Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi Release Time and Prequel Trilogy Recap

Before Obi-Wan Kenobi returns to our TV screens, here's a refresher of what happened in The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith!

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi Release Time
Photo: Lucasfilm

It seems like only yesterday that we said our final goodbyes to Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen’s Obi-Wan and Anakin, but a lot has happened since Revenge of the Sith hit theaters in 2005, including a whole new era of Star Wars stories ushered in by Disney. That era began with a Sequel Trilogy that left the gilded age of the Republic behind and returned to the lived-in aesthetic of A New Hope.

But since the Sequels wrapped in 2019, Lucasfilm has been busy mining other parts of the Star Wars timeline for new tales, this time on our television sets. The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Ahsoka all take place five years after Return of the Jedi but decades before Rey’s fight against the First Order. And now there’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, the first live-action Star Wars limited series set 10 years after the Prequel Trilogy.

A sequel to Revenge of the Sith, the new show brings back McGregor and Christensen but at a very different point in the lives of their iconic characters. Obi-Wan is now living in exile on Tatooine, watching over little Luke Skywalker from afar, while Anakin has completed his transformation into Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith in charge of hunting down every last Jedi left in the galaxy.

When Vader’s dark side minions, known as the Inquisitors, show up on the desert planet, it sets the stage for a rematch between the Jedi Master and his former apprentice that will undoubtedly change what we thought we knew about their duel in A New Hope. Ahead of the premiere of Obi-Wan Kenobi this week, here is everything you need to know about the show as well as how it ties back to the Prequel Trilogy as well as The Clone Wars.

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When Does Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi Come Out?

Although it was originally slated to release on Friday, Lucasfilm made the surprise announcement that Obi-Wan Kenobi episodes 1 and 2 will release a few hours early on Thursday, May 26 at 12 am ET/9:0 pm PT on Disney+!

Star Wars: Prequel Trilogy Recap

It’s no secret that the biggest influences on Obi-Wan Kenobi are the three Prequel Trilogy films: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. While the show is most directly a continuation of Revenge, we’re bound to see elements from all three movies in the series.

If you don’t have time to rewatch the movies before the show’s premiere, here are the key Obi-Wan and Anakin moments you need to know from the Prequel films (as well as The Clone Wars) before jumping into Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The Phantom Menace and the Duel of the Fates

While on the surface The Phantom Menace is about a trade dispute on the peaceful planet of Naboo that sets the stage for the rise of Emperor Palpatine, it’s really about how Obi-Wan and Anakin first met. Obi-Wan is an apprentice to a somewhat rebellious Jedi Knight named Qui-Gon Jinn, who believes he’s found the prophesied “Chosen One” who will destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force in a little boy living on a remote desert planet called Tatooine. That boy is Anakin Skywalker, a slave who seems to have been conceived by the midi-chlorians, the microscopic organisms that make it possible for beings to use the Force.

Qui-Gon frees Anakin, but not Anakin’s mother, Shmi, a decision that will come back to haunt the young Jedi later. Despite Obi-Wan and the Jedi Council’s reservations, Qui-Gon is determined to train Anakin as a Jedi now that Obi-Wan has come of age. But Qui-Gon’s plans are cut short on Naboo when Palpatine’s Sith apprentice, Darth Maul, lands a fatal blow during a duel. Fortunately, Obi-Wan is able to defeat Maul, and promises his dying master that he will train Anakin in the ways of the Force.

It’s also during this conflict that Anakin first meets Padme Amidala, Queen of Naboo, the love of his life and one of the people tragically intertwined with the Jedi’s own dark destiny.

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Obi-Wan and Anakin, Master and Padawan

Fast-forward to 10 years later for Attack of the Clones, Anakin is now 19 and has a decade of Jedi adventures under his belt. He’s still Obi-Wan’s padawan, and the two clearly have formed a brotherly bond, but there’s also tension between the two that stems from Anakin feeling that he’s outgrown his apprenticeship and is ready to take the trials to become a full-fledged Jedi Knight.

Unfortunately, Attack of the Clones spends the next two hours and a half showing you how ill-prepared Anakin is for the challenges ahead. But the film also shows how Obi-Wan maybe underestimates his padawan and how his stringent belief in the ways of the Jedi are a bit suffocating to the more free-spirited Anakin who undoubtedly would have found a much better match in Qui-Gon’s more open-ended reading of Jedi doctrine.

