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Obi-Wan Kenobi is sometimes written, "OB1-Kenobi". Why is this?

It can't be the reason given in answer to Why are R2D2 and C-3PO spelled phonetically in outside media? since the accepted answer referred to pronunciation in the script, but there is no ambiguity with "Obi-Wan".

It has even been noted that it closely resembles what could be written as a droid-like name: OB1 (KNO-B).

  • Given the current answers, I'd attribute that particular one to text-speak – Izkata Jan 2 '12 at 21:28
  • I realize this is an old question, but it's worth pointing out that there actually is ambiguity with "Obi-Wan," as Sir Alec Guinness pronounced his own character's name differently than the rest of the cast. – J. Strange Jul 10 '14 at 17:27
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    FYI, phonetically it's the same, O (Oh), B (Bee), 1 (wan) Sure one and wan are really different, if you try to conjure it perfectly, but try to say OhBeeWan thrice in 2 seconds. Same with "KnoBee" – Oak Mar 6 '15 at 11:18
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    There is some kind of urban legend that Obi Wan is named after the Oberheim OB-1 synthesizer, which the sound engineer used to make R2-D2s voice. But since the film came out in 1977 and the synth in 1978, I guess that's really just a myth... but it could be one of the possible sources for people writing "OB-1" instead of Obi Wan. It gets mentioned in the Wikipedia-article about the Oberheim OB-1: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberheim_OB-1 – Tobi Aug 22 '18 at 11:45
27

There's no canon explanation. Obi-Wan is never called OB1.

The two origins are user errors (either lack of knowledge/confusion, or plain laziness), and a somewhat popular among fans conspiracy theory that Ben Kenobi is actually a clone of the Obi-Wan the Jedi, with clone designation of OB-1 (e.g. http://jedigrrrl.tumblr.com/post/6987082578/star-wars-obi-wan-kenobi-is-ob-1-clone-warrior)

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    Is it fair to note that the Ewan's brother in real life is/was in the RAF with the call sign Obi-Two? – Patrick Hughes Feb 22 at 0:04
7

I have to agree with OddCore - I've read a relatively large amount of the EU and the movie scripts. I've NEVER seen it written as 'OB1' or 'OB1 (KNO-B)' in official literature.

The wikipedia link you provide simply redirects to the main 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' article, common with other commonly misspelled names. The redirect is trivial to set up, and could have been done by anyone at any time, with little to no effort.

Your link in the comment to OddCore's answer (to a google search for "ob1-kenobi") brings up the official Wikipedia article (which doesn't mention that spelling), a facebook page or two, an 'Ewokapedia' article (never heard of that site before), and a hip-hop artist.

I believe what is happening is that someone has an 'epileptic tree theory' (TVTROPES) - a crazy theory that 'MAKES PERFECT SENSE IF YOU JUST THINK ABOUT IT' and has been trying to drum up support for it - adding wikipedia redirects, making minor notes in wookipedia articles, etc.

Also, it's worth pointing out that 'Obi-wan' could have been initially mispronounced 'Ob-Eye wAn (with an 'a' sound like in 'wane')', so it's possible that someone once wrote it as 'OB1' to explain to Mark Hamill how to pronounce it (though it's significantly more likely they just said it once and he picked up on it).

  • It's been mentioned on Wookieepedia: "The name 'Obi-Wan' curiously resembles a droid name (e.g. Emkay (MK), Threepio (3PO), Artoo (R2) etc.), and theoretically it could also be written as OB1 (KNO-B)." I've seen it before, used in short hand (but not I think in official sources). – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Jan 2 '12 at 14:48
  • Maybe it has only been used in unofficial sources. Though there is an interesting theory that OB1 is a clone. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Jan 2 '12 at 14:55
  • @Wikis: That is, I think, the very definition of an epileptic tree theory. Simply disproved by the fact that clones DIDN'T have names like that, droids did. Like I said, it's some crazy fan theory that someone desperately wants to draw attention to. – Jeff Jan 2 '12 at 15:12
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    As an someone with epilepsy I feel somewhat offended by the theory. – Monkeygirl Jan 3 '12 at 9:37
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    @Monkeygirl: For what it's worth, I didn't come up with the theory or the term. That said, I'm sorry if I've offended. – Jeff Jan 3 '12 at 13:29
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I have never seen it written as OB1, and anyone who does write it like that - or R2D2 as Artoo Deetoo or C3PO as See Threepeeo, at least outside of movie script - is wrong.

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    Still, I see no reason anyone would write it like that. He is called Obi-Wan. Just because it sounds like OB1 doesn't mean people can butcher the name, in my opinion. – OddCore Jan 2 '12 at 12:25
  • See my update in the question. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Jan 2 '12 at 12:26
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    OddCore - at least one of the official books of the films spelt the droid names phonetically (obviously taken from the scripts, but no editorial intervention to prevent it), so I think your idea of "wrong" is not quite so solid. – HorusKol Jan 3 '12 at 2:17
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It stems from fan speculation with Kenobi's mention of the clone wars in SW:ANH. (speculating his name was a serial ID for his clone)

-1

Because he's a clone, obviously, and OB1 was his ID number, Obi-Wan a transliteration, and Ben Kenobi the name of his source genes.

In seriousness this is not a canonical answer, but it is a hypothetical answer to the question that's remarkably consistent with OT canon and a fascinating thought experiment into what an alternative version of the prequels might have looked like.

-3

On the original action figures from Kenner, his name was printed as Obi-wan (OB-1) Kenobi. I don't know why.

  • Are you sure? Do you have an image that shows it? I found an image of a Kenner figure from 1978 here which doesn't say "OB-1", but I don't know whether this is the "original" Kenner figure (though the info on the page does say "Printing: 1st") – Hypnosifl Apr 12 '15 at 14:25
  • This matches my recollection from the time, but I can't source an image to confirm it. We certainly knew that "OB-1" was a valid alternative rendering of his name at the time though. – user8719 Apr 12 '15 at 14:45
  • Downvoted because of a lack of reference. I'll happily upvote if you can prove this. – Valorum Apr 12 '15 at 15:20

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