Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s best moments in the Star Wars franchise

Whether it’s Alec Guinness’ sage portrayal in the original trilogy or Ewan McGregor’s modern soulful rendition in the prequel trilogy and Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, the titular Jedi Master is an undisputed franchise icon. The Star Wars limited series has wrapped by closing on the long-awaited “rematch of the century” longtime fans have been hoping for, but the life that Obi-Wan has led is one filled with memorable moments of triumph — and tragedy.

The movies are understandably where the franchise gets the most attention, but the animated shows and solo series have added worthy points in Kenobi’s life. From his unforgettable first duel against Darth Maul alongside Qui-Gon Jinn to his grand sacrifice against Darth Vader, fans have plenty of Obi-Wan’s greatest hits to savor.

The Duel of the Fates in The Phantom Menace

Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan vs Darth Maul - Duel of the Fates | Star Wars The Phantom Menace (1999) Movie Clip

The Phantom Menace itself may have been a rocky entry in the mainline Star Wars canon, but young Obi-Wan and his Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn’s “Duel of the Fates” against Darth Maul will forever be considered timeless. Obi-Wan was but an inexperienced Jedi Padawan at this stage in his life and, like young Anakin Skywalker, was suddenly forced to grow up faster than anticipated.

John Williams’ grandiose track was aptly named and complemented the scene masterfully, as the duel would shape the trajectory of Anakin and the galaxy at large. Say what you will of the prequels’ clunky dialogue and narrative choices, but the lightsaber fights were majestically choreographed and this one was suitably dramatic. Qui-Gon’s death at the hands of the grim Sith Lord deeply resonated, and Obi-Wan rising above the challenge and his whirlwind of emotions to defeat Maul was equally cathartic.

Defeating the uncivilized General Grievous in Revenge of the Sith

Obi-Wan dueling with General Grievous in Revenge of the Sith.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Part of what Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi brought to the franchise was that aforementioned composed soulfulness in conjunction with an irresistible dose of wit and sass. Revenge of the Sith managed to stick the landing for the prequel trilogy where The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones underwhelmed, and the various moving pieces of the encroaching Empire added to the plot.

One of which was the entertaining and chaotic fight between Obi-Wan and the conniving General Grievous when the latter thinks he finally has the revered Jedi cornered. Even when the deck is stacked against him with a villain that has no sense of honor or dignity, Obi-Wan can still come out on top by beating Grievous at his own game while maintaining a sassy air of class.

Battle of the Heroes in Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith | Anakin vs Obi-Wan Duel On Mustafar | 4K HDR

Another reason that Revenge of the Sith was able to put together a worthy curtain call on this trilogy was fully living up to the “space opera” genre that A New Hope opened with the franchise in 1977. It felt like a fitting Star Wars-themed Shakespearian tragedy, and the epic-scaled “Battle of the Heroes” was the movie’s grand culmination.

Once again, John Williams’ titular track helps complete this scene, with the delightfully over-the-top choreographed lightsaber duel on the magma of Mustafar driving the emotional weight home. This scene brings the best out of both McGregor and Hayden Christensen’s acting chops, with each biting insult Anakin spits at Obi-Wan hurting the audience as much as the Jedi Master himself, and the latter’s desperate pleadings for Skywalker to come back to the light conveying his pain of losing a brother.

Rematch against Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi finale

Obi-Wan and Darth Vader clashing lightsabers in the Disney+ series.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Even though it wasn’t the perfect hit that many fans expected, Obi-Wan Kenobi was a respectable and solid entry in the franchise despite some questionable directing and writing choices that finally filled in some highly-demanded gaps in the Jedi Master’s life. Chapter VI of the limited series put to screen one of the most coveted rematches in pop culture media, with an Obi-Wan vs. Darth Vader duel that felt more kinetic than ever. The Jedi even showed off some Extended Universe/Legends-level Force abilities to up the spectacle.

That’s thanks to modern filmmaking advancements in making a Vader suit that’s surely more flexible than what fans have seen in the original trilogy and more stylized action choreography. Obi-Wan Kenobi gave an enticing new look at Darth Vader, as this is arguably the most mentally vulnerable and aggressively unstable we’ve ever seen him. It’s not the same operatic bout as in Revenge of the Sith‘s closing moments, but this fight was a welcome smaller-scale encounter to provide even more emotional context for A New Hope.

Rematch against Vader in A New Hope

Obi-Wan dueling Vader on the Death Star in A New Hope.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Their final duel in A New Hope has, in certain ways, gotten better with time. That’s, of course, due to the likes of Revenge of the Sith, The Clone Wars, and Obi-Wan Kenobi supplementing it with more narrative context. Sure, the scene is understandably more physically restrained given the limitations of sci-fi fantasy filmmaking in the ’70s, but the movie’s overall tone has become part of Star Wars’ charm.

Obi-Wan had been keeping a watchful eye over young Luke Skywalker for some time now, and his death and final words to Darth Vader carry more significance than ever before. He’s done his part, and he knows his time has come. After finally reuniting the Skywalker children and setting Luke on a path to bring peace to the galaxy, he accepts his fate to become one with the Force. Obi-Wan, in a way only a few can, finds the ultimate victory even in defeat.

