The first Star Wars movie, A New Hope, loosely followed the structure of a fairy tale in a fantasy setting. In that sense, Alec Guinness’ Obi-Wan (or “Ben Kenobi”) fit into the role of the wise, old wizard who guided the hero on his quest and inspired him to save the day.
In the prequels, he was a young man, played by the great Ewan McGregor – who will thankfully be reprising the role for the Obi-Wan series. But he was just as wise after he was thrust from the position of padawan to master, giving fans some of the best, wisest Obi-Wan quotes.
Updated on July 20th, 2021 by Rhys McGinley: For over forty years, Obi-Wan Kenobi has been proving himself to be one of the greatest, most consistent, and wisest Star Wars characters ever. The Jedi has had prominent roles in the original and prequel trilogies, as well as the extended canon and animated shows. Through all of this fantastic Obi-Wan content, there has been a ton of Obi-Wan quotes, some of the best Star Wars quotes ever. They have given wisdom and guidance to not only Star Wars characters but the audiences too.
15 “I Have The High Ground.”
This quote has two meanings. The most obvious one is that Obi-Wan is literally standing on higher ground than Anakin, and therefore will have an advantage in their potential battle. Anakin is on lower ground and, therefore, won’t have much of a chance of defeating Obi-Wan if he decides to attack him (which, of course, he does anyway).
But the metaphorical one is that Obi-Wan is on the higher moral ground because he stuck to the teachings of the Jedi. He kept his mind clear and focused on creating peaceful order in the galaxy. Anakin turned evil, so he’s on lower moral ground.
14 “Goodbye, Old Friend. May The Force Be With You.”
There’s an added poignancy to this line in that it’s the last thing Obi-Wan says to Anakin before he gives in to his Dark Side urges, turns his back on the Jedi, and becomes Darth Vader. It is a moment of happiness in what was always a stormy relationship in the prequel era.
Obi-Wan has no idea that Senator Palpatine has been controlling Anakin like a puppet, corrupting his mind with evil thoughts and dark emotions in a grand plan to take over the galaxy. As far as he’s concerned, they’re a pair of Jedi Knights who will bring peace to the galaxy. Little does he know, that’s the last time they will ever speak on good terms.
13 “Who’s More Foolish; The Fool, Or The Fool Who Follows Him?”
Obi-Wan has always been one of the sassiest Star Wars characters, often making little quips and jokes, as well as genuine quotes of wisdom that get under other people’s skin, including this directed at Han Solo.
Parents have adopted the idea behind this quote across the world as they point out the stupidity of following other people’s silly ideas blindly. It is a quote that not only just sounds good but makes complete sense, as Obi-Wan quotes often do. Obi-Wan promotes independent thinking, not blindly following fools, and foolish ideas without a genuine thought, kind of like stormtroopers are brainwashed to do.
12 “Be Mindful Of Your Thoughts, Anakin – They Betray You.”
Obi-Wan could just give up the whole Jedi thing and be a philosopher full-time because he has as much wisdom and knowledge of the human condition as someone like Plato or Aristotle. People have to keep an eye on what the mind is actually thinking because emotions tend to be irrational.
They can cloud your judgment and change the way you see situations. If you can keep that in check, you’ll be able to see much more clearly. In terms of being a Jedi, that was Anakin becoming Darth Vader. His emotions got in the way, and it led him down the dark path to the Sith.
11 “The Force Is What Gives A Jedi His Power…It Binds The Galaxy Together.”
George Lucas might have been making the Force a genetic thing to tie into the themes of family and bloodlines in the story – i.e., the Skywalker bloodline being tainted by Queen Amidala’s royal daughter Leia marrying some smuggler from Corellia.
But the Force is only inspiring to fans if it’s a spiritual thing that exists all over the galaxy. Obi-Wan confirmed this early on. “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”
10 “You Were My Brother, Anakin! I Loved You!”
This quote hits particularly hard because it’s past Anakin’s point of no return, and yet it disproves the whole reason he turned to the Dark Side in the first place. Anakin didn’t like the fact that Obi-Wan saw himself as more powerful than him and spoke down to him like a father.
But as Obi-Wan points out towards the end of Revenge of the Sith, he actually thought of Anakin more like a brother, someone on his level, whom he cared about and wanted to protect. This one line and all that it represents is most of what makes Revenge of the Sith the best prequel.
9 “These Aren’t The Droids You’re Looking For.”
Obi-Wan was our first introduction to the power of the Force. When they headed into Mos Eisley Spaceport and got stopped by Stormtroopers, he showed audiences how truly awesome the Force can be.
The Stormtroopers asked for their identification, and with a slight wave of his hand, Obi-Wan convinced them they didn’t need to see their identification; R2-D2 and C-3PO weren’t the droids they were looking for, and they could move along.
