The Obi-Wan

"Well, as an older mentor figure, the most likely scenario is that I'd return only to be randomly killed by an enemy of yours so that you can cradle my dying body while swearing revenge — so don't take it personally if I say that I sincerely hope we never cross paths again."
Julio Scoundrél, The Order of the Stick

A mentor who travels with the main character and often has some sort of magic powers or at least a brilliant mind. Even though this character is better skilled, faster and more experienced than The Protagonist, they aren't The Hero, either because they are not The Chosen One or because they have already grown too old for the task. Their role is to introduce a new skill or sharpen the current skills of the protagonist, often hoping to pass the torch because they know their career is coming to an end. Expect him to have a very calm attitude as if he has wisdom that he will give out in his own due time.

This character will almost always die, albeit usually at a time of his own choosing, so that the protagonist can learn to stand on his own two feet. Their death will also be a great motivator as it gives the protagonists a chance for vengeance. Afterwards, they'll usually become a Spirit Advisor, either as a literal "spirit" or in flashbacks. If they don't die, they will stick around giving advice, but not actively adventuring (unless Gondor Calls for Aid).

The Obi-Wan can also play Mr. Exposition and as The Chooser of The One.

The Obi-Wan is an Archetypal Character. The Big Brother Mentor is a subtrope that happens when the Obi-Wan is older, but not too much older, than the protagonist. If the character is simply demoted early on in the plot, he's only a Quickly Demoted Leader. For more information concerning "The Mentor" and other narrative archetypes, see Vladmir Propp's theory of narrative. Compare Big Good where they tend to keep a distance on the hero's quest and run things from the throne.

See also Old Master, Eccentric Mentor, Cool Old Guy.

Named for Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, who bites it at the end of Act 2 in an Obi-Wan Moment, Passing the Torch to the young hero who then goes on to avenge his death.

Warning: this is a Death Trope; there be spoilers ahead.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Balgus in Vision of Escaflowne is Van's Obi-Wan, albeit an Obi-Wan who can swing a sword over three metres long.
  • Roy Focker from Super Dimension Fortress Macross and its Robotech dub is one of the most famous examples of a classic variation of this trope — the "Veteran Ace Pilot".
  • Gai Daigouji in Martian Successor Nadesico.
  • Dr. Kureha and later Silvers Rayleigh in One Piece.
    • Though a subversion in that neither one has ever even been in danger of dying, despite the latter fighting one of the setting's strongest characters to protect the protagonists at one point.
  • Bleach: Everything Uryuu knows and believes about Quincies comes from what his grandfather taught him, including the attitude that it's wrong to blame the Soul Reapers for the Quincy massacre 200 years before. His grandfather died when Uryuu was a young child, right in front of Uryuu's eyes. Throughout the story, Souken's teachings continue to guide Uryuu via the power of flashback.
  • Kamina in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. And he's not immune to Mentor Occupational Hazard either.
  • Shion, Aya's primary mentor in the Weiß Kreuz Radio Drama Endless Rain, serves the role of The Obi-Wan including his death protecting Aya during a mission gone wrong... but in the subsequent Radio Drama Dramatic Precious, it turns out he'd faked his death and has become a Nietzsche Wannabe Big Bad.
    • Kikyou from Endless Rain also qualifies as The Obi-Wan for Aya, down to playing Spirit Advisor in Aya's dreams following his death... which was at Aya's hands, Kikyou also having performed a Face-Heel Turn and gone Ax-Crazy. His visitations in Aya's dreams tend to involve him expressing pleasure that Aya is becoming like him and will be joining him in Hell.
  • Will Zepelli in the first part of Jojos Bizarre Adventure not only dies, but admits he knew it would happen, because You Can't Fight Fate.
    • Joseph Joestar serves this role in Stardust Crusaders to the rest of the protagonists. He is killed by Dio Brando in the final fight, but is revived by the Speedwagon Foundation medics.
  • Gennai from Digimon Adventure acts as the mentor and Mr. Exposition. In his younger days (and post-revitalization in Digimon Adventure 02), Gennai also bears a striking resemblance to Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episode I. Young Gennai's robes are quite like that of a Jedi, to the point of he and his people being referred to by the fandom as the Jedi Knights.
  • Naruto
    • The Third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, one of the more notable elders in his village (and in anime in general). He even dies at the hands of his renegade student Orochimaru.
    • We also have Jiraya; after he dies, Naruto goes to learn under his teacher, a frog, to become as powerful as him.
    • Kakashi himself is evolving into The Obi-Wan in his own way. Ironically, he's actually doing less mentoring than he used to, but events in Shippuuden have actually placed him in almost the exact same position as none other than Obi-Wan Kenobi himself in Episode 3, in regards to Sasuke. So he's being less the trope, and more the Obi-Wan. Bonus points for technically being killed off during the Pain arc (he even met his dead father in the afterlife!), only to recover after Pain's sacrifice.

