A comment on this question about the phonetic spelling of the droid's names made me remember a story I first heard back in 1998, right around the theatrical re-release of the original trilogy.

This was a long time ago and my memory is shaky, but my question is has anyone has ever heard of this same crazy interpretation of the original movies? And if so, is there source discussing it in more detail, because I've Googled for years and can't find anything.

When I first came across the Secret History of Star Wars (back then available as a free e-book) I thought I'd found my source, but it contained nothing of the kind.

The interpretation goes that the Obi-Wan Kenobi we know from the films was really OB1-Kenobi, with the first name being a alphanumeric identifier because he was a clone and not a natural born human. I can't remember if OB1 knew he was a clone or not, but the theory went that OB1 was a Jedi and a veteran of the Clone Wars.

This story post-dates the Thrawn trilogy, so at the time there was precedence, at least in the novels if nothing else, for Jedi clones.

I can't remember if there was an implication that the OB1 was one of many Jedi clones, and that the Clone Wars were really about a Jedi clone army, or if he was a one-off.

I remember loving this story as a fascinating and alternative way to interpret the original movies, and hoping that when the prequels finally came out they'd explain everything.

  • 9
    Maybe Ψ4-DS was a clone too! ;)
    – gnovice
    Sep 27, 2011 at 5:21
  • 6
    @gnovice ¿Ha considerado que Obi-Wan es Obi-Juan?
    – user2900
    Sep 27, 2011 at 18:47
  • 1
    I remember hearing the theory as far back as the early 90's. The Dark Empire comics dealt with Palpaltine resurrecting via clones. Added in with the OB-1 idea, a number of theories regarding Obi-Wan being a clone himself. Back then, Palpaltine was the only known human clone though and there was no hard evidence either way. It was a fun time to speculate though.
    – phantom42
    Mar 19, 2012 at 3:53

1 Answer 1


Well I'm the worst Googler ever, because after years of searching today I found two links in like 60 seconds.

The theory is basically that Obi-Wan Kenobi is actually the transliteration of the alphanumeric identifier OB-1. The "Old Ben" we meet in Star Wars: A New Hope is actually the clone OB-1, who moved to Tatooine to watch over the young Luke Skywalker after Anakin's fall to the dark side the death of the real Ben Kenobi.

The best source I found has several notable attributes (note: it published on the web in 2004 and so vastly post-dates my original hearing of the theory in 1998) :

  • Obi-Wan is a strange name, even for the Star Wars universe, and when compared to similar phonetic spellings for R2 and 3PO it's almost duh obvious that Obi-Wan might really be OB-1.
  • It explains why the Alex Guinness character would change his name to Ben Kenobi, since Ben doesn't really make sense as a shortened form of Obi-Wan and Kenobi is an uncommon enough name to make it a crappy alias.
  • It makes much more sense to clone Jedi, who are bad-ass, than Jango Fett, who is cool but no Jedi.
  • It eliminates the need for the odd plot points required by the actual Prequels: hiding planets, secretly commissioning clone armies, and implementing intricate political machinations to foment civil war--all of which are elegantly taken down in the 7-part Red Letter Media review of The Phantom Menace.
  • It explains why Old Ben has no memory of R2: OB-1 doesn't remember R2 because it was Ben Kenobi who knew R2 and not him. (Of course his bad memory can be ret-conned as feigning ignorance, but there is no rationale for Ben to to lie to Luke.)

The brief synopsis of how this idea would be woven into the prequels is that there is no secret clone army; instead, the Jedi are intentionally cloning themselves to keep up their numbers in the face of some threat. However in keeping with the Thrawn trilogy, cloning and the force have an adversarial relationship and cloning, force-sensitive people in particular, leads to mental weakness and instability in the clones.

This weakness makes these ersatz Jedi particularly susceptible to the Dark Side, which leads to large numbers of them being recruited by a Sith Lord and ultimately to epic Jedi-on-Jedi battles, including the killing of Ben Kenobi by his apprentice Anakin as part of Anakin's fall and transformation into to Darth Vader.

After Ben Kenobi's murder, it is OB-1 who has Leia taken to Alderaan and who takes Luke to Tatooine to be raised in the desert while he keeps a distant watch.

  • That would also explain from where the name of "Ben" came from : scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/5574/…
    – DavRob60
    Sep 27, 2011 at 12:12
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    It's true that there is no rationale for Kenobi (the original or any clones/rejuvinations) to lie to Luke -- but Kenobi has no qualms about shading information to provide "a certain point of view". Jul 29, 2014 at 13:41
  • 5
    the cynic in me says you asked the question already having the links just so you could earn a badge. i hate being cynical.
    – tyson
    Aug 28, 2014 at 3:25
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    Windu: "But who was killed? The clone or the master?"
    – Mixxiphoid
    Jun 5, 2019 at 13:13

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