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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

Obi-Wan’s True Star Wars Rival Isn’t Darth Vader or Maul

Without a doubt, Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of Star Wars’ most popular characters. From Alec Guinness’ original portrayal to Ewan McGregor’s prequel version, fans can’t get enough of the sarcastic and witty Jedi master. That’s probably why there’s so much hype for the coming Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+. It’s funny, though, as much as people love Obi-Wan, the villains in Star Wars love to hate him. Accordingly, Obi-Wan developed a number of heated rivalries during his time as a Jedi. Here are his worst adversaries, including his greatest rival, who might come as a surprise.

Darth Vader And Obi-Wan’s Contests Were Spur Of The Moment

A New Hope was primarily about Luke embarking on his hero’s journey, and its most dramatic scene showed Luke blowing up the Death Star. However, the film’s most influential scene was the confrontation between Obi-Wan and his former apprentice-turned Sith -- Darth Vader. The two avatars of the Force clashed blades in a symbolic confrontation between the Dark and Light Sides.

The dialogue during the Death Star duel made it seem like their fight was addressing a long-standing rivalry, and to some extent, it was. During the Clone Wars, the two spent years together as master and apprentice. Then, Anakin turned to the Dark Side, and they had a vicious duel on Mustafar. Yet, both of their confrontations were spur of the moment. Obi-Wan went to Mustafar to kill Vader, not to start or participate in a feud. Similarly, he happened to find himself on the Death Star in A New Hope and likely wouldn't have confronted Vader if the Dark Lord hadn’t cornered him.

Darth Maul And Obi-Wan’s Rivalry Was One-Sided

Many fans would cite Darth Maul versus Obi-Wan as the greatest rivalry in all of Star Wars, and they wouldn’t be totally wrong in doing so. Their feud started in The Phantom Menacewhen the tattooed Dark Lord killed Obi-Wan’s master Qui-Gon Jinn. Shortly after, a young Obi-Wan bisected Darth Maul and put a temporary stop to his short-lived reign of terror. Yet, through everything, Maul survived. Hellbent on revenge, he hunted Kenobi for years, and there were a number of impressive fights between them during Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Their rivalry finally ended in Star Wars Rebels when Obi-Wan dispatched Maul in short order. However, that duel was indicative of their whole rivalry -- mostly in that, it was one-sided. Maul’s tragic life was always about revenge, and Obi-Wan was the unfortunate recipient of most of his rage. As such, Maul versus Obi-Wan was never really a rivalry. It was more often Obi-Wan playing defense against an over-aggressive, wannabe Sith Lord.

General Grievous And Obi-Wan Loved To Hate Each Other

In a bit of irony, Obi-Wan’s true rival wasn’t even a Sith Lord -- it was General Grievous. Their most notable duel was near the end of Revenge of the Sith when Obi-Wan put an end to the cyborg monster on Utapau, but that confrontation was the end of a long-standing feud that materialized in The Clone Wars. The animated series was a great bit of storytelling, but it was a prequel, which meant that there were certain limitations. For instance, dialogue in Revenge of the Sith prevented Anakin from meeting Grievous during the series. However, because Grievous was a primary antagonist, he needed a rival to face throughout the series, and Obi-Wan fell into that role.

The two of them had multiple lightsaber duels over the series, and they were always smack-talking events. In fact, it became apparent that the two of them would overtly ignore other opponents in a bid to take each other on. While that’s a bit odd on the surface, it actually makes perfect sense. Grievous hated Jedi and Obi-Wan was the epitome of the Jedi Code, so it was a given that Grievous would want to have it out for him. It makes even more sense considering both Obi-Wan and Grievous enjoy smack talking. Of course, Obi-Wan ended up winning the rivalry, but Grievous gave him plenty of fits over the course of the war.

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