rigid in his views and attempts to strictly follow Jedi tradition, which contrasts greatly with his master's.
That’s not to say Obi-Wan doesn’t respect Qui-Gon, but his ideology falls more in line with that of Yoda or Mace Windu.
The dynamic of their relationship, along with the rest of the movie, establishes the course for the rest of Obi-Wan’s life. He loses his master to a Sith lord, which sparks a fierce and long rivalry that lingers for years. Furthermore, he fulfills a promise made to Qui-Gon and becomes Anakin’s master.
Liam Neeson has long been rumored to make his return to Star Wars this May, but he has cast doubt on such reports. Even if the acclaimed actor does not make an appearance, his presence will undoubtedly be felt by viewers through the main character.
Attack of the Clones
In regard to Obi-Wan Kenobi, this movie might be one of the least consequential projects included on the list. That being said, the plot includes momentous shifts in the galaxy far, far away. Anakin and Padme fall in love and the Clone War commences, both of which represent the beginning of the end for the Republic.
As for Obi-Wan, he’s in full Jedi detective mode. He tracks down Jango Fett and discovers the cloning facilities on Kamino thanks to his old pal, Dexter Jettster. More importantly, this film exposes his struggles as Jedi master of Anakin Skywalker.
Attack of the Clones reveals the growing rift between the pair. Although their friendship is still apparent throughout the movie, it begins to crack as a result of their conflicting personalities.
Fans were also introduced to Count Dooku for the first time, who was Qui-Gon Jinn’s master. This lineage of apprenticeship signifies an interesting connection between Kenobi and Dooku. That connection is evident in this movie, as Dooku attempts to lure Obi-Wan to his side while utilizing their relationship with the late Jedi.
It is one of the more underappreciated scenes in Star Wars. Kenobi’s resistance to this temptation says a lot about the character’s values.
The Clone Wars
The Mandalore Plot Arc - Season 2, Episodes 12-14
If Anakin Skywalker is Obi-Wan’s primary emotional crux, then Duchess Satine Kryze of Mandalore is easily next on that list. Nevertheless, this classic Clone Wars arc pits the two against one another with differing philosophies about the ongoing war.
These three episodes explore the history between Satine and Obi-Wan when he was a Padawan assigned to protect her. From that mission came a romantic kinship. When the time came for Kenobi to choose between her and the Jedi Order, he chose the latter.
But the decision was not made without remorse. The dogmatic Jedi admits he would have left the Order to be with Satine if she had asked. Anakin passionately questions his master’s decision to leave her behind for the sake of being a Jedi, which is a powerful allusion to his fateful choice in Episode 3.
This dichotomy encapsulates what makes Kenobi stand apart from Anakin. Even though he has feelings of love for those he cares about, he does not let others use those feelings to control him. He possesses a formidable mind and spirit.
They both consistently respond to their calls of duty, but Satine and Obi-Wan truly, deeply, love each other.
Undercover Arc - Season 4, Episodes 15-18
A Jedi goes undercover with a league of bounty hunters using a physical transformation straight out of 1997’s Face/Off…what fun!
These episodes place Kenobi completely out of his element, with his resourcefulness and ability to adapt on full display.
Ben’s interactions with the bounty hunters here may be of importance in Obi-Wan Kenobi. In the official trailer for the series, the Third Sister is seemingly giving orders to other Imperial personnel, saying she wants “every low-life and bounty hunter to squeeze” Kenobi out of hiding.
Could audiences witness the return of famous Star Wars bounty hunters such as Cad Bane, who would be in his bounty hunting prime?
The answer remains to be seen, but if familiar bounty hunters do make cameos, the long-awaited series could lean on Kenobi’s history with these scoundrels featured in this arc. With recent comments from Obi-Wan Kenobi director Deborah Chow about surprise character appearances, fans should certainly be on the lookout come May 27.
Maul’s Revenge Arc - Season 4, Episodes 21-22
One of the greatest decisions George Lucas ever made for the franchise was resurrecting Darth Maul in The Clone Wars. Although Dave Filoni was hesitant at first, the creative team behind the show found a way to make it work.
From Maul’s rebirth also came his thirst for vengeance. In fact, it was the thing that kept him alive. The former Sith did not accomplish his mission of revenge in these back-to-back chapters, so Maul opts for patience and plays the long game.
Many once thought that a new movie or TV show centered around Kenobi would have to include Maul as an antagonist. Nonetheless, that story brilliantly unfolds and concludes in animated form, which is apparent in the rest of this list.
The Mandalore Coup Arc – Season 5, Episodes 14-16
This is Maul at his peak. Utilizing every power in his repertoire, the villainous Force user manipulates his way to the Mandalorian throne. Every plan he devises is executed to perfection, especially his plot for retribution.
In a heartbreaking scene, Maul exacts his revenge on Obi-Wan by impaling Satine in front of him. However, unlike Anakin who could not let go of his attachments and accept the fates of his loved ones, Kenobi does not let his grief and anger twist him to the Dark Side. Still, Satine’s last confession of love for the Jedi causes an immense amount of sorrow.