      It gets even better during the World War. As the relationship between him and Obito is starting to shape up exactly like Obi-Wan and Anakin, he is the Obi-Wan of the series.
  • Miyu (and later Mai) from Mai-Otome serve as Obi-Wans to Arika, but both characters ultimately survive.
  • In Samurai Deeper Kyo, Muramasa acts as Kyo's Obi-Wan.
  • Kaito briefly acts as one in the first chapter/episode of Hunter × Hunter, then fully endorses this role at the beginning of the Chimera Ant Arc, biting it about halfway.
  • Meta Knight more or less takes this role in the Kirby anime, among with a number of other repurposed characters. Although he doesn't seem to have died yet, he's made the odd non-fatal Heroic Sacrifice for Kirby's sake.
  • Of all of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple's six masters, "The Philosophical Jujutsu User" Koetsuji Akisame best fits the description of The Obi-Wan. Other eligible candidates are Ma Kensei and Hayato Fuurinji.
  • Sword Saint Shiba of Rave Master passes the titular role to Haru Glory and sends Haru to the man best suited to repairing the Rave Master's blade after it's broken. True to trope, he experiences an Obi-Wan Moment upon his reunion with Haru. It's a variation in that Shiba dies by challenging Haru to a duel to the death. Haru didn't directly kill him. The potion he took to restore his youth for the fight did.
    • Also inverted during a Time Travel arc, in which Haru saves his mentor in his youth, passing on several things Shiba would later go on to teach him
  • Toki in Fistofthe North Star combines The Obi-Wan with Big Brother Mentor.
  • Subverted with Hiko Seijuro, Kenshin's master in Rurouni Kenshin: he fully expects to die at Kenshin's hand after passing on the succession technique, but Kenshin's reverse blade sword saves his life. Hiko then goes on to pull a Big Damn Heroes moment later in the arc, arriving in the nick of time to save Kenshin's protege Yahiko from being killed.
  • Parodied in Excel Saga when Nabeshin appears to give Excel the technique needed to defeat a bowling-themed terrorist, complete with Training Montage. Afterwards, Excel gives the typical speech that one gives over the body of a fallen mentor, despite Nabeshin's protests that he isn't dead.
  • Rakan in Mahou Sensei Negima! becomes this to Negi. He later questions whether Negi should be the type of "hero" who he'd be doing this for.
    "You're not actin' much like a main character, are you? You're one of those characters who dies holding off the enemies three chapters before the end of the series!"
    • He becomes The Obi-Wan, complete with spirit form, in Chapter 279.
  • In Outlaw Star, "Hot Ice" Hilda served as lead character Gene's mentor until her Heroic Sacrifice against Tao Pirates, which she did by using a bomb to blow up the safety line keeping the pirates (and herself) from falling into a star.
  • Mentor? Check. The most best hitman in the world but does nothing except shoot the protagonist in the head? Checked. Mr. Exposition? Check. Dies? Yes, in the future. Reborn, the home tutor of the protagonist in Katekyo Hitman Reborn! looks awfully like one (though his size is much closer to Yoda).
  • Shouyou-sensei in Gintama taught Gintoki, Katsura and Takasugi as children. They had extremely different reactions to his death, though.
  • Death Note's Soichiro Yagami is this for Touta Matsuda.
  • Genkai from YuYu Hakusho plays this to the letter. Yusuke even remarks that she is the only person who ever taught him something worthwhile. Except she never seems to stay very dead, or stop working even.
    • In the manga, she dies at the start of the last chapter, apparently of old age.
  • Father Remington from Chrono Crusade, who (once he's finished training Rosette) is so determined to make sure that Rosette does things on her own power that he purposefully keeps it a secret from her when they happen to be traveling to the same city, for fear she'll depend on him too much if she knew he was around. However, when she gets in a bind he shows up to be a Big Damn Hero.
  • Soldier Blue from Toward the Terra fits this awfully well.
  • Dragon Ball Z
    • Piccolo plays this somewhat in the first arc where he decides to train Gohan, not only to get him ready for the Saiyans who were coming, but also because he sensed his death is near and wants someone to pass on his knowledge to. He's brought Back from the Dead.
    • In Trunks' timeline, Gohan fill this role to a T. He trains Trunks, and dies fighting the Androids, which causes Trunks to first go Super Saiyan.
  • Katsuhito mostly fits this trope in Tenchi Universe, although he winds up only badly injured rather than dead.
  • With the exception that he merely makes his swords and doesn't train him in using them, since he's a blacksmith, and he doesn't travel along with him, this is Godo from Berserk and how he acts toward Guts. He lets Guts stay with him for a year to train, gives him all sorts of neat weapons and equipment, and gives him plenty of insight on personal ambitions and life in his own way. He's the only guy that actually manages to make Guts shut up and think about his actions for once and puts him in his place, something that the Skull Knight can't even succeed in doing. This is one of his last great feats before he dies of old age, something that he is well aware of. He lampshaded this when Guts comes back to his house for the first time in two years to check on Casca. Because of all of this, Godo's in Cool Old Guy territory.
