Obi-Wan Kenobi: everything you need to watch and read ahead of the new Star Wars show

A screenshot of Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Jedi's Disney Plus TV show
(Image credit: Lucasfilm/Disney Plus)

Obi-Wan Kenobi may not be a Skywalker, but no one – not even Yoda – is more integral to the long-running saga of Anakin and Luke than the legendary Jedi Master.

From fighting in the Clone Wars to coming back from the dead as a Force ghost, he’s had front row seats for the most pivotal events in that galaxy far, far away, but the imminent debut of his own Obi-Wan Kenobi TV show on Disney Plus will put him firmly in a spotlight of his own.

Ahead of the new series, we’ve looked back through existing Star Wars canon to assemble a guide to the movies, TV episodes, comics and novels you need to watch/read to understand what makes Obi-Wan Kenobi tick. They’re listed in canonical order and you can rest assured that there are plenty of spoilers ahead

Episode I: The Phantom Menace (movie)

Obi Wan Phantom Menace

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

A fresh-faced Obi-Wan is but the learner as he tags along with Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn to intervene in cinema’s most infamous trade dispute. Along the way he befriends hapless Gungan Jar-Jar Binks and begins a decades-long feud with angry Sith Lord Darth Maul, whose vendetta kicks off after Kenobi slices him in half. But the biggest turning point comes when the Padawan agrees to Qui-Gon’s deathbed request to train the pre-teen Anakin Skywalker in the ways of the Force, against the wishes of the Jedi Council – and despite plenty of doubts of his own.

Available on Disney Plus

Episode II: Attack of the Clones (movie)

Obi-Wan Kenobi

(Image credit: © LucasFilm 2021)

Obi-Wan has never been more fun than he is as a Jedi Knight at the height of his powers in Episode II. Whether he’s using mind tricks to get a drug dealer to rethink his life choices, or wisecracking that Anakin’s going to be the death of him, there’s a lightness to the character we rarely see elsewhere. For much of the movie he gets to play detective, uncovering the murky deals that led to the secret formation of the Clone Army, and coming face-to-face with Jango Fett and his cloned son, Boba. It’s in his scenes with Sith Lord Count Dooku, however, that he’s truly tested – though, of course, you never truly believe a Jedi as noble as Kenobi would be tempted by the Dark Side.

Available on Disney Plus

Brotherhood (novel)

Cover of Star Wars Brotherhood

(Image credit: Del Rey Books)

Set in the immediate aftermath of Attack of the Clones, Mike Chen’s novel (published May 10, 2022) sees Obi-Wan and Anakin getting to grips with changes in relationship dynamics now that young Skywalker is a fully fledged Jedi. The book touches on Kenobi’s feelings about his ex-Padawan’s relationship with Senator Padmé, while addressing the reasons for the shorter haircut he sports in Revenge of the Sith. (Yes, really...)

Available from Amazon and other book retailers

The Clone Wars: Mandalorian storyline (TV)

Clone Wars Obi Wan

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

If a prize was handed out for playing Obi-Wan Kenobi more than anyone else, it wouldn’t go to Alec Guinness or even Ewan McGregor – the winner would be James Arnold Taylor, who voiced the Jedi across seven seasons of The Clone Wars. The animated series showcases Kenobi’s talents as a soldier, but it’s arguably the show’s many Mandalore-focused episodes that are the most informative. They reveal he once had a platonic love affair with Satine Kryze, sister of The Mandalorian’s Bo-Katan and pacifistic ruler of the planet until she’s murdered by (former Darth) Maul. Obi-Wan’s relationship with Satine possibly explains his tolerance towards his apprentice’s forbidden romance with Padmé.  

Available on Disney Plus

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (movie)

Ewan McGregor in the Star Wars prequel movies.

(Image credit: LucasFilm)

Palpatine’s grand plan for corrupting Anakin Skywalker involves keeping him away from Obi-Wan – it’s clear that a friendly word from his former mentor might have prevented him turning to the Dark Side. Kenobi’s duel with the newly anointed Darth Vader is arguably the franchise’s most emotionally charged scrap, particularly when he leaves his fallen ex-comrade to burn. Anakin’s relationship with Padmé may have facilitated his fall from grace, but the end of his friendship with Obi-Wan is more tragic, and believable.  Come the end of the movie, Obi-Wan’s living in exile, though he also has a homework assignment from Yoda to keep him busy when he’s not watching over the young Luke Skywalker. And who knows? Becoming one with the Force may just come in handy later on…

Available on Disney Plus

The Clone Wars finale (TV)

Obi Wan Clone Wars

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The final four episodes of The Clone Wars (’Old Friends Not Forgotten’, ’The Phantom Apprentice’, ‘Shattered’ and ’Victory and Death’) are among the best of its run, dovetailing seamlessly into the events of Revenge Of The Sith. With the action focused on Ahsoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a bit-part player, but one conversation between the pair – where he asks Ahsoka to speak to Anakin about his questionable assignment bodyguarding Palpatine – opens up another significant ‘what if?’ moment for that galaxy far, far away. Would things have panned out differently if she’d managed to have that chat with her former teacher? Obi-Wan clearly senses something is wrong but is agonisingly powerless to do anything about it.

