Obi-Wan Kenobi And Darth Vader’s Complete History Explained

Obi-Wan Kenobi poster

by Ben Travis |
Published on

Who’s ready for the ultimate Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader rematch? Obi-Wan Kenobi, the latest Disney+ series set in the Star Wars universe, is about to begin, and we’ve been promised another face-off between the Jedi Knight and his apprentice-turned-antagonist in a major clash of blue and red lightsabers. Throughout the Skywalker Saga, the fates of Obi-Wan and Vader (or, Anakin Skywalker) have been entangled – and now, we’re about to fill in a major gap in the timeline, exploring where each went in the 20 years between Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith (which ended with Anakin getting toasted and donning that iconic breathing apparatus), and Episode IV: A New Hope (where – spoiler alert! – Vader killed Obi-Wan). But, before you dive head-first into the new series, here's a full account of the pair's entire history as it stands.

The Phantom Menace

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
©Disney+ / Drew Struzan

When the saga begins, it’s all happening. And by 'all' we mean trade negotiations. (Admittedly, the negotiations were short.) Here, Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi is a young apprentice to Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn – and while investigating a whole lot of political mess (which basically indicates that Chancellor Palpatine is a secret Sith Lord intent on disrupting democracy and creating his own violent separatist movement), the pair stumble upon pod-racing youngster Anakin Skywalker. Yippee! Sensing his immense power and outstanding Midichlorian count, Qui-Gon decides to bring Anakin along for the ride after he wins his safety in a race. All is rosy until Sith Lord Darth Maul pops up, offs Qui-Gon, and leaves the uncertain Obi-Wan Kenobi to raise the boy and train him.

Attack Of The Clones

Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones
©Disney+ / Drew Struzan

AKA, the one with Anakin Skywalker’s angsty teenage years. In the time since The Phantom Menace, the excitable kid has become a moody, pony-tailed moaner (now played by Hayden Christensen) who’s secretly in love with Padmé Amidala – a doomed romance, since his Jedi training forbids their love. He’s also developing a taste for blood, avenging his mother’s murder with a Tusken Raider massacre after receiving Force visions of her in peril. Meanwhile, Palpatine’s plot is advancing, and a freshly-mulleted Obi-Wan has uncovered an army of clones that have been bred for the purpose of war… Begun, the Clone War (nearly) has. By the film’s end, Obi-Wan and Anakin are primed for battle against Count Dooku’s Separatist movement (masterminded, of course, by Palpatine), but not before Anakin squirrels himself away to Naboo to secretly marry Padmé.

The Clone Wars

Obi-Wan, Anakin and Ahsoka

The Clone Wars - three seasons of Genndy Tartakovsky animation followed by seven of the CG series - covers a lot of events, but in a koja nut shell far too small for the job… Anakin is now, like his master Obi-Wan, both a General in the Republic’s Clone Army and a full-fledged Jedi Knight. Alongside Obi-Wan and rebellious Togruta apprentice Ahsoka Tano, he learns more about the Force and his supposed destiny as Qui-Gon’s 'Chosen One', but his proclivity for off-the-books interrogation methods in his military capacity sits uneasily alongside the Jedi Code, and foreshadows his tilt to the Dark Side. Obi-Wan, by contrast, earns himself the moniker ‘The Negotiator’ thanks to his reputation for defusing conflicts non-violently. When Ahsoka is falsely accused of bombing a Jedi temple, Anakin takes the case and clears her name, but the experience causes her to abandon the Jedi Order anyway, leaving Anakin padawan-less, disillusioned with the Jedi hierarchy, and increasingly isolated.

Revenge Of The Sith

Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith
©Disney+ / Drew Struzan

We’re plunged into the thick of the action from the offset here, joining Obi-Wan and Anakin mid-mission to rescue Palpatine from the wheezing cyborg General Grievous. As a reward, Palpatine appoints Anakin as his personal representative on the Jedi Council, who in turn ask Anakin to spy on Palpatine, further undercutting his respect for them. Padmé is pregnant, but Anakin has visions of her dying, and Palpatine tempts him with Dark Side promises of being able to save her. Anakin pledges allegiance to the Sith, is knighted Darth Vader, and starts initiating Palpatine’s Order 66: the full-scale wipeout of the Jedi. Palpatine announces to the Galactic Senate that he’s now Emperor, and the Republic becomes the Galactic Empire. Obi-Wan organises Padmé’s evacuation from the chaos, has a lightsaber duel with Anakin/Vader on Mustafar that ends up with Anakin minus his arms and legs in a pit of lava. Obi-Wan leaves him for dead, but Palpatine rescues him and fuses him into a suit of black armour. ‘Nooooooo’, says Anakin when he wakes up and Palpatine tells him that he killed Padmé in a Vader-rage. This is a lie; Padmé really dies after giving birth to twin babies Luke and Leia. Obi-Wan schemes with Yoda to keep the twins hidden. Bail Organa takes Leia with him to Alderaan, while Obi-Wan smuggles Luke to Tatooine and places him with Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, before going off to live in a cave. Palpatine and Vader begin overseeing construction of the first Death Star…

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Ewan McGregor - Obi-Wan Kenobi

To be confirmed… What we do know is, Obi-Wan is still on Tattooine watching over the young Luke Skywalker (now seemingly at a similar age to Anakin in The Phantom Menace). And speaking of Anakin, he’s now fully-fledged Vader, intent on growing the Empire and hunting down any last Jedi who survived Order 66. The rest? We’ll wait and see…

A New Hope

Star Wars: A New Hope
©Disney+ / Drew Struzan

This is where it all came to a close. The older Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness) faces off against Vader (now in full galactic badass mode) in a lightsaber duel that, admittedly, is as low-key as they come in terms of choreography. But hey, there’s legendary fan-edit SC 38 Reimagined for that. Either way, it’s a crucial story moment – Vader facing off against his former master in the wake of the whole Mustafar situation. But in striking Obi-Wan down, he becomes more powerful than Vader can possibly imagine. By which we mean, he’s now one with the Force, and can pop up in spectral form to offer advice to Luke.

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