48

At the end of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-wan Kenobi, played by Ewan MacGregor, is present for the births of Luke and Leia, and he appears to be approximately thirty-five years old, give or take. When we again see Obi-wan, he is quite an older man, perhaps in his late sixties or early seventies, played by Sir Alec Guinness. Yet Luke, if the reading I've done is correct, is approximately nineteen years old at the beginning of A New Hope. If this is incorrect, by all means correct me, but if it's true, why would Obi-wan have aged so much?

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    Using the force, like the addict that he is, ages you immensely. Take a look at Yoda, a man in his mid forties, who looks like he has been around for 800 years. – Jack B Nimble Feb 29 '12 at 23:35
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    For the record, Obi-wan was 57 at his death. Not young, but, as you say, not as old as he looks. – Kevin Feb 29 '12 at 23:38
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    @Kevin And 57 is -exactly- the right time frame (3 years off) for Slytherincess's estimate of him being ~35 at Luke's birth, and Luke being ~19 in A New Hope. – Izkata Mar 1 '12 at 0:26
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    Alec Guinness was 63 when Star Wars was released in 1977 (and would have been slightly younger during filming). Ewan McGregor was 34 when Episode III was released. If we assume each actor portrayed a character of exactly his own age, that implies a gap of 29 years -- which is close to Mark Hamill's age of 26 when Episode IV was released. Apparently both Alec Guinness and Mark Hamill were portraying characters significantly younger than they were. – Keith Thompson Mar 1 '12 at 1:29
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    Sir Alec Guinness was 61-62 during principal filming of Star Wars. The timeline has Obi-Wan as 57. That's not a huge discrepancy. – Mark Reed Jun 10 '15 at 1:13

11 Answers 11

48

In-Universe, no real canon answer I know of, but he was a man living in fairly poor conditions (backwater crap of a planet, with really poor infrastructure, and he lived in a cave in a boonies to boot), who had major psychological blows (Leaving aside any war-related PTSD, he raised the damned Darth Vader! And everything he ever held dear was destroyed, along with most of his friends).

Oh, and he has responsibility to watch over the pretty much only hope of the Galaxy, and is fully stymied in raising him properly due to Owen Lars' intransigence.

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    Yeppers. Living in a barren wasteland desert is hell on the skin. Dry winds, heat, immense amounts of UV Rays (especially considering the whole "two suns" thing). All of these things prematurely age a person. And imagine what the relative lack of life forms to feed his Force jones would be like to him. I'd also imagine that he works pretty hard to get by. Even finding water to drink would be difficult. – Wad Cheber Jun 14 '15 at 5:46
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    Also to add to that......I know someone personally who is 27 and looks like 47! and he is a normal guy living in a big city. So looking far older than one is can happen to anybody – Thomas Jun 14 '15 at 7:42
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    Jedi Masters were supposed to be emotionally detached from disappointments and responsibilities, so those things shouldn't have aged Obi-Wan. The effects of living outdoors in a harsh climate are another matter. – GreenMatt Dec 8 '15 at 18:20
22

Having been in a real military, I can attest that fighting a two decade long war could age a man.

21

going from the Star Wars Wiki, Luke was born in 19BBY, Obi-Wan in 57BBY and Anakin in 41.9BBY, IV takes place in 0BBY therefore it can be assumed that Luke is 19, Obi-Wan is 57, and Anakin is 41 at those times.

Alec Guinness was about 62 during the production of IV, only 5 years older than his character thus suggesting that he some what ages normally

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Luke_Skywalker http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Galactic_Standard_Calendar#Behind_the_scenes

  • This is the best answer for this. Alec Guinness just looked a little older than he was. The aging/de-aging of Kenobi is only off from Alec Guinness by a couple years. +1 – TheIronCheek Apr 19 '17 at 15:22
12

Obi-Wan believed that Tatooine affected his aging process.

From the canonical novel Ahsoka,

He stood up, his knees creaking in a rather alarming fashion. Surely he wasn't that old yet. It must be the desert climate that affected him strangely.

  • One can argue this is unofficially addressed in DVK's answer, but sweet find! – Edlothiad Apr 19 '17 at 2:26
10

Obi-Wan's wrinkles and bleached hair could be explained by living twenty years out of doors (in a cave, but still) in windy, dry conditions and under double suns. Being homeless is apparently hell on the skin.