Alleged Clone Wars flashbacks have been a centerpiece for conjecture about the imminent Disney+ series. It stands to reason a broken Ben may not only have his apprentice on the mind, but the love of his life as well. It would be more than appropriate to have some cameo or reference to the late duchess in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Revenge of the Sith
If you could only rewatch one Star Wars project before Obi-Wan Kenobi, it should be this one. Revenge of the Sith is the crucial piece of the puzzle that fans will need the most when navigating the new Disney+ program.
Anakin’s betrayal and transition into Darth Vader, the death of Padme, the birth of the Skywalker twins, Order 66, and the Empire’s rise to prominence all bring about the setting and tone of the show. Moreover, these events will bear upon our main character.
Dave Filoni expertly detailed the contrast between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan as respective Jedi Masters. If the former survived his duel with Darth Maul in this movie, perhaps his less restrictive, more balanced teaching would have kept Anakin Skywalker from falling to the Dark Side.
As Filoni explained, little Anni needed a father figure. Kenobi, though, eventually saw him as a brother. This, along with Anakin’s eventual turn as Darth Vader, will indeed weigh heavily on Ben’s heart in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
McGregor has touched on the “enormous amount of responsibility…and guilt” the exiled hermit bears due to Order 66 and his Padawan’s fall. On top of that, Chow has recently confirmed that Obi-Wan believes he killed Vader on Mustafar. With this in mind, it makes sense why he is in such a dark mental state.
What will Kenobi’s reaction be when he finds out Vader is alive and as threatening as ever?
Star Wars Rebels
“Spark of Rebellion: Parts 1 and 2” - Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2
Most of these episodes of Rebels have less to do with Obi-Wan as a character and more to do with the Inquisitors. The basic premise behind them is that they are Vader’s Jedi hunters, tracking down and killing any Jedi that survived Order 66.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is bringing in new faces to the Inquisitorius, but the series is also bringing back previously established Inquisitors from Rebels. The most notable is the Grand Inquisitor. Voiced by Jason Isaacs in the animated show, the Grand Inquisitor is the one with the highest authority.
Even though he appears minimally in these two episodes, it is the fans’ first introduction to the hunter and the mission bestowed on him by his master.
The one reference to Kenobi in this premiere comes from Kanan Jarrus, who is in possession of a holographic message. It is the same warning Obi-Wan recorded in Revenge of the Sith, cautioning any surviving Jedi to stay away from the Jedi Temple. Although the context surrounding the message is bleak, the legendary Jedi remains optimistic, advising them to trust the Force for a new hope to emerge.
“Fire Across the Galaxy” - Season 1, Episode 15
The Grand Inquisitor did not last long in the series, as he meets his fiery end in this Season 1 finale. Other installments throughout the first season demonstrate the Dark Sider’s power and wickedness, but they are likely not vital to watch before Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The purpose of his quick exit was to make way for a far more frightening villain in Season 2: Darth Vader. It’s a wise move on Lucasfilm’s part to bring the Grand Inquisitor into live-action, with Rupert Friend playing the part, in order to elaborate on his role during the Imperial reign.
“Always Two There Are” - Season 2, Episode 5
This episode gave fans the first hint that there may be a whole gang of Inquisitors patrolling the galaxy. Viewers witnessed the intimidating Fifth Brother and boastful Seventh Sister in action against the crew of rebels. We know the Fifth Brother will be an antagonist in Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Sung Kang of Fast and Furious fame.
“Twin Suns” - Season 3, Episode 20
In the first project on this list to incorporate Old Ben after the events of Episode III, “Twin Suns” brings the conclusion to the rivalry between Kenobi and Maul. This shrewd version of Obi-Wan starts out by simply using words to cut through every barrier Maul has built to mask the emptiness of his life. And then comes the climactic duel, which is a masterful work of art.
In their last exchange, Ben clearly fills pity for his old foe and informs him that he is indeed protecting the Chosen One. Maul, a tragic figure in every sense of the word, asserts that they will be avenged.
A New Hope
The previous episode leads us right into this classic film. In recent interviews, Deborah Chow has mentioned how this series is a bridge between Episodes III and IV.
The Obi-Wan we see at the start of the new Star Wars program will definitely not be the same one we see in this movie, but the intention is to lay the groundwork for him to eventually become that person. Alec Guinness is a calm, restrained, and confident Obi-Wan who stands firm in his belief that Luke is the Chosen One.
This new series will also surely give viewers clarity on why Old Ben believes there is no chance of turning Vader. By the time the original trilogy takes place, both Kenobi and Yoda are certain that Luke cannot save his father. They believe this so much that Ben lies to Luke in this film.
It’s safe to say that his confrontation with Vader in this show will explain why Ben thinks Anakin is lost to the Dark Side for good. That being said, Obi-Wan Kenobi will have to do some tricky maneuvering around canon.
In Episode IV, the Empire is not aware that Obi-Wan and Luke are living on Tatooine, yet the trailers clearly show us that the Inquisitors and Imperial forces will have some significant presence on the planet.
To see how the writers work their way around the Star Wars continuity, fans will have to catch the first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi on May 27 exclusively on Disney+.