In the Star Wars universe, there are few names that command as much respect as Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Jedi master played a huge role in the Clone Wars, and later in the Rebellion. He’s perhaps most famous for training The Chosen One: Anakin Skywalker, later known as Darth Vader.
Of course, no hero is perfect, including Obi-Wan Kenobi. In fact, he was pretty terrible sometimes. If it weren’t for him, the Star Wars saga could have avoided a significant amount of drama. That said, this list won’t argue that Obi-Wan wasn’t a hero. But it will point out some of Obi-Wan’s overlooked low moments. For its purposes, the list will stick solely to the movies, calling on the novels to fill in just one crucial bit of information.
Here are 15 Times Obi-Wan Kenobi Was Kind Of The Worst.
15. Every time he called Anakin his brother
Given how much time they spend together, and the experiences they share, a Jedi master and a padawan learner become very close. Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi were perhaps some of the closest. Obi-Wan took Anakin as an apprentice when he was nine years old. By the end of Revenge of the Sith, they had been working together for 13 years, and considered each other family. But not quite in the same way.
Obi-Wan saw Anakin as a brother, like a partner. When Yoda sends Obi-Wan to kill Anakin in Ep. III, Obi-Wan even says “He is like my brother, I cannot do it!” For Anakin, the relationship was different. He had said openly multiple times that Obi-Wan is like a father to him, once being to Obi-Wan himself.
When Anakin is treated like a inferior brother, instead of a learning son, tensions are bound to grow quickly. And yet, after everything, Obi-Wan’s final words to Anakin were “You were my brother Anakin! I loved you!”
14. Every time he threw Anakin’s age in his face
Though Obi-Wan considered Anakin a brother, he also never let Anakin forget that he was the younger brother. This was especially prominent in Attack of the Clones. When Anakin jokes that he’s a better swordsman than Yoda, Obi-Wan quips “Only in your mind, my very young apprentice.”
Not only did Obi-Wan bring it up in private, but he also called Anakin out in front of people. And of all people, it was Padmé. When Obi-Wan and Anakin discuss their security plan for the now Senator, Anakin intensely promises to find the assassin who had been targeting Padmé. Obi-Wan tries to shut it down, sternly reminding Anakin that “we won’t exceed our mandate, my young padawan learner.” To top it, he adds “You will learn your place, young one.”
13. When he insulted Anakin before he even met him
Obi-Wan Kenobi was a bit of a crank before he even met Anakin Skywalker. As a result, he insults his future apprentice before they even meet. In Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn saves a gungan named Jar Jar Binks, and he becomes their travel companion. He also became the least favorite character of Star Wars fans almost everywhere, the butt of every Star Wars joke following the film.
Like real-life audiences, Obi-Wan wasn’t a fan of the gungan. So, when Qui-Gon tells his apprentice that he’s found someone important, Obi-Wan is skeptical. But then he gets mean, asking, “Why do I get the sense we’ve picked up another pathetic life form?”
12. When he doesn’t save Qui-Gon Jinn
At the beginning of The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are sent to negotiate with the Trade Federation. As it turns out, the meeting is a trap set by Darth Sidious. After the Jedi escape a room full of toxic gas, they are met by droidekas. Though they can’t defeat the droids completely, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan manage to escape, running at super speed.
When Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan later take on Darth Maul, Obi-Wan seems to forget about this ability. After he gets kicked down to a lower platform by Darth Maul, Obi-Wan does manage to get back within range of the fight, using a force-assisted jump.
But then, he runs at a normal speed, and gets trapped between the laser gates. Had he just used his super speed, the Star Wars series could have been a very different story.
11. When he was a giant hypocrite
Obi-Wan was no stranger to being a rebel. More often than not, his own master questioned – and often defied – the Jedi Council. The biggest defiance came when Qui-Gon decided to train Anakin, specifically against the decision of the Council. Obi-Wan questioned Qui-Gon’s judgement a lot after that, though he does apologize for it eventually.
But when Anakin starts questioning the Council and Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan is having none of it. He warns Anakin that “You will follow my lead” when discussing Padmé’s protection. When Anakin is upset about being put on the Council without being given the rank of Jedi Master, Obi-Wan chides him for not being grateful.
