This article contains spoilers for episode 1 of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s cast is made up of a blend of familiar and new faces to Star Wars. Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Joel Edgerton, and Bonnie Piesse were confirmed to be reprising their roles from the prequels. Newcomers like Moses Ingram, Rupert Friend, and Sung Kang were confirmed to be Inquisitors and Kumail Nanjiani revealed he was playing a con man named Haja.
However, going into the premiere of Kenobi, the identity of Benny Safdie’s character remained a mystery. The reasons for this became clear after the first episode.
Who does Benny Safdie play in Obi-Wan Kenobi?
The Uncut Gems director and Licorice Pizza actor plays a Jedi survivor named Nari in Obi-Wan Kenobi. Just like Obi-Wan, Nari is hiding out on Tatooine. Unlike Obi-Wan, Nari draws attention to himself by helping people in need, specifically a saloon owner on Tatooine.
The Grand Inquisitor, the Third Sister, and the Fifth Brother arrive on Tatooine in search of Nari. When the Third Sister flings a knife at the saloon owner being interrogated by the Inquisitors, Nari instinctively stops the blade with the Force. He flees and escapes the Inquisitors for the time being.
Nari finds Obi-Wan later in the episode. He knows who Obi-Wan is and asks for help. Obi-Wan tells him to leave, bury his lightsaber in the ground, and stay hidden. By the end of the episode, Nari is killed by the Inquisitors and strung up for the people of Tatooine to see.
Nari’s role may be brief, but his role is an important one. It is because of him that the Inquisitors come to Tatooine and get dangerously close to Obi-Wan and young Luke Skywalker. Before Nari uses the Force to save the saloon owner, his character helps create suspense as the audience doesn’t know which Jedi the Inquisitors are after.
Most importantly, Nari helps to show how broken Obi-Wan feels and how far he has fallen. Obi-Wan’s response to Nari demonstrates that Obi-Wan has lost the Jedi way. He refuses to help a person in need, even when that person is a fellow Jedi.
Nari still believes in fighting for good and helping others, but Obi-Wan tells him to just give up and hide. Nari recognizes Obi-Wan by his appearance, but after talking with him, Nari does not recognize the once great Jedi.
Nari’s death is not Obi-Wan’s fault, but it only adds further to the guilt and shame that has plagued Obi-Wan for the past decade, which Obi-Wan is now only beginning to confront.