  • Kero (Small form) from Cardcaptor Sakura.
  • Lyrical Nanoha
  • Athrun Zala to Shinn Asuka in Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, right down to the latters fall into darkness.
    • Ironically, also ends with Shinn losing his limbs in a fight with Athrun. Well, his Gundam's limbs anyways.
  • Clef of Magic Knight Rayearth gives the girls magic power and instructs them on its use, but leaves them to complete their journey on their own except when he is speaking to them remotely through Mokona. The anime has him Taken for Granite in the first episode and eventually become unable to communicate. He gets better in the second half.
  • There was a mysterious old man in Destroy and Revolution where Makoto had learned about the One-ness and disappeared. He was alone and had no friends or family. No one, not even Makoto knows his name.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • When composing the song "Son of Man" for Disney's Tarzan, Phil Collins said that he thought of Tarzan's (human, birth) father watching over him as if he were Obi-Wan and the song was about all the things Lord Greystoke (that's his name in Burroughs's books) would've liked to say to him.
  • The Lion King: Mufasa to his son Simba, as he teaches him to become king.
  • In Kung Fu Panda, Master Oogway fills this character trope, being the Old Master to Shifu. He seems addle-minded until he dies, but the heroes realize at the end he knew exactly what he was doing. Afterwards, Shifu takes Oogway's place and plays the role of the Old Master to Po.
  • Miss Lilly from Millionaire Dogs.
  • Brother Aidan in The Secret of Kells.
  • Doc Hudson hates Lightning in Pixar's Cars. However, Lightning discovers that Doc was a famous and successful race car in his day. After teaching lessons in driving and humility, Doc eventually becomes his racing coach and helps him in the final race.
  • Due to its comparison to Star Wars, Transformers: The Movie has two characters in the Obi-Wan role: Optimus Prime (killed by the Big Bad and encourages The Hero from the afterlife) and Kup (the wise mentor).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars
    • Obviously, the Trope Namer is Obi-Wan Kenobi, who mentored Luke until he died at the end of Act 2 of the original film — and a while after that.
    • The prequels give us Qui-Gon Jinn, who was, ironically, The Obi-Wan to Obi-Wan himself. As well, Qui-Gon was exactly this to 9-year-old Anakin. He has a voice cameo in Episode II and it's referenced directly in Episode III that he has apparently become an Obi-Wan-like Spirit Advisor to Yoda.
    • In The Force Awakens Han Solo plays this role for the new generation of heroes, teaching Rey how to fly the Millennium Falcon and getting her and Finn to the Resistance. Also, the dying.
  • Played straight in Flyboys with Cassidy, whose only real purpose is to mentor the main character, and later give him something to avenge. Bonus points for being killed by a Darth Vader-like character, complete with black airplane and ominous music. More points for crashing into a giant Zeppelin, which can be interpreted as a WWI-era Death Star.
  • Rufus in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure guides Bill and Ted while they navigate through history.
  • In The Matrix trilogy, Morpheus in most respects fills the role of the Obi-Wan but is the only one of the three regulars to survive to the end. He tries to sacrifice himself for Neo as early as the first film, but gets rescued.
  • Fr. Merrin in The Exorcist is The Obi-Wan to Fr. Karras, showing up with a wealth of experience and skill and then dying in time for Karras to finish the demon all on his own. It doesn't end up too well for Karras either...
  • Blatantly played straight in TRON: Legacy through Kevin Flynn. Right down to a copy of the outfit.
  • In the first Highlander movie, Connor MacLeod's Obi-Wan is Ramirez, played by Sean Connery. He's killed by the Kurgan, leaving Connor himself to face him more than five hundred years later.
  • In The Mask of Zorro, the original Zorro, Don Diego de la Vega, plays the Obi-Wan to his chosen successor, Alejandro Murrieta.
  • In Batman Begins, the young Bruce Wayne is mentored by a servant of Ra's al Ghul, appropriately played by Liam Neeson (who also played Qui-Gon Jinn). However,the "servant" really was Ra's al Ghul all along, ironically making the Obi-Wan also the antagonist.
  • The Godfather: Vito Corleone is a type of Obi-Wan to his son Michael.
  • An interesting variation of this occurs in Men of Honor. The racist Bill Sunday (Robert De Niro) makes Carl Brashear's (Cuba Gooding Jr.) life miserable but still guides him in his quest to be a Navy diver. He even coaches Brashear personally when he's disabled and must re-hab in order to continue. He also plays a huge part in Brashear's CMOA.
  • Mickey in the first three Rocky movies.
  • John Wayne's character in The Cowboys.
