Star Wars Padawan: Is Obi-Wan Kenobi queer?

Star Wars: Padawan. Image courtesy
Star Wars: Padawan. Image courtesy /

WARNING: This post contains spoilers for the novel Padawan by Kiersten White.

Although Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the most developed characters in Star Wars, there is always plenty of room to learn more about the beloved Jedi Master.

The newest Star Wars novel, Padawan written by Kiersten White, ventures into uncharted territory and explores Obi-Wan’s early time as a padawan under Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn as his struggles with perfectionism, boredom, and the never-ending rules that surround him.

Geared towards a young adult audience and taking place nine years before The Phantom Menace, Padawan also finds Kenobi at a time of youth and self-discovery. Only sixteen years old, Obi-Wan is no longer a youngling and not yet a Jedi Knight. In this in-between period, he is desperate to find his confidence in the Force and hopes to make his Master proud of him. Although the journey to Jedi Knighthood may not be a familiar path to audiences, the feelings of teenage awkwardness and finding your place in the universe ring familiar no matter where in the galaxy you call home.

And like many teenagers, Kenobi also finds himself in a position where he begins to explore his sexuality.

In a moment where a male character on the planet he’s visiting flirts with him, Kenobi comes to terms with the idea of romance and attraction for the first time. Obi-Wan’s confusion soon morphs into discovery, confessing that he would want to be in a relationship with someone “calm, peaceful, and easy to get along with” rather than “a politician or leader.”

When pressed for more information by his companion, Kenobi confesses that he isn’t sure what he wants when it comes to romance and inwardly wonders if there would come a time when it wouldn’t feel like a betrayal to the Jedi Order.

"“…who would he want to kiss? The Lenahrans were confident and charismatic, which was attractive. But he couldn’t imagine just…kissing any of them. Maybe he didn’t want to be with any of them but rather to be more like each of them. Or maybe he wanted to kiss all of them. Not Mem, though, because he had a feeling that would upset her very much.”"

Although his later relationship with Duchess Satine Kryze is confirmed, the revelation in Padawan opens the possibility of Obi-Wan being bisexual or aromantic (or both!). In his own words, Kenobi states that exploring his sexuality isn’t limited to attraction towards a single gender. Or perhaps he feels no attraction towards others at all. The young Obi-Wan Kenobi, bound by the rules of the Order, is still in his time of discovery but it’s clear that he falls somewhere among the ranks of the LGBTQ+ community.

Queer representation in fictional characters has always been important. It allows those without peers or queer representation in their own life to see parts of themselves reflected in a character they admire. At a time when the very act of queerness is coming under fire by various state legislators throughout the United States, a queer Obi-Wan has arrived not a moment too soon.

Padawan is now available wherever books are sold.