Available on Disney Plus

Obi-Wan Kenobi (TV)

Set around a decade after the events of Revenge Of Sith, the six-part Obi-Wan Kenobi series will find its eponymous hero living a life on solitude on Tatooine. Where his adventures will take him remains a mystery, but we know they’ll involve Darth Vader and the sinister Inquisitors sent by the Empire to track down fugitive Jedi.

Available on Disney Plus from May 27

From the Journals of Obi-Wan Kenobi (comic)

Cover image for From the Journals of Obi-Wan Kenobi

(Image credit: Marvel/Lucasfilm)

This trade paperback assembles the Journals off Obi-Wan Kenobi editions of Marvel’s canonical Star Wars comic. It’s a mix of flashbacks to Kenobi’s Padawan days, and Old Ben’s exploits on Tatooine – including an encounter with The Book of Boba Fett’s Wookiee guest star, Black Krrsantan.

Available from Marvel Comics

Obi-Wan (comic)

Cover of Obi-Wan comic

(Image credit: Marvel/Lucasfilm)

This new ongoing Marvel series (written by Christopher Cantwell, with art from Ario Adindito, Luke Ross, Alessandro Miracolo, Madibek Musabekov and Phil Noto) also sees Old Ben reminiscing on the old days from the comfort of his Dune Sea hut. Stories will visit different parts of his life, from his time as a Youngling to adventures with both Qui-Gon and Anakin.

Available from Marvel Comics

Star Wars Rebels (TV)

Obi Wan in Star Wars Rebels

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Rebels is notable for giving us our first in-canon sighting of the Inquisitors, but it also features a pivotal appearance from Obi-Wan Kenobi in season 3 episode ‘Twin Suns’. As the fledgling Rebel Alliance prepares to take the fight to the Empire on Lothal, Maul tricks wannabe Jedi Ezra Bridger into leading him to his old rival on Tatooine. Three decades after that memorable encounter on Naboo, Kenobi belatedly finishes the job, and subsequently admits to a dying Maul that he’s on a mission to protect the Chosen One of Jedi prophecy, one Luke Skywalker. (Although James Arnold Taylor returns to voice a hologram of the younger Kenobi, Stephen Stanton does a decent impression of Alec Guinness as the older version of the character.)

Available on Disney Plus

Episode IV: A New Hope (movie)

Star Wars

(Image credit: Disney/LucasFilm)

Not only has he spent the last two decades watching over Luke Skywalker, Old Ben Kenobi has a lot of narrative heavy-lifting to do when the teen pays a visit to his hut. When the movie was released, he was the only Jedi we’d ever encountered, and he skilfully explains everything we need to know about a mystical energy field known as the Force, before persuading Luke to follow him on a damn fool idealistic crusade to rescue a princess. After facing off against his former pupil, Darth Vader, Kenobi famously sacrifices himself, but ultimately becomes more powerful than you can possibly imagine, giving Luke helpful pep talks from beyond the grave.

Available on Disney Plus

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (movie)

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order

(Image credit: LucasFilm)

Obi-Wan also shows up in spectral form in The Empire Strikes Back, directing Luke to continue his training with Yoda on Dagobah, but his appearance in Return of the Jedi is far more important to the overall saga. Here he reactivates exposition mode to explain Anakin Skywalker’s pre-Darth Vader history, tell Luke that Leia is his sister, and remind us that pretty much every belief in Star Wars depends on your own point of view. He’s also reunited with Anakin and Yoda at the “we blew up the Death Star!” party on Endor.

Available on Disney Plus

Episodes VII-IX: Sequel trilogy (movies)

Rey and Kylo Ren in The Rise Of Skywalker

(Image credit: Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm )

Obi-Wan doesn’t technically appear in the most recent Star Wars movies but he’s clearly still out there communing with the Force. During Rey’s lightsaber-induced vision in The Force Awakens we hear snippets of Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness saying, “Rey… these are your first steps”. (Ingeniously, Guinness’s “Rey” segment is snipped out of the word “afraid”, as spoken in the original trilogy.) Kenobi is also one of the many disembodied Jedi voices who show up to inspire Rey at the end of The Rise of Skywalker.

Available on Disney Plus

The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi stream on Disney Plus from Friday, May 27.

Richard Edwards

Richard is a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early encounter with a certain galaxy far, far away started a lifelong love affair with outer space, and these days Richard's happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi magazine SFX, where he got to interview many of the biggest names in the business – though he'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard's name was Winter.