  • In J.J. Abrams 2009 reboot of Star Trek
    • Mainline, future Spock plays this role to a young Kirk and to this Universe's version of himself. Which is amazingly cool because it's... you know... really him. "Spock Prime" is played by the original Spock himself.
    • Also Captain Pike plays this role, encouraging Kirk to join Starfleet.
  • In Judge Dredd, Chief Justice Fargo has most of the qualities of The Obi-Wan (mentors Dredd, dies partway in to give him a motive for revenge, provides Exposition, etc.).
  • In Serenity (and to a lesser extant in Firefly), Shepherd Book is this trope to the letter for our Big Damn Heroes, and he appropriately dies for his troubles.
  • Whistler from the Blade films. When we see them in the timeframe of the movie Blade was far more powerful than Whistler but their history clearly states this type of relationship between them.
  • In Dead Lands Hongi's grandmother provided him with daily guidance before her murder, and later returned as a ghost to help her grandson seek revenge.
  • In The Men Who Stare at Goats, Lyn Cassady, a self-proclaimed Jedi played by George Clooney, acts as The Obi-Wan to Bob Wilton, played by Ewan MacGregor who was Obi-Wan in the Star Wars prequels.
  • In Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Patches O'Houlihan serves this roll for La Fleur and his team of misfits.
  • Kambei of Seven Samurai goes so far as to appear dressed as a priest and with his head shaven. He is definitely the spiritual leader and oldest of the samurai as well as their conscience. Also, Lucas was a huge fan of Kurosawa...
  • Bishop from The Mechanic (1972) is this to McKenna, giving him the skills or "tools of the trade" to become a good Professional Killer. At least, until the Twist Ending...
  • Chubbs from Happy Gilmore is a comedic but very straight version of this trope. He helps Happy get his start in golf, teaches him the basic techniques, tries to teach Happy maturity, dies, then puts in a kinda-sorta appearance as a Spirit Advisor. Also, the fact that he's not The Hero is better justified than in many stories: he may know the game and techniques much better than Happy, but in golf being one-handed is a major handicap.
  • Sam the Lion in The Last Picture Show.
  • The film Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the recap from the Buffy series had Merrick, her first watcher.
  • Timothy Spall's character (a mentor to Mark Wahlberg) in Rock Star. On the DVD commentary (Word of God), the director describes him as "a demented Obi-Wan Kenobi."
  • Dr. Abraham Erskine in Captain America: The First Avenger, who advises and encourages the young weakling Steve Rogers in his efforts to be heroic because he hopes to turn him into a super-soldier. Moments after Steve gets his powers, Dr. Erskine is shot by assassins. As he dies, he points to Steve's heart as a final reminder that he must act the way he always did, despite his new abilities.
  • Yinsen in Iron Man is an interesting example as he acts more as Tony Stark's conscience during Tony's captivity in Afghanistan and inspires him to become a better person. Naturally he dies protecting Tony during their escape and tells him to not waste his life as he did before, setting Tony on his path to becoming a hero.
  • Dr. Gillespie is this initially in the Dr. Kildare series of films, as Kildare's crusty bit wise mentor who is dying of a then-uncurable disease. But that subplot was dropped over time, and the last few films in the series were renamed after him because Dr. Kildare's actor left.
  • In Django Unchained, Dr. King Schultz plays with this trope. He serves as a mentor to Django and indeed dies so that Django can finish his quest on his own; but Schultz's death is ultimately senseless, caused by his own ego, and ends up putting Django and Broomhilda in mortal danger.
  • In the first Iron Eagle, Chappy is this to Doug Masters. He gets shot down halfway in the movie, but it is revealed that he survived, because he was picked up by American forces after he ejected from his plane.
  • Han is this to Shaun in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
  • Jack the Giant Slayer: Elmont is this to Jack, being a more experienced soldier in the quest to save Princess Isabelle. Bonus points for being played by Ewan McGregor, who played the Trope Namer.
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, veteran secret agent Harry Hart acts as a mentor to Gary Unwin, aka Eggsy, and persuades him not to waste his life and talent in crime and join the undercover espionage agency Kingsmen to save the world from James Bond type villains.
  • Veteran Irish street cop Jim Malone teaches the younger Treasury agent Eliot Ness how to deal with Capone's forces in Chicago beyond conventional legal methods in The Untouchables. And he dies too.
    Jim Malone: You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way! And that's how you get Capone. Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that? I'm offering you a deal. Do you want this deal?
  • In Quest Of The Delta Knights, there's Baydool, played by David Warner. His death comes about due to archers under the command of Lord Vultare, also played by David Warner.