10. When he sassed Anakin’s rescue attempt
Being a Jedi is a dangerous job, and ending up in a sticky situation is bound to happen eventually. One such case is Obi-Wan’s capture in Episode II – Attack of the Clones. While transmitting his discoveries back to the Council, Obi-Wan is taken prisoner by battle droids. The Council orders Anakin to stay put, but Padmé, being the headstrong leader she is, finds a loophole for him and together they set out to help Obi-Wan.
Hitting a slight snag, Anakin and Padmé also get captured. They are taken to the arena to be executed alongside Obi-Wan, who is most surprised to see them. But he isn’t grateful for the rescue attempt. He’s more concerned with scolding Anakin for getting captured.
9. When he needed to be saved so much
Attack of the Clones wasn’t the first time Obi-Wan needed saving. After rescuing Chancellor Palpatine and Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith, Anakin notes that this was the 10th time he’s saved his master. Looking almost offended, Obi-Wan corrects it to nine times because “that business on Cato Neimoidia doesn’t count.”
What exactly was that business on Cato Neimoidia? According to the Star Wars novel Labyrinth of Evil – released just months before Ep. III as a prequel – Obi-Wan dropped his rebreather during a run-in with some battle droids. (One might remember Obi-Wan consistently scolding Anakin for dropping his lightsaber.) Anakin later finds the rebreather, and delivers it to Obi-Wan just before he is overcome by a toxic gas. It’s unclear why he doesn’t count this instance.
8. When he tells Padmé he’s going to kill Anakin
Arguably the strongest bond that Anakin had in his life was the one between him and Padmé. After the death of his mother, Anakin clings to Padmé even harder, driven mad by the fear of losing her too. He confided in her, from admitting what he did to the Tusken Raiders, to owning up to his anger with the Jedi.
So, unsurprisingly, Anakin tells her he’s going to Mustafar instead of leaving her worried and confused. To Obi-Wan’s credit, he knew that Padmé was his best shot of finding Anakin. But as is typical for him in this movie, he approaches it all wrong. First, he reveals that Anakin has become a Sith, making for an extremely distraught Padmé.
Then he confirms her suspicion: Obi-Wan plans to kill Anakin once he finds him. Granted, at this point Anakin is Darth Vader and very dangerous. But if Obi-Wan wanted Anakin’s wife to help him, maybe DON’T tell her about the plan to kill her true love.
7. When R2-D2 finds him in A New Hope
When Princess Leia jettisons C-3PO and R2-D2, they have one mission: find Obi-Wan Kenobi. C-3PO is reluctant as ever, but R2-D2 is determined to do as told. Luke says himself “I’ve never seen such devotion in a droid before.” But when R2-D2 finally does find the Jedi, Obi-Wan says “I don’t remember owning a droid.” R2 units don’t have faces, but the offense taken by R2-D2 was still pretty clear.
Technically, that is true. R2-D2 was usually Anakin Skywalker’s companion, and Obi-Wan never really took a liking to the droid. Anakin has to actively stop Obi-Wan from making a snide remark in Revenge of the Sith. So, in Ep. IV, maybe Obi-Wan’s remark was being coy or maybe he was joking. But he could at least acknowledge that he knows the droid who helped him on countless missions.
6. When he tries to stop Luke from going back for his family
Shortly after revealing the truth – well, Obi-Wan’s version of the truth – to Luke, they all set out to get Obi-Wan to Alderaan. Along the way, they encounter what looks like the aftermath of an attack by the Sand People. Obi-Wan knows better, and reveals it was actually Imperial Stormtroopers who made the attack look like the work of Sand People. Luke quickly puts together that the Imperial troops figured out that his family bought the droids, and likely set out to find them.
Not wasting a second, Luke starts to jump in his speeder to try and help his aunt and uncle. Obi-Wan tries to stop Luke, saying it’d be too dangerous. Luke had zero training at that point, and couldn’t be expected to just let go of his loved ones. Obi-Wan should have gone with him, just in case Luke made it in time and had to face the stormtroopers.