Anakin and Padme Fall in Love

Episode II isn’t just about the beginning of the mythical Clone Wars that Sir Alec Guinness first referenced all the way back in 1977. It’s also a love story between Anakin and Padme, who are reunited after the latter is almost assassinated by bounty hunters working for the Separatists, a faction of planets that want to break away from the Republic. Assigned to protect Padme, who’s now a senator working to prevent a galactic war from breaking out, Anakin makes it clear early on that his childhood crush on the former queen never subsided. In fact, the years have only made Anakin fall more deeply in love with Padme.

This of course complicates Anakin’s assignment to watch over Padme on Naboo, where the two share some truly cringeworthy steamy moments. At one point, they even kiss, which is forbidden when you’re a Jedi. But we know Anakin is doomed to fall to the dark side. He has to start somewhere.

By the end of the film, Padme has somehow fallen for Anakin, too. Right before they’re meant to be executed on Geonosis, the Separatist’s base of operations, Padme tells Anakin that she “truly, deeply loves him,” which all but solidifies their doomed love affair. In the final scene of Attack of the Clones, Anakin and Padme get married in a secret ceremony back on Naboo.

The Death of Shmi Skywalker

Early in Episode II, we also learn that Anakin has been having nightmares about his mother, dark visions of a terrible fate awaiting Shmi on Tatooine. Although he and Padme are supposed to stay put on Naboo while Obi-Wan is on a separate mission to find the bounty hunter who is trying to kill the senator, Anakin decides he needs to finally go back to the desert planet and find his mother.

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But it’s already too late. When Anakin arrives, he learns that Shmi was eventually freed in the years after The Phantom Menace, and that she married a man named Cliegg Lars (the father of Uncle Owen from A New Hope). Unfortunately, Shmi has also been kidnapped by a band of Tusken Raiders, which means she’s probably dead now.

Anakin won’t give up on his mom so easily, though. When the young Jedi catches up to the Tuskens, he finds his tortured mother on the brink of death. Their reunion is a very brief one, just long enough for Shmi to see her grown up son one last time before she passes away.

This is where Anakin’s fall truly begins. Overwhelmed by grief and a deep hatred for his mother’s killers, the Jedi slaughters the entire Tusken tribe, including the women and children, a massacre that he’ll later admit to Padme — and much later to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine…

Begun, The Clone Wars Have

All of the main characters in Attack of the Clones converge on Geonosis in the film’s action-packed third act. This is where the mythical Clone Wars begin.

Separatist leader Count Dooku, a former Jedi Knight who turned to the dark side and joined the Sith to become Darth Tyranus, captures and orders the execution of Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padme. But before that can happen, Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Yoda, as well as the rest of the Jedi Order, show up with a shiny new clone army to save the day.

Obi-Wan and Anakin confront Dooku as he tries to escape the planet, but he schools them with a lightsaber quite easily, severing part of Anakin’s arm in the process, a moment meant to rhyme with Luke’s own painful amputation in The Empire Strikes Back. It’s also the beginning of Anakin’s physical transformation into the machine nightmare he is destined to become.

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The Clone Wars: Anakin and Ahsoka

The Clone Wars rage on for the next three years, engulfing every region of the galaxy, as the Republic’s clone army and the Separatists’ battle droids try to gain a foothold on battlefields across hundreds of planets. Many of these battles are covered in the CG animated series of the same name.

It’s in The Clone Wars that we also see Anakin finally become a Jedi Knight and take on his own padawan, the fan-favorite Ahsoka Tano. Anakin and Ahsoka’s relationship is pivotal to the lore of Star Wars in general, if not the three Prequel movies (because Ahsoka hadn’t been created yet).

While it’s very possible that Obi-Wan Kenobi won’t reference Ahsoka at all since she wasn’t in Revenge of the Sith, her history with Anakin will definitely be addressed in her upcoming Disney+ series due out next year. So it might not be a bad idea to learn a bit about Ahsoka and Anakin’s Clone Wars adventures before then.