  • The wizard Merlin to King Arthur.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Toku version of Spider-Man, Garia is killed.
  • Master Po in the flashbacks in Kung Fu.
  • It doesn't get much more obvious than the character of Mentor on the Filmation live-action Shazam! series, though "the Elders" (Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury) also acted in this role to a lesser extent. In the comics, however, the role is filled by the wizard Shazam (who dies right after giving Billy his powers, but whose spirit can be summoned by lighting a brazier at the Rock of Eternity), except for an era of the comic where it was deliberately imitating the television show, and Uncle Dudley, normally a lazy and incompetent bumbler, became Mentor.
  • Highlander
    • A possible Obi-Wan on TV would be Methos. He was certainly smarter and more experienced than the hero, though not stronger or faster, and usually dispensed various bits of wisdom. He was somewhat odd in that he didn't appear until several years into the series, but he definitely served an Obi-Wan function once he appeared. His character was added to the show not long after Darius, a more traditional Obi-Wan, was killed off.
    • Duncan had a number of Obi-Wans, starting with Connor himself.
  • The dad's ghostly role in Six Feet Under.
  • For most of Happy Days' (literal) pre-Shark Jump episodes, The Fonz was The Obi-Wan to Richie Cunningham and the gang.
  • Godbold, the wise old hermit reincarnated as a plumber is Adam's Obi-Wan in The Wanderer. In addition to being the only one who seems to understand what's going on he is a mean wrestler. But he doesn't die.
  • John Winchester (the father) to his sons the Winchester Brothers on Supernatural. We never see him training them, but we know that he taught them everything they know about hunting.
    • Bobby Singer fills this role after John dies for several seasons until Bobby dies, and continues to guide Sam and Dean from the afterlife until they put him to rest.
  • Claude Rains to Peter Petrelli on Heroes, until he was Put on a Bus.
  • A recurring gag on Top Gear is to send presenter James May (alias "Captain Slow") out to learn how to drive properly. Thus far he's been the student of racing legends Jackie Stewart and Mika Häkkinen. May explicitly compares each of them to Yoda at one point in the segment.
  • In Lost, John Locke winds up filling this position to Jack Shephard, though it's only really obvious in hindsight, and Locke spent most of his time on the show believing that he was the hero of the story. He doesn't depart skills to Jack so much as the idea of having faith in the Island and trusting that they all have a special purpose for being there. It takes Locke's death for Jack to realise he was right; afterwards, Jack becomes a "man of faith", really ascends to the role of The Hero, and fights in Locke's name. Crowning moments of awesome ensue.
  • Carter Hall/Hawkman plays this role in Smallville. As one of the last surviving members of the previous generation of superheroes, he becomes a mentor to the current generation of superheroes, most notably Clark Kent. In the show's tenth season, Carter informs Clark that he has fought against and defeated that season's Big Bad Darkseid on at least two previous occasions, but is then killed in battle by another villain who had unknowingly become a minion of Darkseid later in that very same episode.
  • Chin often plays this role to his cousin Kono in the new Hawaii Five-0. Suitable since he's an experienced if disgraced cop, and she is just coming up to graduation to the HPD at the start of the series.
  • Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, especially as of the end of the Season 8 comic
  • Dukat plays this role to Delenn in Babylon 5.
    • As does Kosh to Sheridan.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, the recently deceased Professor Proton is not ecstatic at all about returning to act as Sheldon Cooper's literal Obi-Wan. Especially when he realises he is dressed for the part, has to have the character explained to him, and realises that note  he is now Sheldon's spiritual advisor. he does find the light-sabre to be cool, though.

