The “Star Wars” prequels may not be everyone’s cup of tea — or really anyone’s cup of tea, at least for awhile there — but they are certainly going to be important to the story of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” when you catch it on Disney+. So…do you remember what happened in those films?
No one could fault you if the answer is no. It’s been 17 years since “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” was released in theaters, and like we said, those movies weren’t everyone’s favorites. They’ve had a bit of a reassessment in recent years, with the franchise stars even marveling at the love they’re receiving now, versus back in their premiere days.
But of course, not everyone is ready to willingly revisit the prequels just yet. If you’re here, you’re likely one of those people. And that’s OK; we’ve got you.
Here’s everything that’s happened to Obi-Wan Kenobi on screen so far.
Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
We first meet Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) as a padawan (yes, he even has that silly padawan haircut) studying under Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). The 25-year old is, in his words, “ready to face the trials,” i.e. graduate from Jedi school.
At the start of the film, Obi-Wan and his master have been sent to de-escalate tensions between the Trade Federation and the planet Naboo. What they don’t know is that the Trade Federation is in league with the Sith Lord Darth Sidious and are quietly planning to take Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) hostage and force her to sign a treaty making their invasion of the planet legal. So obviously, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon aren’t given the warmest welcome.
They manage to escape to the planet’s surface, but have no means of going any further — until they meet Jar Jar Binks. With his help, and some slick Jedi mind tricks, they head on their way. The idea is to get to Queen Amidala and then get her to safety, and they do — temporarily.
Eventually, the group gets stranded on Tatooine, where they meet a young Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon Jinn senses the boy’s abilities and becomes convinced he is the fulfillment of an ancient Jedi prophecy. But Obi-Wan scoffs that “we’ve picked up another pathetic life form,” and they two don’t exactly bond.
During a trip to the Republican capital planet of Coruscant, Padme calls for a no confidence vote in the current Chancellor, resulting in Naboo’s senator, Palpatine, being appointed in his place. Meanwhile, Anakin is outright rejected for admission to the Jedi academy, but when Qui-Gon is killed by Darth Maul (Ray Park), Obi-Wan honors his dying wish and takes Anakin as his own padawan.
Yoda and the council don’t exactly agree with the decision, but they ultimately sign off after Obi-Wan makes it clear he’s doing it either way. The story ends with Senator Palpatine — did we mention he’s secretly Darth Sideous? He is. — ominously promising he’ll monitor Anakin’s career “with great interest,” and a celebration of the freedom of Naboo.
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
“Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” picks up 10 years later, with a now bearded and long-haired Obi-Wan Kenobi still teaching a teenaged Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen). The two clearly have a close bond, and poke fun at each other constantly.
This time, they find themselves back on Coruscant and reunited with Padme Amidala, now a senator after her term in office as Naboo’s “elected” queen ended. They’ve been called to the Senator’s aid because someone has definitely been trying to kill her. Obi-Wan and Anakin are to provide security — though Anakin is pretty sure that figuring out who the assassin is is “implied” in their duty. Obi-Wan can also sense Anakin’s overwhelming eagerness to see her again, and encourages him to relax.
Obi-Wan doesn’t love how eager Anakin is to put them in potentially dangerous situations, but he does go along with it, and, after a flying car chase through downtown Coruscant (a city-planet, by the way), they do manage to hunt down the person who’s been trying to kill Padme. Unfortunately, the assassin is killed by a poison dart before she can reveal who she’s working for. So, with the threat still looming, Obi-Wan and Anakin split up; Ani stays with Padme as her full-time bodyguard, while Obi-Wan looks for the bounty hunter.
The clues lead Obi-Wan to the planet Camino, where Obi-Wan discovers that a Jedi named Master Sifo-Dyas supposedly put in an order for a clone army for the Republic more than a decade ago. While there, he also meets the bounty hunter Jango Fett. Naturally they end up fighting.
Jango flees Camino with his son, Boba (yes, *that* Boba) and Obi-Wan follows them to the planet Geonosis. There, Obi-Wan discovers a Separatist gathering led by ex-Jedi Count Dooku, who’s creating a droid army with the Trade Federation from “The Phantom Menace.” But, as Obi-Wan transmits his discovery to the Jedi Council, he’s captured by Separatist droids.
While being held hostage, he chats with Dooku, who all but outright reveals that Darth Sidious is in control of Senate — though he doesn’t reveal that Sideous is Palpatine. Dooku invites Obi-Wan to join him, but of course, Obi-Wan refuses. As a parting blow Dooku claims that Qui-Gon Jinn (his own former apprentice) would have joined in, if he were alive.
