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Obi-Wan Kenobi’s aging, explained

The apparent leading question about this show, answered

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan in the Disney Plus show Image: Lucasfilm

Ever since Obi-Wan Kenobi, the new Star Wars series from Disney Plus that takes place between the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy, arrived in late May, one question has been asked ad nauseam on Twitter: Why does Obi-Wan look so much older in the original trilogy compared to the difference between the prequels and the new show?

The in-universe time lapse between those periods is pretty much the same: around 10 years between Revenge of the Sith and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and about nine years between Obi-Wan Kenobi and A New Hope. But the difference between original trilogy Obi-Wan and new Obi-Wan is stark, as many, many, many people are delighted to point out on social media.

Here at Polygon, we love answering the important questions. We’ve consulted the data with our crack team of aging scientists, and we have the answers you are looking for.

Why does Obi-Wan Kenobi age like that?

Because he’s not real, and is a fictional character played by different people.

Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan in Star Wars. Image: 20th Century Fox
Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan from Obi-Wan Kenobi Image: Lucasfilm/Disney

You see, Obi-Wan Kenobi is played by Alec Guinness in the original trilogy. Guinness was 62 when he filmed A New Hope, and he died in 2000. In the prequel trilogy and the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, the character is played by Ewan McGregor, who was 26 when filming The Phantom Menace and is currently 51. Those are two different people! Incredible!

Wait, so Obi-Wan Kenobi is not a real person?

Yes, Obi-Wan Kenobi is fictional, and portrayed by multiple actors who each aged a normal amount over the course of appearing in these movies and show. Ah, cinema.

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