8 “…In Time, A New Hope Will Emerge…”
Obi-Wan makes two appearances in Star Wars: Rebels, with the first being a hologram message of hope to all Jedi. The message highlights not only the wisdom of Obi-Wan but the patience and brilliance of one of two surviving Jedi Masters from the Clone Wars.
After announcing the fall of the Jedi, Obi-Wan says: “This message is a warning and a reminder for any surviving Jedi. Trust in The Force. Do not return to the Temple…that time has passed. And our future is uncertain. We will each be challenged. Our trust. Our faith. Our friendships. But we must persevere. And in time, a new hope will emerge. May the Force be with you, always.” It is a message that perfectly sums up the patience and perseverance needed by people like Obi-Wan, Kanan, Cal Kestis, and even Ahsoka needed during that time. An underrated Obi-Wan quote that promotes not only hope, the idea of maintaining relationships, and patience but one that shows the strength of Obi-Wan’s character.
7 “Skill Is The Child Of Patience.”
The Star Wars comics are full of weird story arcs, fantastic character developments, and some truly awesome quotes, like this one from Charles Soule’s Anakin & Obi-Wan comic.
Anakin has always been one of the most naturally skilled Jedi but always lacks patience. He is often unable to control his emotions. Obi-Wan here promotes the idea that patience is more important than skill, that skill itself is useless if there is no serenity and mindfulness to go along with it. A message Anakin sorely needed to listen to.
6 “The Truth Is Often What We Make Of It.”
It’s quotes like these that seem to suggest we should look to Obi-Wan Kenobi in these times of division. With all the talk of fake news and collusions and climate change, people are divided based on the facts as they want to believe them.
Obi-Wan tells us exactly how that works: “The truth is often what we make of it; you heard what you wanted to hear, believed what you wanted to believe.” The prequel trilogy’s heavy use of the Galactic Senate’s inner workings means it’s not difficult to politicize Star Wars, but this is a broader way of looking at it.
5 “The Force Will Be With You, Always.”
If it weren’t for the Force, Luke would’ve had no hope of getting that photon blast through the Womp-Rat sized hole in the trenches of the Death Star and blowing it up, thus saving the lives of everyone on all the planets that Darth Vader would’ve enslaved or destroyed.
He wasn’t using the Force to summon his lightsaber or lift his X-wing out of the swamps of Dagobah (yet), but he was learning the kind of focus that using the Force required, and he did use it to destroy the Empire’s greatest asset and send Darth Vader into a tailspin. So, it’s a win in the Rebels’ books.
4 “If We Sacrifice Our Code, Even For Victory, We May Lose that Which Is Most Important: Our Honor.”
As he is in just about everything he appears in, Obi-Wan is a highlight of The Clone Wars. Whether it be with his relationship with Anakin (for which Reddit has some unpopular opinions on) or just wise Obi-Wan quotes, he is full of great lines.
Following the battle of Lola Sayu in the Citadel arc, Obi-Wan reflects on the effects of war. Unlike Anakin and Tarkin, who think victory should come by any means necessary, Obi-Wan points out that victory in war may not be worth sacrificing personal ideals, codes, nor honor. It highlights just how different Anakin and Obi-Wan’s minds were, but even if the Jedi Code deserves to be critiqued, Obi-Wan makes a great point with this quote.
3 “If You Strike Me Down, I Shall Become More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine.”
There are few moments in movie history more powerful than when Alec Guinness uttered these words to Darth Vader before being slain in front of Luke’s eyes.
The whole confrontation was so incredible and established such a strong connection that a whole prequel trilogy was made about the backstory of Obi-Wan and Vader’s relationship (with mixed results, obviously).
2 “It Takes Strength To Resist The Dark Side, Only The Weak Embrace It.”
Some of Obi-Wan’s very best moments in Star Wars come when he opposes his greatest rival in the franchise, Maul. One of the most heartbreaking moments to come out of this outstanding rivalry is the death of Satine Kryze.
As Obi-Wan sits on his knees, helpless, being taunted by Maul for not joining the dark side, he points out the strength it takes to be a Jedi, to adhere to the light side of the Force, and not resist the dark. Similar to his line on the Death Star to Darth Vader, Obi-Wan says, “You can kill me, but you will never destroy me.” On the light side, Obi-Wan lives on, whereas those on the dark side inevitably wither and die.
1 “If You Define Yourself By The Power To Take Life, The Desire To Dominate, To Possess… Then You Have Nothing.”
Another Obi-Wan quote coming from yet another incredible scene with Maul encapsulates his whole philosophy of bringing peace instead of chaos, being far happier and more fulfilling.
This is summed up perfectly in one particular line: “If you define yourself by the power to take life, the desire to dominate, to possess…then you have nothing.” It’s Obi-Wan’s version of that Bruce Lee quote about learning to fight so you never have to fight.
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