Eventually, Anakin and Padme show up to rescue Obi-Wan — only to get captured themselves. But, together the three of them manage to escape their own execution, with some help from the clones that Obi-Wan informed the council about.
He and Anakin attempt to stop Dooku from escaping but fail, leaving Anakin without an arm and Obi-Wan with some nasty lightsaber scars. Obi-Wan admits that “without the clones, it would not have been a victory” but Yoda then cautions him that it wasn’t truly a victory — it was the start of a new war (the Clone Wars).
On, and unbeknownst to Obi-Wan, Anakin and Padme secretly get married.
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
“Revenge of the Sith” kicks off with the galaxy consumed by war, and Obi-Wan and Anakin on a mission to rescue Chancellor Palpatine, who was (wink) kidnapped by the separatists, led by Count Dooku and the droid General Grevious. As always, Obi-Wan doesn’t love Anakin’s reckless approach to things, but they push forward.
During their rescue attempt, Obi-Wan is knocked unconscious and while he’s out, Palpatine manipulates Anakin into murdering Count Dooku in cold blood and then encourages Anakin to leave Obi-Wan behind so they can escape. Anakin saves Obi-Wan anyway and eventually, all three manage to make it off the ship and back to safety. But, Obi-Wan doesn’t like dealing with politicians, so he lets Anakin soak up the glory for this one.
Back home on Coruscant, Padme is now hiding the fact that she’s pregnant — Jedi aren’t supposed to marry. Meanwhile, the Jedi are beginning to become more distrustful of Palpatine and Obi-Wan cautions Anakin about his closeness to the chancellor, who keeps extending his power.
When Palpatine requests that Anakin be made his personal representative on the Jedi Council, Obi-Wan informs his padawan that the council is allowing it because they want Anakin to spy on Palpatine. Anakin doesn’t take kindly to being asked to do something against the Jedi code, particularly by a friend and against a different friend.
Meanwhile, Obi-Wan himself is headed to the Outer Rim to hunt down General Grievous. He finds him and destroys him — but while he’s gone, he misses Anakin’s descent into the Dark Side. As the council has asked more and more of Anakin, he’s also been having dreams of losing Padme in childbirth. Desperate to save her, he’ll do just about anything.
That includes saving Chancellor Palpatine, even after outing him as Darth Sidious to the Jedi Council. In the hopes of learning how to stop death, Anakin pledges himself to Palpatine, and becomes Darth Vader (minus the suit of course). This means assisting in the betrayal of Jedi across the galaxy — even those in training. And so we have the infamous “killing younglings” moment.
Obi-Wan survives his attack by the droids, only to return home to learn of Anakin’s betrayal. In the hopes of tracking him down and stopping him, Obi-Wan goes to Padme. But, even after everything, she refuses to believe Anakin has turned evil. She follows Anakin to Mustafar to get some answers, while Obi-Wan stows away in her ship.
When Obi-Wan reveals himself on Mustafar, it’s the final straw. Anakin assumes Padme set him up, goes full Dark Side and force-chokes her to death, and then ends up in a brutal lightsaber duel with Obo-Wan across Mustafar’s conveniently dramatic volcanic terrain.
Eventually, Obi-Wan brutally defeats Anakin — by slicing off his former padawan’s arms and legs. But he doesn’t have it in him to mercy kill and instead leaves Anakin on the banks of the lava river to die.
Of course, we all know he doesn’t. Darth Sidious arrives to save him, and Anakin ends up in the terrifying black life support suit from the original trilogy.
Padme lives just long enough to give birth to Luke and Leia and then die — according to a medical droid, she “lost the will to live” — just as Anakin’s dreams foretold. For their own safety, it’s decided that the children will be separated. Bail Organa takes Leia with him to Alderaan, and Obi-Wan drops Luke off with his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. As the twin suns set, we see Obi-Wan watching over the little family, and that’s where we leave him.
So, when “Obi-Wan Kenobi” arrives on Disney+ this Friday, we’ll find Obi-Wan roughly 10 years after the events of “Revenge of the Sith.” He’s still watching Luke from a distance, and apparently begging Owen to let him train the boy when the time comes, all while hiding from Darth Vader himself.
How and when (and if, because it would make no sense) the two will reunite is anyone’s guess. All we know is it won’t exactly be a warm reunion.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” is now streaming on Disney+.