Why Obi-Wan Is Much Stronger Than We Think

Updated on March 28, 2018
Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy hopes the Force is with him as he pursues a forensics career in the swamps of Louisiana.

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan Kenobi's History

"Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope." —Princess Leia

In a galaxy far far away, wise mentor Obi-Wan sets Luke Skywalker on the path to becoming a Jedi after, periodically aiding the Rebel throughout the original trilogy. In the three prequels, we further explore Obi-Wan's rise from Padawan to Jedi Master and experiences in the Clone Wars. Though Anakin Skywalker receives the focus of these movies, Obi-Wan demonstrates an ever-increasing level of skill to rival the strongest of Jedi.

Don't believe Obi-Wan can hold his own on the battlefont? Let's review Obi-Wan's encounters through each film to discover why he's the most underrated character in Star Wars!

Obi-Wan Vs. Darth Maul
Obi-Wan Vs. Darth Maul

Versus Darth Maul

Darth Maul is best remembered as one of the redeeming factors of the often-ridiculed Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Stoic yet furious, Maul viciously duels against Jedi Master Qui-Gon and Padawan Obi-Wan at the same time—and won. Maul separates the two Jedi, impales Qui-Gon, then battles and disarms Kenobi, who escapes only through Maul's arrogance exposing an opening.

Obi-Wan was outdueled, true. But he held his own against the much more experienced Darth Maul—heck, he did better than Qui-Gon (who was widely regarded as one of the strongest Jedi Masters). Obi-Wan at least managed to slice off half of Maul's saber and land a kick before being disarmed.

The bottom line is that despite being a mere Padawan of 25, Obi-Wan performed better than a veteran Jedi against a skilled Sith, even defeating his foe with a stroke of ingenuity.

Obi-Wan Vs. Count Dooku
Obi-Wan Vs. Count Dooku

Versus Count Dooku

Count Dooku was regarded as one of the best Jedi Masters (and was once Yoda's Padawan and Qui-Gon's Master) before leaving the Order and secretly becoming a Sith Lord. Obi-Wan ends up battling his Master's Master twice. These are Kenobi's worst performances, as he loses both contests, but even so he still impresses with his swordsmanship:

In Episode 2:
In second movie Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan has the sense to realize he'll need help against a seasoned blademaster like Dooku, and attempts to flank Dooku with apprentice Anakin. Ignoring Obi-Wan's strategy, Anakin foolishly rushes Dooku, who incapacitates him, leaving Obi-Wan to duel alone. Dooku overcomes Obi-Wan without much trouble, but consider several redeeming factors for the Jedi Knight:

  • Obi-Wan's blade style Soresu (Form 3) matches very poorly against Dooku's Makashi (Form 2), giving him a substantial disadvantage.
  • Obi-Wan held Dooku off long enough for Anakin to recover, saving them both.
  • Even when wounded, Obi-Wan aids Anakin by tossing him his blade, allowing the younger Jedi to temporarily put Dooku on the defensive.

In Episode 3:
I won't lie, this is Obi-Wan's worst showing. In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan (now a Jedi Master) and Anakin again challenge Dooku, this time wisely attacking together. Dooku narrowly manages to incapacitate Obi-Wan before being slain by Anakin. Not Kenobi's best battle, but here are more atoning factors to consider:

  • Again, Obi-Wan's Soresu is a bad matchup against Dooku's Makashi; Anakin's Djem So (Form 5) works much better against it.
  • Obi-Wan eliminates the two Super Battle Droids Dooku used as backup.
  • Arguably, plot convenience is what really topples Obi-Wan. The battle becomes more tense when he falls, and paves the path for Palpatine to convince Anakin to execute Dooku.
  • Speaking of Palpatine (secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious), you could argue he subtly influenced the battle to hinder Kenobi and remove him from the fight.

While a good swordsman can potentially overcome a style disadvantage, some forms simply trump others. Nevertheless, Obi-Wan still manages to test the experienced Dooku and provide support through saber-giving or droid destruction.

Obi-Wan Vs. General Grievous
Obi-Wan Vs. General Grievous

Versus General Grievous

Later in Episode 3, Obi-Wan faces the Separatist warrior General Grievous, renowned for killing Jedi and taking their swords as trophies. Despite his foe's mechanically-enhanced prowess, Obi-Wan quickly outduels Grievous, then ends up incinerating him with a blaster. Here are further reasons Obi-Wan impresses during this scenario:

  • The Jedi Council specifically chose Obi-Wan to battle Grievous, selecting him over other fierce Jedi like Mace Windu. They also trusted Kenobi to succeed without needing Anakin as backup.
  • Obi-Wan ends the contest surprisingly quickly, rapidly severing many of his foe's limbs.
  • After realizing he's losing, Grievous flees the battle, only for Obi-Wan to pursue him. During the chase, Obi-Wan loses his lightsaber, but still manages to overcome Grievous when he catches him.