  • Polk the teamster, in the novels White Plume Mountain, Descent Into The Depths Of The Earth, and Queen Of The Demonweb Pits is both a literary example and a rare subversion of the trope — a drunken porter who follows the grim, hardened Justicar around under the delusion that he can pass on the wisdom of the ages. He dies in the second book — not making a heroic last stand, but reloading the crossbow for the character who is — and is promptly reincarnated as a badger, his ego even further inflated by the experience.
  • Lord Eddard Stark in A Song of Ice and Fire, at first seeming like the protagonist before having his head cut off, plays this role to his children, particularly Arya, Jon, and Robb.
  • Tepec, in El Conquistador. He saves Quetza of being sacrificed in the Temple, and he is a wise and intellectual teacher, a sage whom achieved his position in the Elders Council by his own sapience, not by his age or connections. He is a tutor of the Golden Age, as he misses the Toltec wisdom over the Aztec warmongery.
  • Aunt Tekla in Shaman of the Undead with Deadpan Snarkiness added. Shamans are incredibly rare and she was the previous one, so she teaches Ida about her powers and trains her to use it properly. She also manages to skirt the Mentor Occupational Hazard by dying two years before the story started and aiding Ida as a ghost.
  • Harry Potter: Dumbledore, the wise wizard who usually dispenses a few pieces of advice just before the hero needs it, then shows up in the epilogue to tie up any loose ends. This has started to be called the "Dumbledore Explains It All" scene. Dumbledore dies at the end of book six in a seven-book series, leaving one final story for the hero to avenge his death. In Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore gets to explain it all one last time, as he and Harry have a chat in an afterlife train station. Talk about sticking to the trope.
  • In Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, Brom (an obvious clone of Obi-Wan Kenobi) fills this role until his death midway through Eragon; in Eldest, Oromis takes over the role. Oromis might be more The Obi-Wan than Brom was, since he got killed by The Dragon to the Big Bad at the end of the third book. A memory of Brom turns up late in Brisingr, which would send him straight back to the Obi-Wan territory if he ever left it.
    • He was himself mentored by the forest-dwelling feeble former warrior Oromis.
  • Gandalf gets a bit of this, apparently dying in Fellowship of the Ring, and staying dead just long enough for the heroes to get scattered and divided. In a pre-trope subversion, he is FAR FAR more active AFTER he dies than before!
  • Methuselah is this to the young mouse Matthias in Redwall. Compounded by the fact that he is eventually killed, sending Matthias spiraling into depression when he finds out.
  • Father Zosima in The Brothers Karamazov is a mix of The Obi-Wan and the Messianic Archetype. He mentors Alyosha Karamazov for the first third of the book before his death.
  • In The Dresden Files, Ebenezar McCoy was this to Harry when he was still learning how to use magic. While his previous guardian, Justin DuMorne, taught him how to use magic through direct methods (such as throwing baseballs at him to teach him how to make a physical barrier), Ebenezar taught him that the power of magic comes from passion and emotions, and how important it is to follow the Laws of Magic. It comes to a shock to Harry when he learns that his teacher, who taught him the importance of the Laws of Magic, was the Blackstaff, or the one person on the planet who can legally break them if he feels he needs to.
    • This also happens when Molly becomes Harry's apprentice. Harry is very aware of the parallels between this and the Star Wars films, and exploits this by making as many references to them as possible.
  • Osip Bazdeev mentors Pierre Bezukhov and turns him on to becoming a Freemason in War and Peace.
  • Randle Patrick McMurphy is The Obi-Wan to Bromden in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
  • Chiun mentors Remo Willaims in the Destroyer.
  • The Pendragon Adventure by DJ MacHale has Uncle Press, who is very much The Obi-Wan. He is the mentor to the main character, Bobby Pendragon, and teaches almost all the other Travelers of the generation. He appears to be one of the few travelers who regularly traveled before Bobby's time, and dies at the hands of the Big Bad.
  • Snufkin from The Moomins, though he doesn't die he is the definition of understated.
  • The old priest in Nation. Defied by the fact that the young hero, Mau, doesn't want to hear a damn thing he has to say — in the wake of the tsunami that devastates their area of the Great Pelagic Ocean, the old priest is clinging to his faith, while Mau violently rejects it... despite being continually harassed by the spirits of his ancestors and Locaha, the god of death. Played straight, though, in that he helps Mau become the leader the refugees desperately need, and is killed at the end of the second act.