Teaming up with Asajj Ventress against Maul in The Clone Wars

Obi-Wan and Asajj Ventess fighting Maul and Savage Opress.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The idea of bringing Maul back by retconning his supposed death in The Phantom Menace sounded like cheap fan service on paper, but Dave Filoni managed to turn that into one of the most compelling character arcs in all of Star Wars. His acclaimed The Clone Wars animated series further helped provide context for the prequel trilogy, and it made Maul’s boiling quest for vengeance one of them.

The former Sith Lord and his brother Savage Opress capture Obi-Wan to exact his revenge before Count Dooku’s former Dark Side acolyte Asajj Ventress makes a surprise appearance, forming a temporary and unlikely team against Maul and his brother. This was Obi-Wan’s first rematch with Darth Sidious/Palpatine’s former apprentice, and Filoni made full use of the animation medium to deliver the dramatics it calls for.

Putting Maul to rest in Rebels

Obi-Wan holding Maul and putting him to rest in Rebels.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Coming full circle from his bitter defeat at the hands of Obi-Wan in The Phantom Menace, Maul and the Jedi Master have one final bout to bring the former’s character arc to a close. In Rebels, Maul finally narrows down Obi-Wan’s location on Tatooine — and deduces that he’s here for far more than a self-imposed exile. After that, the Jedi Master would no longer tolerate any other threats, igniting his lightsaber to show that he means to end this chase once and for all.

What ensues is a tense test of lightsaber stances and careful footwork in preparation, but the fight was over in a flash, and Maul is soundly defeated. It wasn’t a dramatic spectacle, and this fight was made all the better for it. There was no way a man consumed by blood-boiling hatred and revenge for what he’s suffered would defeat someone as composed and disciplined as Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the latter still gives Maul a compassionate and peaceful release. “He will avenge us,” Maul’s last words and Obi-Wan laying him to rest show why the Jedi is a shining example of the Order and how to make a sinister villain so satisfyingly grounded, tragic, and sympathetic.

All six episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi are available to stream now on Disney+.

Editors' Recommendations

Guillermo Kurten
Freelance Writer, Entertainment
A University of Houston graduate in Print Media Journalism, Guillermo has covered sports entertainment and practically all…
How do I get into Star Trek? A guide to how to watch the beloved sci-fi franchise
The cast of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Few science fiction franchises have made as enormous a cultural impact as Star Trek. Trek’s language and visual iconography, from “warp speed” to your phone’s built-in “live long and prosper” emoji, are ubiquitous even to people who have never seen the show. It’s the original organized “geek culture” fandom, and the birthplace of fan fiction and cosplay as we know it. The stigma of Trekkies as unwashed, socially awkward outcasts has dissipated as sci-fi and comics culture has gone mainstream, but Star Trek itself can still be intimidating to outsiders due to its massive scale and dense mythology of more than 800 episodes and films.
Though it’s possible to explore the Star Trek universe on your own, it is best navigated with the aid of a guide. And, if you don’t happen to have a Trekkie in your life to chart your course with you (which they absolutely love to do), we’re here to offer three options as to how to get started, depending on how you like to digest stories.

Course No. 1: The sampler platter

Read more
Star Trek vs. Star Wars: which one is better in 2023?
Diego Luna walks through a scrapyard of ships in a scene from Andor.

For as long as both entities have existed, fans of science fiction and fantasy have debated the merits of Star Trek and Star Wars. But for most of the 45 years that the two franchises have overlapped, Star Trek and Star Wars haven’t actually had much in common, apart from their cosmic setting. Star Trek is an aspirational sci-fi series set in humanity’s future, while Star Wars is a bombastic fantasy adventure that takes place in a far-off galaxy. One has primarily lived on weekly television, while the other has broken big-screen box office numbers.
However, in recent years, both Star Trek and Star Wars have become tentpoles for their parent companies’ subscription streaming services, Paramount+ and Disney+, respectively, each pumping out a steady stream of content in an ever-widening array of formats. This has led them to encroach further into each other’s territory than ever before. Star Trek vs. Star Wars is no longer an apples-to-oranges comparison — they are directly competing products, sharing some of the same ambitions and struggling against the same environmental forces.
We will likely never settle on which space franchise is the greatest of all time, but we can take a moment to ask: Which is better right now?

Star Trek and Star Wars have both leaned heavily into fan service

Read more
Disney shifts release dates for Marvel movies, Star Wars films, and Avatar sequels

The writers' strike has lasted about one-and-a-half months so far, and it doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon. And now, Disney is making some major schedule changes to almost all of its upcoming franchise films. Avatar fans are going to feel it the most. Avatar 3 has been pushed back a year from December 2024 to December 19, 2025. The other sequels, Avatar 4 and Avatar 5, have been delayed to December 21, 2029, and December 19, 2031, respectively. That's a three-year delay for both titles from their previous release dates.

Marvel's 2024 slate is also getting a big shake-up, with Captain America: Brave New World moving away from its summer opening slot on May 3, 2024, to July 26, 2024. The Thunderbolts movie is shifting from July 26, 2024, to December 20, 2024, the former release date for Avatar 3. That will make it only the second MCU movie to be released in December after Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Read more