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    So is doing drugs, which a few of those faces might reflect. Not so sure that Obi-wan was doing drugs. – Scott Whitlock Sep 3 '15 at 23:28
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    Who knows what vices old Obi-Wan indulged in the fleshpots of Mos Eisley during his long exile? Whatever they were, his skills with a lightsaber certainly suffered, if his performance drop between Episodes 3 and 4 is any indication. :) – Kyle Jones Sep 3 '15 at 23:40
6

The "problem" is that the story was changed multiple times from the original STAR WARS to REVENGE OF THE SITH.

In STAR WARS, Obi-Wan is actually in his early 60s. Father Skywalker was in his late 50s. Darth Vader was much younger.

In the second draft of EMPIRE STRIKE BACK, George Lucas decided that Vader was now Skywalker. Age wise this worked... until the prequels.

In the original STAR WARS, Luke is 21 years old (Leia is 18 by the way). That means that in REVENGE OF THE SITH, Obi-Wan would have been in his early 40s while Anakin late 30s. In fact in REVENGE OF THE SITH, Lucas said that Anakin is in his mid 20s while Ben late 20s.

So now it doesn't work... but then Lucas changed so many things through the years that it is bound to happen.

But its actually simple as there are three ways to look at STAR WARS:

  • STAR WARS the original 1977 film The Adventures of Luke Skywalker (from which it was called up until a few months before the release)

  • STAR WARS the original trilogy Its only later that Lucas added in the EPISODE IV title and said that there would be 9 films (which was never the part of the original plan).

  • STAR WARS the six-part story The story of Anakin Skywalker, as Lucas so wants us to think of it now.

I won't go into details as to all that changed... maybe some other time.

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    You present a lot of interesting information. Would you mind adding specific sources? (e.g. script quotes, references to sources showing those details about scripts, etc...?) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 7 '12 at 3:11
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    @Arc-Vile I thought Luke and Leia were fraternal twins. If Luke was 21 and Leia was 18, was Padame in labor for 3 years? That would explain why she died. – zer00ne Sep 3 '15 at 13:19
  • @zer00ne they were not related until after the initial Star Wars movie came out – user46509 Jul 5 '16 at 7:36
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I read something about Owen Lars that explained that extensive exposure to Tatooine's twin suns had prematurely aged his body, so maybe that could be used as an excuse for Obi-Wan's appearance in episode IV. Alec Guinness was 63 years old during the filming of A New Hope, which only makes a difference of 6 years between him and the character, it's not that much of a difference. Still though, I know what you mean, Alec Guinness look like he's in his 70's in Episode IV.

2

I did some research on this, and gleaned the best answer from here:

http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0000004/bio

Obi-wan is 25 in Episode I. Episode II takes place 10 years later, and Episode III takes place 3 years after that, making him 38 during Revenge of the Sith.

According to the post above mine, Luke was 21 in Episode IV, and I think it makes sense to assume that this didn't change. So, in A New Hope, Obi-wan was 59, and had been living in the harsh conditions of Tatooine for 21 years, which would easily have added a good ten years to his appearance.

Anakin was 9 at the beginning of Episode I, making him 19 in Episode II and 22 in Episode III. In Episode IV, he would be 43. Episode V took place 3 years later, and VI 1 year after that, making Vader 47 at the time of his death. Due to his terrible burns, living in a mechanical suit, and using the dark side for so long, he appears older.

1

Obi-Wan was twenty-five years old in "THE PHANTOM MENACE". He was thirty-five in "ATTACK OF THE CLONES". He was thirty-eight in "REVENGE OF THE SITH". And he was fifty-seven in "A NEW HOPE". Alec Guinness was sixty-two when "A NEW HOPE" was filmed 1976. The movie was released the following year. This means Guinness was portraying a character that was five years younger then himself.

There is nothing to get excited about.

By the way, Luke and Leia were 19 years old in "A NEW HOPE".

0

Obviously, when the original 1977 Star Wars film was released, Obi-Wan was intended to be much older than the prequels reveal him to be. "That's a name I've not heard in a long time, a long time.", "Shouldnt he be dead by now?" and "I'm getting far too old for this sort of thing".

Also, 35 year old men don't usually refer to 57 year old men as "Old fossils". I also don't know why Luke's age was changed to 19. Books, comics, trading cards and toy packaging all referred to 20 year old Luke Skywalker back in the day.

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You are living on a planet with two suns and harsh environmental conditions. Look at how aged Owen and Beru were. I think it is simply a product of the environment and not exactly having access to treatments that would reduce signs of aging.

protected by Valorum Jul 31 '16 at 21:59

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