Friday, March 1, 2024

Padawan book reveals Obi-Wan Kenobi is queer

New York Times best-selling author Kiersten White’s new Padawan book, following our favourite Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi, is out today. And with it comes a thrilling, queer tale full of mystery, adventure and found family…

Be warned, there will be spoilers for Padawan and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s arc in this article. If that doesn’t bother you, read on!

In White’s Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi is chafing under the tutelage of his Jedi Master, Qui-Gon Jinn. He craves adventure, action and certainly not constant meditation. Fortunately, a mission arrives for the two, yet Obi-Wan becomes frustrated when his Master doesn’t appear and instead decides to take on the mission by himself.

The mission leads Obi-Wan to Lehnara – a harsh planet where he encounters feral Force-wielding teens. They’ve been shipwrecked on Lehnara for generations, and seem to be the planet’s only inhabitants. As the reader gets to know them, it is revealed some are LGBTQIA+. First, there is Zae-Brii, a shapeshifting alien who is non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns. Next, is a Mikkian called Audj, the leader of the group of teens and is also Zae-Brii’s girlfriend. Casul is Audj’s brother, who isn’t bothered by the prospect of not finding romance, but does offer to kiss and experiment with Obi-Wan. Lastly, there’s Mem, a girl who doesn’t seem to be interested in romantic or sexual relationships.

All of the teens welcome Obi-Wan into their group. As he grows closer to them, the young Padawan begins to feel that his place isn’t with the Jedi Order at all, but with his new friends instead.

Away from the Jedi Order and his Master, Obi-Wan explores who he could be if he was outside of the doctrines of the Order, which of course means his relationship to romance – openly wondering if romance even is for him in the first place.

The most significant proof that Obi-Wan is queer, whether that be demisexual, bisexual, or something else entirely, comes from a conversation between him and Casul, where the two talk about relationships and kissing. The page can be viewed below.

Padawan by Kiersten White, pages provided by Star Wars Queer Watch

Obi-Wan’s sexual identity is not explicitly stated, though it’s made clear to readers that he is struggling with who he really is. On one hand, he might want to kiss all of them, and on the other hand he might not. Due to this back-and-forth in Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi fans are treated to the very real and authentic struggle of trying to find out who you really are.

Regardless of whether Obi-Wan wants to kiss his new friends or not, what solidifies his identity as being queer is that he does admit that he finds them all attractive due to their confidence and charisma. Considering the book is aimed toward young adults and teens, Obi-Wan Kenobi – one of the most legendary Jedi in the entirety of Star Wars – being queer arguably allows queer teen readers to see a hero they can relate to.

Whether this will affect Star Wars stories surrounding Obi-Wan Kenobi in the future remains to be seen.

Padawan is available to purchase right now via your local book retailer.

This article was written thanks to information provided by Star Wars Queer Watch.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart is Editor-in-Chief of Gayming Magazine. She specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.