    • There is also Nawi, the old man who teaches Mau (among other things) how to scare off sharks.
  • Tirandys in P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath is The Obi-Wan for Jame, and dies tragically at the end of Book 2, Dark of the Moon. A variation in that he's The Dragon's man and was supposed to raise Jame up to be a good evil minion.
  • Doctor Morgenes of Tad Williams' Memory Sorrow And Thorn plays this role for Simon, taking the wayward kitchen boy under his tutelage and giving him some rudimentary schooling. He's really a member of the League of the Scroll, a group of scholars dedicated to preventing the return of the Storm King, and Simon isn't quite what he seems either. Then, Morgenes dies in a Heroic Sacrifice to allow Simon to escape from Evil Sorcerer Pryrates. True to the trope, he continues to appear to Simon in dreams, attempting to warn him of the Prophetic Fallacy that is about to befall the heroes.
  • In TimeRiders, Foster is a mentor to the team and is constantly helping them, although he appears less and less until City of Shadows, when he dies, but not before giving Maddy a crucial clue to the Agency's true nature.
  • Bluestar of Warrior Cats is a female version for the first two books, before going into a Heroic BSOD and finally dying. Then she continues giving advice from the afterlife.
  • Kelsier in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn plays this trope completely straight.
  • DCI Nightingale in Rivers of London is an example of The Obi-Wan who doesn't die, although his near fatal shooting serves the same function in forcing inexperienced DC Grant to go it alone and realise his own potential. He gets better by the end of the book, after the Big Bad has been defeated.
  • Henry Sturges, the ethical vampire who teaches Abe his vocation, fills this role in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Unusually, not only does Henry not die, he eventually turns Abe into a fellow-vampire, and the two are fighting evil blood-suckers to this day.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Moirane Damodred Sedai mentors all the Two Rivers youths, Rand in particular, and "dies" protecting him from Lanfear as a result. Predictably, she comes back in a weaker form in Towers of Midnight.
    • Thom Merrilin to Mat Cauthon and Rand Al'Thor. He helps them escape from Trollocs and is the reason they survive "in the real world." He then "sacrifices" himself by battling a Fade, giving them time to escape. He even gives Rand some knowledge about Aes Sedai and channelers later on and gives Mat a great deal of mentoring from the time of the Band onward.
    • Elyas Machera to Perrin Aybara. He even has the "hermit" characteristic, seeing as how he freaking lives and speaks with wolves. He mentors Aybara in coming to terms with being a Wolfbrother and in using his abilities.
    • Tam Al'Thor could also be considered The Obi Wan for Rand Al'Thor (he sure seems to burn through them fast, doesn't he?). He raises him, gets incapacitated after giving Rand his lightsab- oops! I mean, magically conjured sword that is hard enough to cut everything, and was a big-timer in the Grand Army of the Rep- I mean, Illian's Companions during the Clon- I mean, the Aiel War. And he comes back later on to advise both Perrin and Rand.
  • The Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci to Anne Boleyn in Mademoiselle Boleyn.
  • Light And Dark The Awakening Of The Mageknight: Syndil is set up to be this as he is an old and mysterious veteran who takes Danny under his wing. It's actually Calador who fills the role and almost fufills the death aspect.
  • Blackstone, from Wearing the Cape and Villains Inc., was a retired US Marine when he had his breakthrough and became one of the founders of the Sentinels. Ten years later, as the last surviving and active Sentinel of the original five, he is both the spiritual mentor to the newer Sentinels and the team leader.
  • Vatra and Noble provide this role in Of Fear and Faith, mentoring the group and helping them out in certain situations, on top of dragging them all along on their epic journey to begin with. Neither of them have died so far though.
  • Creation Man And The Messiah by Norwegian poet Henrik Wergeland has an exaggerated version: A nameless sage that teaches all of humanity in the essential wisdom of religion, God, trade, politics and social relations.
  • Fraa Orolo to the young Edharians, particularly Fraa Erasmas, in Anathem. They even call him "Pa" sometimes.
  • Rahze el'Dax from Dark Heart plays this role to his apprentice Kail.
  • Haymitch Abernathy from The Hunger Games is a non-lethal example.

