Television

The Casual Star Wars Fan’s Guide to Obi-Wan Kenobi

Since when are there velociraptors in Star Wars? What was that spinny lightsaber thing? And was that Flea?

Ewan McGregor sits astride a space-camel in front of a blue sky, a cozy blanket over his shoulders, long hair on his head, and a thick beard on his face. In front of him, a giant question mark.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd.

On Friday, the first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi debuted on Disney Plus, with Ewan McGregor reprising his role from the Star Wars prequel movies, the same role played by Alec Guinness in the original trilogy. We answered the most pressing questions you might have, below. (Note: This article includes spoilers for both of those episodes.)

Where exactly does Obi-Wan Kenobi fall in the Star Wars timeline?

It’s set 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (the last of the prequel trilogy) and around 9 years before the original Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, a.k.a. the original 1977 Star Wars.

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Do I have to have seen the latest Star Wars show, The Book of Boba Fett, to understand what’s happening?

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No, you do not. The only background you really need are the events of the Star Wars prequel movies—and if it’s been a decade or two, Obi-Wan Kenobi opens with a helpful four-minute recap to refresh your memory.

What’s the deal with the Inquisitors?

As the show explains, they are members of the Inquisitorius, Force users who hunt down surviving Jedi, among others. Obi-Wan mentions that many of them are former Jedi themselves who have turned to the Dark Side. The Grand Inquisitor, for example, was a former Jedi Temple guard. Inquisitors are major antagonists in the animated series Star Wars: Rebels as well as the video game Jedi: Fallen Order.

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Is the Grand Inquisitor wearing high tech earmuffs?

Kind of! He’s a Pau’an, and they have very sensitive hearing.

Their spinny lightsabers are cool.

I know, right? They can use them to fly like little helicopters, too.

What is that creature Obi-Wan and others are chopping up for meat?

The series’ audio description refers to it as a “sand whale,” but that’s all I could find about it.

Is that bounty hunter … Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea?!=

Sure is.

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And is that other Jedi … Uncut Gems co-director Benny Safdie?!

You better believe it.

Since when are there velociraptors in Star Wars?

Since 1979. That’s when the reptilian species known as the Tiss’shar first appeared, in the novel Han Solo at Stars’ End. That specific dino-guy appears to be a bounty hunter, but let it be known that not all Tiss’shar are bloodthirsty killers. As Wookieepedia notes, “The Tiss’shar were known across the galaxy as shrewd, resourceful businessbeings,” and “A large number of Tiss’shar found their way into the Corporate Sector.”

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Is the bearded guy who Obi-Wan gave money supposed to be Boba Fett?

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No, though he is played by Boba Fett actor Temuera Morrison. Here Morrison appears as a down-on-his-luck trooper, who, like Boba Fett, was cloned from the bounty hunter Jango Fett. By this point in the canon, clone troopers have been phased out in favor of conscripted Stormtroopers, which may explain his bedraggled condition—former soldiers struggled to find their place after the Empire won the Galactic Civil War. The clone’s blue and white armor suggests he was a member of the 501st Legion, which was led by Anakin Skywalker, making the encounter even more poignant for Obi-Wan.

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How did Obi-Wan not know until now that Anakin Skywalker, a.k.a Darth Vader, is alive?

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Well, the last time he saw Anakin, he had cut off his legs and left him grilled medium-well and still literally on fire, next to a river of lava. Since then, Obi-Wan has been living in a cave on a remote planet, and news doesn’t exactly travel quickly around the Star Wars galaxy to begin with, especially when it comes to the Empire’s shadier dealings.

Did the Grand Inquisitor really just die?

Are you sure you want to know?

No, I hate spoilers and am going to close the web page now.

OK.

Just kidding, I love spoilers. Tell me.

No, the Grand Inquisitor is not dead, unless this show is planning to radically alter the Star Wars canon. The Grand Inquisitor appears, definitely alive, in Star Wars: Rebels, which is set four years after Obi-Wan Kenobi, as one of the main antagonists.

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Are you sure? The Third Sister stabbed him through the chest with a lightsaber. That seems pretty dead to me.

Look, Darth Maul was cut in half and thrown into a chasm, and he came back with a vengeance, so nothing surprises me anymore. Plus, studies have conclusively shown that using a lightsaber is the least reliable method of killing a Star Wars character. Either the Grand Inquisitor survived the stabbing, or this show has some real twists in store.

I guess we’ll have to wait till next Friday to find out?

Nope, only the first two episodes were released on a Friday. The four remaining episodes will come out on Wednesdays, with Episode 3 going up on Disney Plus on this coming Wednesday, June 1, and the finale out on June 22.

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