Assuming you don’t count his cameos in the sequels, it’s been 17 years since Ewan McGregor took up the mantle of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. The (famously divisive) Star Wars prequels saw McGregor color in the larger-than-life outline left by the late Alec Guinness, who played Leia’s iconic “only hope” in the original trilogy. Obi-Wan’s ill-fated efforts to train the Force-sensitive Anakin saw McGregor’s younger version of the character soar. He was charming, but sincere; dashing, but discerning; a true Jedi hero as wisely quotable as he was indisputably badass. Anyway, now he’s on Disney +.
Look, it’s not that we aren’t excited for Obi-Wan Kenobi; it’s freakin ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi, finally filling in what happened in the 19 years between Revenge Of The Sith and A New Hope. We’re plenty excited. But without all six episodes in our greedy little queues right now, we’re left in the frustrating position Star Wars fans so often are: knowing sort of a lot, but also not nearly enough about a story we’d been waiting years to see even before the pandemic hit. Like you, we’re very ready for answers, and if that means broodily stewing over context clues until the first two episodes hit [checks notes] May 27 at 3 am ET, so be it.
Directed by Deborah Chow, the new limited series sets up Obi-Wan Kenobi and his former Padawan Anakin, now Darth Vader, to battle in a face-off that won’t change what happens in the Skywalker saga, but could imbue it with new meaning by integrating other parts of the Star Wars universe. Here’s everything we know about where Obi-Wan Kenobi fits into that famed galaxy far, far away.
When do the events of Obi-Wan Kenobi take place?
Disney’s official description for Obi-Wan Kenobi is laughably opaque, but at least it gives us a fixed timeline:
“Obi-Wan Kenobi begins 10 years after the dramatic events of Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat — the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as the evil Sith Lord Darth Vader. ”
Set in 9 BBY “that’s“ Before The Battle Of Yavin, ”which takes place during A New Hope), Obi-Wan’s standalone series introduces the Jedi Knight after his failure with Anakin at the end of Revenge Of The Sith (19 BBY), but before he and Luke Skywalker team up with Han Solo in A New Hope (0 BBY).
This makes Obi-Wan about 48 years old and his eventual prodigy Luke roughly 10 during Obi-Wan Kenobi. So Luke is living on Tatooine and Obi-Wan is self-exiled there, still hiding from the reach of “Order 66” —which deemed all Jedi enemies of the Republic and sentenced them to death at the end of Revenge Of The Sith. Meanwhile, Darth Vader, just thriving at 32, is still serving Sith Lord Darth Sidious / Emperor Palpatine. He hasn’t met his son.
What’s the main plot of Obi-Wan Kenobi?
As with all great Star Wars adventures, it seems Disney + ‘s new series is destined to feature lots of running, murder attempts, and running away from murder attempts. But aside from that, we’re pretty much in the dark on the plot.
The trailer shows Obi-Wan visiting Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton), the farmer tasked with raising Anakin’s son by the Jedi, telling him, “When the time comes, he must be trained.” Uncle Owen retorts, “Like you trained his father?” It’s an appropriately nonplussed reception — partly because Obi-Wan’s last teaching gig went so badly but also because he and Luke can’t meet yet.
Away from Luke, Obi-Wan Kenobi centers on Vader’s continued hunt for his former Jedi Master. “I want every bounty hunter and lowlife to squeeze him,” hisses new character Reva (Moses Ingram) aka “The Third Sister,” an Inquisitor for the Galactic Republic. She’s joined by The Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) and The Fifth Brother (Sung Kang), other Force-sensitive warriors for the Dark Side first introduced in the 2014-2018 Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels.
Hayden Christensen’s return to playing Anakin / debut outing as sci-fi’s most iconic villain in his final form is arguably just as exciting as McGregor’s return to Obi-Wan. Vader is heard — but only briefly seen — at the end of the trailer.
What other Star Wars titles might come into play?
The prequels and originals have obvious connections to Obi-Wan Kenobi—But the Star Wars universe is vast and a slew of other titles may come into play.
- The Clone Wars is an animated series, set between Attack Of The Clones (22 BBY) and Revenge Of The Sith (19 BBY). Both Anakin and Obi-Wan, still allied, are featured heavily and their mentorship gets better developed. Plus, it features the heartbreaking love story of Obi-Wan and Duchess Satine Kryze, who hasn’t been announced as a character in the series but would make for an extremely cool one.
- The aforementioned Star Wars Rebels does not include Reva as a character, but it does include animated versions of The Grand Inquisitor and The Fifth Brother, as well as a rich explanation of their origins.
- The video game Jedi: Fallen Order takes place in 14 BBY, so a few years before Obi-Wan Kenobibut it also introduced a handful of new Inquisitors (like the Second Sister and Ninth Sister) who might get referenced.
- Canonically, also around this time: The Bad Batch (19 BBY), an animated Disney + series about elite clone troopers, and Solo: A Star Wars Story (10 BBY), in which young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) does young Han Solo stuff with love interest Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke).
How will Obi-Wan Kenobi end?
“You can’t win, Obi-Wan,” Reva warns in the trailer. “You can’t escape him.”
Spoiler alert: She’s right! Obi-Wan Kenobi may defeat Anakin when they battle on Mustafar at the end of Revenge Of The Sith—But, if you’ve seen the Star Warsyou know, he doesn’t make it past A New Hope. Vader will kill Obi-Wan. That much is certain. While helping Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca escape to the Millennium Falcon, the beloved Jedi Knight will die at Vader’s gloved hand. But Vader can’t kill Obi-Wan yet. Is there a fate worse than death?