Ask anyone who the greatest Jedi who ever lived was and someone’s answer is bound to be Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was one of the last Jedi Knights, a noble order of monk-like individuals ostensibly dedicated to guarding peace throughout the galaxy. He was the guy who took a wayward young Luke under his wing and set him on his path to bringing balance to the Force. Or did he? If you really think about it, instead of being the heroic father figure everyone makes him out to be, Obi-Wan was actually the most blatantly manipulative character in the entire Star Wars saga. In fact, his downright sociopathic behavior basically made him the real villain of the entire thing.
Everybody on the internet has their own crackpot alternate theory about any number of Star Wars characters. Some think Rebels are really terrorists hellbent on destroying a major political power, while others think Yoda sent Luke on a Jedi Jihad. But that’s all idiotic conjecture. At least with Obi-Wan we have facts of his ignoble behavior and obvious villainy.
The main argument against Obi-Wan involves the biggest and most important plot point of all six movies: He willfully mislead Luke about his father. After the whole Padme dying debacle in Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan just up and agreed to dump Luke (who retained his father’s surname no less) on the crappy desert planet of Tatooine. What’s worse is that he doesn’t own up and look after him on his own. Instead, he leaves Luke with Owen and Beru Lars, all while he just hangs out in his own personal bachelor pad while staying in hiding on Tatooine.
He’s supposed to be this kid’s protector, but instead he just creepily watches Luke grow up from afar for nearly two decades. How many times do you think Luke saw Ben Kenobi around town while growing up and thought to himself, “This old bastard keeps showing up everywhere — I saw him in Anchorhead, in Mos Espa, around my moisture farm. It’s kind of creepy. What’s this guy’s deal?”
When Obi-Wan finally decides to insert himself into Luke’s life — not for any major reason, mind you, but just because Luke got ambushed by random Tusken Raiders one day near Obi-Wan’s house — he begins to gradually mess with Luke’s relatively simple mind basically from the get-go. He let’s it slip that he knew Luke’s father, and from there the manipulation begins.
Here’s Obi-Wan’s devious inner monologue during the scene when he brings Luke back to his house: “I’m not going to tell this kid I helped his father transform into the most evil person in the galaxy. I’m definitely not gonna tell this kid that Darth Vader is his actual father. Instead I’ll say he killed his father. That way I can get this poor country bumpkin to become a Jedi and kill Darth Vader for me. That way Darth won’t be around to tell everyone how evil I really am. Also, I think I’ll give him his dad’s lightsaber, but I’m not going to tell him he murdered dozens of innocent women and children with it.”
When Luke prods him about his father and the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan simply responds, “He’s more machine now than man. Twisted and evil.” Huh, well, how did that happen?
Here’s more of Obi-Wan’s truthful inner-monologue from the same scene: “His dad used to be my best friend, but he turned into a real asshole after he started calling himself Darth Vader. Yes, he tried to kill my Jedi bros and all a few decades ago, but he was clearly under the influence of some crazy bad-guy mojo. But instead of trying to get him help I chopped off most of his limbs and left him to die on a craggy, lava-laden hellscape. I stopped just short of killing him since I knew he’d survive, go nuts, and rule the galaxy with an iron fist.”
Eventually Luke and Obi-Wan realize that the Empire is after the droids that Luke’s uncle bought, which, by the way, Obi-Wan knew about from his old days in the Clone Wars. By leaving that little detail out he effectively allows Luke to get a big surprise when he heads back to the only home he’s ever known to find his adoptive parental figures burnt to a crisp by a bunch of stormtroopers.
This basically gives Luke one option: Learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like his father, whom he’ll eventually be forced to try and kill. How did Luke get to that point of revenge, something the supposedly altruistic Jedi never do? Three words: Obi-Wan Kenobi.
There’s more to say — mostly about how Obi-Wan conveniently left out the fact that he knew who Luke’s sister was and wouldn’t even tell him after they try to travel to her adopted planet to give her back the plans to the Death Star — but we’ll refrain. Obi-Wan is clearly the bad guy here. Maybe if Obi-Wan hadn’t been so grumpy, Anakin wouldn’t have embraced Palpatine and turned to the Dark Side. But at least Palpatine goes to great lengths to try and reunite a father and son — even if it kills him in the process. Don’t let anyone fool you. Obi-Wan is a sick old bastard who’s only in it to watch the world burn.