The Clone Wars: Obi-Wan and Satine Kryze

Not sure if it’ll have any bearing on Obi-Wan Kenobi, but has suggested folks to also rewatch the early Mandalore episodes of The Clone Wars, which tell the story of Duchess Satine Kryze, the pacifist ruler of the Mandalorian people during the war (and Bo-Katan’s sister). Starting with season 2 episode, “The Mandalore Plot,” The Clone Wars reveals an unseen chapter in Obi-Wan’s life that shows just how close he came to leaving the Jedi Order behind for love…

Count Dooku Loses His Head

Three years after the events of Attack of the Clones, the war is still raging across the galaxy in Revenge of the Sith, but the Republic is on the brink of victory. During a desperate final attack on the Republic capital of Coruscant, the Separatists kidnap Palpatine and the Jedi dispatch Obi-Wan and Anakin to save him. A few physics-defying starfighter maneuvers later, the Jedi are inside the flagship where Count Dooku is keeping Palpatine (who is also secretly Dooku’s Sith master, Darth Sidious).

Dooku and the Jedi have their long-awaited rematch, and this time, Anakin has no problem disarming the Sith lord, severing both of the old man’s hands in the process. Anakin is mandated to apprehend the defeated and completely helpless Dooku so that he can stand trial, but Palpatine orders Anakin to execute Dooku right then and there. Since Obi-Wan was knocked unconscious during the duel, he’s not there to stop Anakin from beheading the Sith lord in cold blood at the supreme chancellor’s behest.

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And just like that, Anakin is one step closer to becoming Palpatine’s next apprentice.

The Vision

Anakin is welcomed back to Coruscant as a hero, but he soon receives some alarming news: Padme is pregnant. Worse: he begins having visions of Padme dying during childbirth. Later books and comic books have suggested that Palpatine himself put these visions in Anakin’s head to expedite the process of turning him to the dark side. If true, it was genius.

Darth Sidious Revealed and Anakin Turns to the Dark Side

Anakin will do anything to save Padme, including joining the Sith and becoming Palpatine’s new apprentice. It all begins when Palpatine appoints Anakin as his very own proxy in the Jedi Council, a very unorthodox and alarming move by a supreme chancellor who has stayed in office long after his term due to the emergency powers he received at the start of the Clone Wars. This makes Anakin the youngest Jedi to ever sit on the council, but the other councilors refuse to grant Anakin the title of “Jedi Master,” which infuriates him. To add salt to the wound, the Jedi give him a secret mission on his way out: to spy on an increasingly suspicious Palpatine, who has become a bit of a father figure to Anakin in the years between Episode II and Episode III.

Later, when Anakin confides in Palpatine that his trust in the Jedi has been shaken, the secret Dark Lord of the Sith tells him the story of Darth Plagueis the Wise, a Sith lord who was so powerful that he could manipulate midi-chlorians (remember those?) to create life (hint hint about Anakin’s own “immaculate conception”) and stop people from dying. It’s this same power Palpatine offers to Anakin a few scenes later when he reveals to the Jedi Knight that he’s been Darth Sidious all along.

Only as Sidious’ apprentice can Anakin learn the dark side knowledge he needs to save Padme from death, says Palpatine. But at first, Anakin is disgusted and rushes back to Mace Windu to tell him the truth about the chancellor. Yet, just when Windu is about to slay the Sith lord once and for all, Anakin has a change of heart. He believes that if Palpatine dies, his chance to save Padme will be gone, too. (We all know Palps has no intention to save Anakin’s wife, but poor, dumb Anakin is incredibly gullible.) So Anakin saves Palpatine, and Windu goes flying out of a skyscraper window.

Knowing it’s too late to turn back now, Anakin vows to serve the Sith in exchange for Padme’s life. If you’re wondering why Obi-Wan wasn’t around to stop his former apprentice from being such a dumbass once again, it’s because while this is all happening on Coruscant, the Jedi Master is on a faraway planet fighting General Grievous, the last remaining Separatist military leader. The next time Obi-Wan sees Anakin, they’ll be enemies.

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Order 66 and the Jedi Purge

Which means it’s finally time for Palpatine to execute Order 66, a secret command that causes an “inhibitor chip” inside every clone’s head to activate, turning them into Jedi killing machines. Revenge of the Sith proceeds with a montage of clones all over the galaxy slaughtering their Jedi generals. Meanwhile, Anakin leads a battalion of clone troopers into the Jedi Temple, where they kill every last Jedi in their path. Basically, the Jedi have suddenly been declared enemies of the Republic and must be executed on sight.

