Briefing

All the Star Wars lore you need to know before watching Obi-Wan Kenobi

The new miniseries appears on Disney+

A highly anticipated Star Wars limited series about Obi-Wan Kenobi hits Disney+ on May 27. Here's what you need to know:

When is Obi-Wan Kenobi set in the Star Wars timeline? 

Obi-Wan Kenobi sees Ewan McGregor reprise his role as the titular Jedi for the first time since the Star Wars prequel films. It's set 10 years after Revenge of the Sith and nine years before A New Hope.

Where did we leave Obi-Wan? 

By the end of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan's former apprentice, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), has turned to the dark side and become Darth Vader. Obi-Wan left Anakin for dead on Mustafar after fighting him in a lightsaber duel, but Emperor Palpatine found him and kept him alive. The Republic fell and was reorganized into the evil Galactic Empire, and Palpatine ordered all Jedi to be executed by clones in an event known as Order 66. Palpatine justified this by falsely claiming the Jedi attempted to overthrow the Senate. 

Most of the Jedi were killed in Order 66. But some, including Yoda and Obi-Wan, survived and went into hiding, as did Obi-Wan's ally Senator Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits). Before she died, Anakin's wife Padmé (Natalie Portman) also gave birth to twins, Luke and Leia. Bail adopted Leia and took her home to Alderaan, while Obi-Wan brought Luke to Tatooine. There, Luke was taken in by Owen (Joel Edgerton) and Beru Lars (Bonnie Piesse), and Obi-Wan vowed to watch over him while going by the name Ben. 

A decade later, Obi-Wan is a "broken man" who feels an "enormous amount of responsibility" for what happened to Anakin and the Jedi, McGregor told Entertainment Weekly, and a promo image shows Obi-Wan appearing to live in a cave on Tatooine during the series. 

What's Darth Vader's role?

Christensen returns as Darth Vader for the first time since Revenge of the Sith. He'll be donning the Vader suit, and a recent trailer suggested we could see him portray the villain with the helmet off, as well. It hasn't been confirmed whether James Earl Jones will voice Vader like he usually does. 

The series is expected to include at least one lightsaber duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan, as Lucasfilm promised the "rematch of the century." Fans have always assumed Obi-Wan and Vader never fought between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, largely because of a line in the latter film in which Vader, seemingly referring to their battle on Mustafar, says, "When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master." It's likely, though, the series will recontextualize this. Obi-Wan doesn't know Anakin is still alive at the start of the series, though he would recognize the name Darth Vader as referring to his former apprentice. Vader, meanwhile, by the end of Revenge of the Sith knows his wife died during childbirth but not that his children survived. 

Vader isn't the only villain in the series, though. There's also the Inquisitors. 

Who are the Inquisitors? 

Introduced in the animated series Star Wars Rebels, the Inquisitors are former Jedi tasked by Vader with hunting down those Jedi who survived Order 66. Their leader is the Grand Inquisitor, a character from Rebels and a former Jedi Temple guard. Obi-Wan Kenobi's trailers suggest the plot will kick into motion when the Inquisitors arrive on Tatooine, and Obi-Wan must ensure they don't find Luke. 

Rupert Friend (Homeland) plays the Grand Inquisitor, while Moses Ingram (The Queen's Gambit) stars as another Inquisitor, Reva.

Is there any other context from outside the movies viewers should know? 

It may be worth remembering that in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Anakin had a Padawan named Ahsoka Tano, who left the Jedi Order prior to Revenge of the Sith after being falsely accused of murder. Like Obi-Wan, Ahsoka survived Order 66, and many years later, an older version is played by Rosario Dawson in The Mandalorian. Ahsoka isn't expected to appear in Obi-Wan Kenobi, but a reference to Anakin having an apprentice who left the Jedi Order wouldn't be surprising. The show might also mention that during The Clone Wars, Obi-Wan fell in love with the ruler of Mandalore, Satine Kryze, who was killed by Darth Maul and died tragically in Obi-Wan's arms.

Will the show be leaving Tatooine? 

Though fans once thought Obi-Wan likely never left Tatooine between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, the series will, in fact, be taking viewers to other planets. New locations include Daiyu, a world that's been described as having a "Hong Kong feel." 

Who else is in the cast?

Indira Varma (Game of Thrones) plays an Imperial officer, Sung Kang (Fast & Furious) plays another Inquisitor, Grant Feely plays a young Luke Skywalker, and Kumail Nanjiani plays a "street-level con-man." Edgerton and Piesse also return as Owen and Beru Lars, and O'Shea Jackson Jr., Maya Erskine, Simone Kessell, and Benny Safdie flesh out the cast, though their roles haven't been revealed. 

Who's working behind the scenes?

This is the first live-action Star Wars show not produced by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, the team behind The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. All six episodes were directed by Deborah Chow, who worked on The Mandalorian's first season. She's the first woman to direct live-action Star Wars and also serves as producer. 

Loki's Natalie Holt will compose the score, making her the first woman to write the music for live-action Star Wars, though John Williams also returned to write a new theme for Obi-Wan. 

Will Qui-Gon Jinn return? 

Played by Liam Neeson, Qui-Gon Jinn is Obi-Wan's former master who was killed in a lightsaber duel with Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace. But at the end of Revenge of the Sith, Yoda tells Obi-Wan that Qui-Gon has learned how to live on through the Force, and Yoda tasks Obi-Wan with training to communicate with him. 

It's hard to believe Obi-Wan Kenobi wouldn't pay that off, though Neeson has claimed he's not in the show. But star Rupert Friend says there are "wonderful cameos" in store, so it remains to be seen whether Neeson is lying to cover up a potential surprise and welcome return. 

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