With all the renewed excitement about the Obi-Wan Kenobi series due to the announcement that Hayden Christensen will be reprising his role as Darth Vader, I thought I’d list some great books that either center on Obi-Wan Kenobi, or at least include him in the story. We’ll start with Legends books, since there are more of them with Obi-Wan than Canon at this point (this needs to be addressed, Lucasfilm Story Group!):
The most obvious books to start with are the novelizations of the prequel films:
The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. These books are considered Legends material because they were written before the Disney takeover. But of course they follow the basic storylines of the movies, and Obi-Wan is front and center, at least in AOTC and ROTS. He’s more of a minor character in TPM, as we know, but this is when we first meet a young Kenobi and get a sense of him and his relationship with his master, Qui Gon. All the books are excellent, especially ROTS, and are worth reading.
Rogue Planet is a strange little book, but a fun one. I like this one because Anakin is only 12 years old here, and there aren’t many adult novels dealing with his early years training as a Padawan with Obi-Wan. We get some insight into Obi-Wan’s early doubts about training Anakin, and the relationship that develops between them, one of both love and aggravation, and which goes on to define their dynamic for the rest of the saga.
The Approaching Storm is really Luminara Unduli’s vehicle, but Obi-Wan and Anakin are there as well to help her and her Padawan, Barriss Offee, on a mission to Ansion. We see both through Luminara’s eyes: admiration for Obi-Wan, interest and misgivings for Anakin. There are some wonderful little scenes of Obi-Wan that defines his character: fast asleep atop a jouncing pack animal; telling a riveting story to some natives; and coming up with a brilliant plan when things seem lost. And confiding in Luminara about his mixed feelings concerning Anakin and his future.
The Cestus Deception stars Obi-Wan front and center, along with fellow Jedi Knight Kit Fisto, on a mission to Ord Cestus. The mission includes a small group of clone troopers, and we find that Obi-Wan is slightly uncomfortable around them at first (this is early in the Clone Wars). During the course of the mission, he gets to know the troopers, especially the commander, “Nate”, and they even have a conversation about identity, fate, and free will that illuminate’s Obi-Wan’s philosophical nature. The book also shows his compassion, bravery, cleverness, and all the other virtues we’ve come to associate with Obi-Wan, as well as his distrust of politics and politicians and his uneasiness with the direction the Republic is going. I really liked this book, it’s one of my favorites of this group.
Labyrinth of Evil is a sort of prequel to Revenge of the Sith, and its events lead right up to where we start in ROTS. Obi-Wan and Anakin are on a mission to ferret out Darth Sidious. I love that Obi-Wan and Anakin are together in this book, working as the dream team they are. There are some great lines between these two that pull at the heartstrings, as we know how it’s all going to pan out.
Kenobi takes place just after ROTS, when Obi-Wan first brings Luke to Tatooine. He’s struggling with what just happened–to Anakin, to the Republic, to the Jedi–and unintentionally gets involved with some local trouble. It’s kind of a parable about how the “dark side” can affect a regular person, rather than a Jedi with great powers. It was a bit slow to start, but once it got going, I loved it. I especially loved the Interludes in which Obi-Wan is trying to commune with Qui Gon. He’s feeling intense guilt over Anakin, and is finding it difficult to let go of being–and acting like–a Jedi. I doubt any of this will be used for the new series, except perhaps Obi-Wan’s emotions and state of mind. The series is set about 10 years after ROTS, whereas this book is mere weeks or months. It’s a great book, though, and doesn’t necessarily go against any Canon material that I know of.
The only Canon book with Obi-Wan Kenobi I’ve come across is Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray. It’s mostly Qui Gon’s book (who I also love), but as the title suggests, it explores the relationship between master and padawan. Qui Gon and seventeen-year-old Obi-Wan are sent on a diplomatic mission to Pijal. Just before they leave, he’s asked to join the Jedi High Council. If he accepts, he’ll have to give up Obi-Wan as a padawan. He doesn’t tell Obi-Wan right away, but of course Obi-Wan finds out from someone else, and feels hurt. Obi-Wan also doesn’t know how to feel about Qui Gon’s interest in the Jedi prophecies, which he has no patience for. I loved seeing a very young Obi-Wan here, struggling with his relationship with his Master, as Anakin will struggle with Obi-Wan later.
That’s all I got for Canon Obi-Wan. I suppose the powers-that-be figured that he’s been explored in many of the Legends books (and many comic series), was featured heavily in The Clone Wars animated series, and that he will be getting his own show at some point, so why over-expose him right now. Well, I’ll tell you why: because I love him, and I want as much Obi-Wan as possible in my life. Is it too much to ask for an Obi-Wan/Satine story? Please?
Anyway, if you love Obi-Wan like I do, these books will satisfy your cravings while we wait forever for the Obi-Wan series, which begins shooting in early 2021 and will be released sometime in 2022.
What are your favorite Obi-Wan books or stories?