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Why "Ben"?

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 (Edited)

Drawing solely on material from the pre-TPM era, does anyone know why Obi-Wan chose "Ben" as a pseudonym during his stay on Tattooine?

Remember: No prequel bullshit allowed.

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I don't think it's a subject that was ever touched on -- not in the novelizations, not in the EU.

TRANSMODERNISM > POSTMODERNISM > MODERNISM > PREMODERNISM

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I think it's entirely possible that Lucas/Lucasfilm/licensed content creators gave that question no thought at all before they started making the prequels/all their related stuff. A lot of people here seem to like the idea that there was some pure version of every single thing laid out before George started making the prequels and then he changed a bunch of stuff from what it was originally supposed to be, but for something as small as this, I honestly think it's more likely that no one thought it was that important for a while and it went unaddressed until those movies with Obi-Wan Kenobi as a young man started coming out. Granted, I have no idea if it actually is explained in any of the EU stuff from that era either. I just think that the prequel bullshit that you want to avoid is probably the only place an answer exists at all.

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I'm sure we would get that answer if they make a standalone film about Obi-Wan.

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The true genesis for that name (which I just made up upon seeing this thread) is that someone on an outer rim world asks Obi-wan who he thinks he is, dressing up like a Jedi, asking if he really wants to be associated with that group of has-beens. He asks who Obi-wan is again, seriously. Obi-wan retorts: 'a has-been', and the guy asks if he could call him 'Ben' for short.

That will do nicely, I think.

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Because the OT characters used English or at least English sounding names? At least that's what I always imagined

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pittrek said:

Because the OT characters used English or at least English sounding names? At least that's what I always imagined

I think this too. They introduced him as Ben because it's a familiar name, so we wouldn't feel too disorientated in a galaxy far far away.

The Original Trilogy’s Timeline Reconstruction: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Implied-starting-date-of-the-Empire-from-OT-dialogue/post/786201/#TopicPost786201

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If it's just a personal decision it needs no explanation. Perhaps "Ben" was his grandfather or even his middle name or something.

__Valeyard.net

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The minimal research he'd done suggested to him that the name Ben would be nicely inconspicuous.

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.

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When they were kids, Owen Lars couldn't pronounce Obi-Wan.
That's what came out instead.

However, in practice you must take into account the “fuckwit factor”. Just talk to Darth Mallwalker…
-Moth3r

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"Ben" is actually the Old High Galactic equivalent of "Toshiro Mifune." Obi-Wan watched a lot of samurai movies as a young man.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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I can't for the life of me remember where I heard or read this, but back in the mid '90s when Star Wars was getting popular again and the Thrawn trilogy was hugely popular, I saw a speculative story that addressed this. It was speculating about the clone wars and drew from the cloning info we get in the Thrawn trilogy. The author surmised that perhaps Obi-wan was actually a clone of the original Ben Kenobi who had been dead for years. "Obi-wan" was not actually a name, but an alternate spelling for a designation (much like "Artoo Detoo" and "See Threepio") that actually stood for "OB-1" which represented the clone "Old Ben One". Thus, "Ben" actually was his real name and "Obi-wan" was the designation he was known by during the Clone Wars.

The article went on to speculate that the Clone Wars had something to do with a war between the Old Republic and the Mandalorian warriors. The Mandalorians began cloning themselves to increase troop numbers and they began winning. The Jedi ultimately decided that, despite their misgivings regarding the idea, the only way they stood a chance was to begin cloning themselves.

Ah man, I loved when there was so much mystery in the Star Wars universe and you could let your imagination run wild with these crazy ideas about what might've happened outside the films...

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I'm pretty sure it's his name, and "Obi-Wan" is some kind of honorific/nom de guerre.

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Bingowings said:

It's Dagobaian for, "Lying Bastard".

Well that's your... ahem... point of view I guess!

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Obi-wan Kenobi.....

You mean "Old Ben Kenobi"

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He's using past tense.  

He's been Kenobi, now he's not.  He's no longer the Jedi Knight, the defender of freedom and champion for justice that he used to be... now he's just plain Ben.

"It's my first day!"
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 (Edited)

Pre-90s, I thought "Obi-Wan" was a name he was given in the Clone Wars, in honor of some great deeds he'd done helping save some alien world.

Kinda like...

Erwin Rommel: "The Desert Fox?... Now, that's a name I've not heard in a long time. A long time"

That's ^ just my own theory, or it could have been a military rank

The name on his birth certificate would have been "Ben Kenobi". That is a fact, proved by the two lines...

Luke Skywalker: "I'm here to rescue you. I've got your R2 unit. I'm here with Ben Kenobi"

Princess Leia: "Ben Kenobi? Where is he?"

Otherwise Leia would have said...

"Ben Kenobi? Wait what? Oooooh, do you mean Obi-Wan Kenobi? Right okay, I was confused for a moment there because my father never mentioned this guy ever being called Ben. Anyway, nevermind, shall we get on with escaping from this cellblock?"

Another thing Lucas totally contradicted/forgot for the Prequels.

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Never looked at it that way. That Leia responds to Ben has annoyed me since childhood. It might have been intended as you say but the rest of the film (and trilogy) implies that Obi-Wan is his real name. Leia refers to him as Obi-Wan so it feels like an inconsistency within the film honestly. No one calls him Ben except Luke who has called him that as long as he's known him.

Anyway, Obi-Wan chose Ben because no one would suspect he was a Jedi with a boring name like that.

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 (Edited)

She was on her way to request his assistance before being intercepted by Darth Vader. So it's more than likely her father informed her about what alias he's been living under.

I also strongly suspect she programmed Artoo with the coordinates to his hut, considering the straight beeline he made as soon as he was able.

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John Doom said:

I suspect it's either as Tobar said, or that he changed his name into "Ben" before serving the Organas in the Clone Wars.

 Nope--sorry, but Ben is just his name.  That's all.