5. When he tried to save Anakin
Right before their epic duel begins on Mustafar, Obi-Wan tries to talk Anakin down from Darth Vader. Starting strong, he makes Padmé look guilty of setting a trap, sending Anakin into a rage. From there, Obi-Wan’s main tactic is to just yell at Anakin, telling him he’s wrong and lost. Anakin gives Obi-Wan a perfect opening to keep the conversation going when he argues that “from my perspective, the Jedi are evil!”
Considering Obi-Wan’s condescension was one of the main factors that drove Anakin to the dark side, continuing to treat him as an inferior – “don’t lecture me Obi-Wan” – understandably made things worse. For someone who’s supposed to be known for his negotiation skills, Obi-Wan approached it entirely the wrong way. As a result, he not only failed, but made Vader even angrier.
4. When he delayed Luke’s training
It’s clear that Obi-Wan watched Luke grow up, living nearby as Ben Kenobi. He had every opportunity to start teaching Luke the ways of the force, but waited until he was 19 and the war came to them. Anakin Skywalker was considered too old to start this Jedi training at age nine, and Obi-Wan made it clear then that he didn’t approve.
Being the son of someone as force-sensitive as Anakin, there was no question that Luke would be a powerful Jedi with proper training. Instead, Obi-Wan gave Luke a quick, single training session aboard the Millennium Falcon and then ghosted him…literally. Luke then had to find Yoda in the Dagobah system, to complete his training at the most inopportune time.
There is the argument that Obi-Wan was trying to prevent Vader from sensing his son’s presence, or even trying to prevent Luke from the possibility of being seduced by the dark side. Regardless, Luke’s training would be necessary eventually, and Obi-Wan’s delay of the process made things much harder for Luke.
3. When he didn’t tell Luke about his family
Obi-Wan tells Luke a lot about his past during their first meeting, including how Luke’s father died. Obi-Wan didn’t lie, but he did leave out a few crucial details. Of course, the details he didn’t include are the ones that caused the most drama for everyone: Luke’s family tree.
When R2-D2 delivers the message from Princess Leia, Luke’s attraction to her is obvious. Instead of telling Luke that he was looking at his sister, Obi-Wan uses Luke’s attraction to her to try and persuade him to begin his training. On top of that, because Obi-Wan explains the death of Luke’s father as a murder by Darth Vader, Luke is sent in full of anger and hate. He has to fight that instinct and trust his gut that there’s still good in Vader when they finally meet.
2. When he didn’t kill Anakin
Obi-Wan was sent to find Anakin, now Darth Vader, on Mustafar and kill him. Obi-Wan came right out and said it to Padmé. It was a heartbreaking assignment, and understandably hard to come to terms with. But Obi-Wan ends up doing something much worse.
Anakin, being a skilled fighter, makes the duel an incredibly close fight. But in the end, Obi-Wan gets the high ground and cuts off Anakin’s legs and remaining human arm. Then, Obi-Wan just…leaves him there. It’s not unreasonable to think Anakin would die of his injuries. But he’s exceptionally strong with the force, so it’s impossible to rule out his survival.
Of course, Vader does survive, and becomes one of the most feared tyrants in the galaxy. Had Obi-Wan just finished the mission back on Mustafar, he’d have saved the galaxy – not to mention Vader himself – a lot of suffering.
1. When he basically gave up
When Anakin officially became Darth Vader and Padmé died, Obi-Wan essentially went into exile to watch over Luke. He wasn’t the first Jedi to go into exile, and based on what we learned in The Force Awakens, he wouldn’t be the last. However, he is one of the Jedi who did the least in his exile.
Yoda trained Luke during his exile. Han reveals in The Force Awakens that Luke went to find the first Jedi temple. Aside from keeping an eye on Luke, Obi-Wan simply became Ben Kenobi, the old hermit. When he finally does start fighting for the cause again, Obi-Wan argues that he’s too old for adventures like this. At that point, he’s roughly 57, give or take a few years. And then there’s Yoda, who was 874 years old when the Clone Wars started. He fought until his death 26 years later.
In his first battle back, Obi-Wan lets Darth Vader kill him because being a force ghost allows him to be more powerful – but not any more helpful.