By the end of the montage, the only Jedi left seem to be Obi-Wan and Yoda. Discovering that Palpatine and Anakin are behind the Jedi Purge, they each head off to try and take down the Sith lords. Yoda confronts the newly self-appointed Emperor Palpatine in his office, while Obi-Wan visits Padme to try and discover Anakin’s whereabouts. She refuses. But when Obi-Wan tells her the truth about Anakin, she rushes off to find him, unknowingly leading the Jedi Master right to his former apprentice for a final showdown.

Obi-Wan vs. Anakin on Mustafar

Anakin is on Mustafar, the volcanic planet where the last remaining Separatist leaders are hiding from the new Empire. Palpatine, in his hooded Darth Sidious guise (the Sith lord has been the one commanding the enemy faction all along), gathered all of the clueless Separatists in one convenient place so that Anakin could show up and quickly bring an end to the Clone Wars.

By the time, Obi-Wan catches up with Anakin, the time for talking is over. The duel that was foretold all the way back in 1977 has begun. It’s one of the best action sequences in Star Wars movie history, as Anakin and Obi-Wan attempt to kill each other while also trying not to fall into a river of lava. It’s the one moment from the Prequels you should definitely watch.

That said, if you really don’t feel like it, you at least already know who won this fight. After gaining the high ground, which is apparently check mate when it comes to lightsaber dueling, Obi-Wan begs Anakin to surrender. But when Anakin refuses, Obi-Wan is forced to cut his former apprentice down, slicing off the one human arm he has left as well as both of his legs.

It’s then that Obi-Wan says his final goodbye to Anakin, leaving him to burn to death in the fires of Mustafar.

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Anakin Fully Becomes Darth Vader

But we know Anakin doesn’t die on Mustafar. Before he succums to his injuries, the Emperor arrives to save him. We then watch in the final minutes of Revenge of the Sith as Anakin’s body is rebuilt with machine parts and encased in the terrifying armor of Darth Vader. As we hear Anakin’s first breaths as the reborn Dark Lord of the Sith, we know his transformation is complete.

The first thing the Emperor tells his new machine nightmare is that Anakin accidentally killed Padme in anger, which right that second is a lie, but…

Padme’s Death and A New Hope

Anakin’s actions do cause Padme to die during childbirth. But it isn’t due to any physical injury or anything — although Anakin does Force choke her on Mustafar at one point — she’s simply lost the will to live. According to George Lucas’ script, Padme’s cause of death is heartbreak. After giving birth to Luke and Leia, Padme uses her final breaths to tell Obi-Wan that there’s still good in Anakin. Then she dies, a preposterous ending for a character who deserved much, much better.

With Luke and Leia formally introduced, the Prequel Trilogy has done its job, setting up the events of A New Hope. Senator Bail Organa, Padme’s good friend throughout these films, adopts Leia and takes her back to Alderaan, while Obi-Wan takes Luke to live with Owen and Beru Lars on Tatooine, which sounds like a dumb plan since Vader would totally know to look there. Except Vader doesn’t know his children were ever actually born. The last we see of the villain, he’s standing on the bridge of a Star Destroyer with the Emperor as the Empire sets to work on building the Death Star.

Further Reading: Marvel’s Darth Vader and “From the Journals of Obi-Wan Kenobi”

If you want to know what happened to Darth Vader right after Revenge of the Sith, the best place to start is Marvel’s Darth Vader comic book series by Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli. Not only does it explore how the Sith lords formed the Inquisitors to hunt down the remaining Jedi in the galaxy, it reveals some major new secrets about Vader’s origin that actually make this the missing Prequel chapter every Star Wars fan should read before Obi-Wan Kenobi.

But if you only have time to read a few comics before Friday, check out the “From the Journals of Obi-Wan Kenobi” stories Marvel published a few years back. They cover several of Obi-Wan’s other adventures while in exile on Tatooine, including the time he saved Uncle Ben from the bloodthirsty Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan, who recently appeared on The Book of Boba Fett!

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Want more? You can read more about Obi-Wan Kenobi here.