Darth Vader Vs. Obi-Wan (Episode 3)
Darth Vader Vs. Obi-Wan (Episode 3)

Versus Darth Vader

Obi-Wan faces his fallen apprentice Darth Vader twice, first in Revenge of the Sith and 19 years later in A New Hope.

In Episode 3:
Here Anakin Skywalker is only 22, but his incredible Force abilities provide the strength of a Jedi Master, proven when he overcomes Count Dooku. In a titanic clash over the fiery planet of Mustafar, Obi-Wan barely defeats the Chosen One, badly maiming Skywalker and leaving him for dead.

Not much else to say about this impressive win. Neither Soresu nor Djem So holds an advantage against the other, leaving this contest to be decided purely on skill. Obi-Wan successfully wears down his aggressive opponent, exploiting a weakness Skywalker exposes during a risky attack.

In Episode 4:
Now an elderly man, Obi-Wan battles Darth Vader aboard the Empire's Death Star. Despite facing a skilled Sith aboard an enemy stronghold, Obi-Wan demonstrates an impressive level of tranquility and confidence. Eventually, he lets Vader cut him in half, believing himself to be of more use to Luke from beyond the grave.

Considering Obi-Wan allows Vader to finish him, it's difficult to say who would have won had the match continued. Vader likely has more physical strength, but his connection to the Force is reduced thanks to being nearly half-machine. Obi-Wan is aging, but fights craftily. I'd love to hear your thoughts on who would have emerged victorious!

Darth Vader Vs. Obi-Wan (Episode 4)
Darth Vader Vs. Obi-Wan (Episode 4)

Who would have won had the match in Episode 4 continued?

See results

Obi-Wan's Intuition

Even as a young Jedi, Obi-Wan displayed incredible intuitive abilities:

  • Early in Episode 1, he senses an "elusive" presence, likely referring to the hitherto unrevealed Sith Lords looming in the shadows. He also (correctly) cites the danger in Anakin's training.
  • In Episode 2, he and Anakin have a brief discussion on Chancelleor Palpatine (secretly Darth Sidious), where Obi-Wan notes Palpatine's manipulative abilities.
  • In Episode 3, Obi-Wan opposes his fellow Jedi Council members' suggestion of using Anakin to spy on Palpatine, knowing the deed will make Anakin lose trust in the Jedi. Unfortunately, the Council didn't listen.
  • In Episode 4, Obi-Wan selects Han Solo and Chewbacca as their pilots, both of whom would prove crucial to the Alliance's cause. He also helps Luke free his mind from distractions by blindfolding him against the training probe.

Obi-Wan on Tatooine
Obi-Wan on Tatooine

Obi-Wan's Triumphs

In an era where darkness is spreading and Jedi are hunted, Obi-Wan duels every single Sith except Sidious, as well as General Grievous, and manages to perish in a manner of his choosing. He never faltered in his stalwart pursuit of justice, earned a spot on the Jedi Council at a remarkably young age, and can be shown to dwell in the league of elite warriors like Yoda:

  • Count Dooku is said to be on par with Yoda and Mace Windu
  • Anakin defeats Dooku
  • Obi-Wan defeats Anakin
  • Therefore, Obi-Wan is also on par with Yoda and Windu

Admittedly, we're simplifying matters, and there are more factors to consider, like his match against Jango Fett (who was aided by Boba) or his impressive duel against Maul in the show Star Wars Rebels. But for brevity's sake, I'll end things here, hopefully convincing you that the Force is indeed with Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Questions & Answers

  • Could Obi-Wan beat Yoda or Mace Windu?

    Many fans would outright say "no", but as the articles discusses, Obi-Wan's an underestimated character in several areas. Given a few more years of training (Mace and especially Yoda both have the advantage of time), it's definitely possible Obi-Wan could have taken them.

© 2017 Jeremy Gill

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    • Jeremy Gill profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeremy Gill 

      14 months ago from Louisiana

      @Fullerman

      Thanks man! As someone who has dissected almost every ounce of Star Wars available, I wish I could say I had a strong idea of Rey's lineage, but currently it could go in multiple directions. She could be a Skywalker, Solo, or even Kenobi. Regardless, here's hoping the next film lives up to the series!

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 

      14 months ago from Louisiana, USA

      This is why I think Rey is the daughter of Obi-Wan. Well, it is one theory I have. These are great examples of his power and skills. This was definitely a fun and entertaining hub. I really enjoyed it. I love the Star Wars saga and I cannot wait until the next film comes out.

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