2. Obi-Wan Kenobi
When Did They Die: Episode IV: A New Hope
Who Were They: Exiled Jedi Master, mentor to both Anakin and Luke Skywalker
How Did They Die: Gave himself over to the Force
Again, like Yoda’s death, Obi-wan’s death is a bit controversial. Most assume, perhaps rightly, that he is struck down by Darth Vader after a brief old-man lightsaber duel in the first Death Star’s docking bay.
Can we not assume that, based on what we later see Yoda accomplish, Obi-wan simply evaporated into the Force, knowing that he would be more powerful there than he ever could be in life? He even tells Darth Vader as much before he disappears! Obi-wan was on to something, and it wasn’t just distracting Vader for long enough for Luke, Han, Chewbacca and Leia to escape.
Even if Vader did strike Obi-wan down, the effect is still the same. Old Ben transfers his consciousness over to the Force itself, helping to guide Luke on his way down the first Death Star’s trench and later directing him to Yoda on Dagobah.
Beyond its implications to Luke and the Light Side of the Force, Obi-wan’s death is the first really impactful on of all the Star Wars movies. It taught viewers not only to expect casualties, but also to realize that some good can come from bad, just as some bad can come from good.
That often contradictory duality can be found at the heart of all six movies.
Next: 1. Anakin Skywalker