    Multiple Media 
  • The Turaga elders from BIONICLE mostly stayed in their villages, but they occasionally guided the Toa on short quests, like Turaga Whenua helping Onua search for his Nuva masks. Turaga Lhikan is the "straightest" example, having spent the entirety of his short time as a Turaga mentoring and traveling with new Toa, and finally Taking the Bullet for Vakama, delivering a last mentor speech with his last words. Then again, he might still be alive at the Respawn Point. During the Toa's mutation into half-beasts, the six Rahaga also take up this role.

  • Saint John the Baptist takes this role in Christianity (and to a lesser extend, Islam). He is an itinerant preacher who baptizes Jesus and is ultimately put to death by the Romans.


    Theme Parks 
  • At EPCOT, Dreamfinder from Journey into Imagination was somewhere between this and the Eccentric Mentor before he was removed from the ride.

    Video Games 
  • Landon Ricketts from Red Dead Redemption is a near perfect example. He's a crotchety old gunslinger living out in the middle of the desert who teaches John Marsten the final level of his Dead Eye ability which borders on jedi powers anyways.
  • Dr. Light to X in the Mega Man X games (amusingly enough, he's got the whole "force ghost" thing happening via hologram messages). Zero acted like this until X became more of an equal, and it came full circle in the Zero series, where X is Zero's Obi-Wan.
  • Auron from Final Fantasy X may qualify, since his dispensing of advice is his whole purpose in the party. He's been there, done that, and now he's back to make sure Tidus and Yuna save the world properly, when Auron and their fathers couldn't. Being the only known survivor of a successful pilgrimage, he certainly counts as experienced, his superior badassery over the hero and others is plain, and he definitely fits the bill of a spirit guide, since he's been dead for ten years already when the story begins.
  • Brenner/O'Brian in Advance Wars Days of Ruin.
  • Peppy from Star Fox, as he is stated to be the oldest one on the team, was a member of the original Star Fox crew with Fox's father and also acts somewhat as a mediator between the more hot-headed Falco and the other teammates.
    • To a lesser extent, Wolf in Star Fox Assault somewhat plays this role. He gave a life-saving advice to Fox which actually snaps Fox out of his troubles in the final mission, and Star Wolf sacrificed themselves to let Star Fox move on. Wolf only does this because he is the only one allowed to defeat Fox.
  • Uther the Lightbringer from Warcraft III, right up until his protégé kills him. Kel'thuzad might also count as Arthas' Obi-Wan in the Undead campaign.
  • Thunder Ryu in No More Heroes plays this role to a tee; given all the game's other Shout Outs to Star Wars, this is most likely completely deliberate.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, while Jolee Bindo seems to fit in terms of character, in terms of the role in the plot Bastilla actually serves this role. She is the one who shows the Player Character that they are a Jedi and serves as his/her mentor throughout the game, despite probably being younger. This is justified by both her raw power in the Force as well as the fact that she was bonded in the Force with the protagonist. Though she fails to stay in charge, it is for a reason as she was never meant to be in charge. Her purpose was not to act as a mentor but to utilize the protagonist's visions to find the mysterious Star Forge, as he turns out to be the amnesiac former Sith Lord Darth Revan.
    • Jolee Bindo does however serve as something of the Yoda role as a wise and seasoned former Jedi (and a hermit, to boot) who left the order because he found its refusal to acknowledge love's influence in a Jedi's life. It's never made clear just how much of Jolee's Grumpy Old Man routine is really an act, but he is shown to be the wisest follower you meet. He even figures out, on his own, that the protagonist is actually Darth Revan. He just doesn't think it's his right to say it.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II puts your character, a Jedi exile severed from the Force and rediscovering his/her power, in the hands of Kreia, a mysterious Force-user who's apparently neither Jedi nor Sith. She's a considerable subversion of the trope however: although she genuinely grows to love you, she also lies to you constantly, manipulating you (and everybody else) to achieve her Machiavellian purposes. Eventually, she reveals herself as the Big Bad, forcing you to take her down yourself.
    • The player character him/herself can actually be this as well. There are a handful of party members whom the Exile can train in the ways of the Force. It's most noticeable with Handmaiden, since Atris herself will call Handmaiden out on jumping ship from Atris's mentorship to the Exile's, and in cut content where Handmaiden has to fight her fellow sisters, she remembers the lessons she learned from sparring with the Exile in order to win.
  • Bogard from Final Fantasy Adventure.
  • Jema from Secret of Mana.
  • When one thinks Mentors from Pokémon, the Profs spring to mind. But a better example is Cynthia, the Champion from the Sinnoh games. Aside from acting as a local Deus ex Machina, she seems to have to taken a shine to you, and supplies you with hints and helpful MacGuffins and Plot Coupons. In Platinum, this becomes very pronounced when you go into the Distortion World with her. Unlike the darker examples of this trope, where the Hero kills The Obi-Wan, when you defeat her at the end of the game, she says she's proud of you. This is Pokemon, after all.
  • Duncan in Dragon Age acts as Alistair's Obi-Wan; having been his Senior in the Grey Wardens and a surrogate father figure for months by the time you meet him in your Origin Story. Duncan's involvement with the player character is too limited for him to count as his/her Obi-Wan too, though he does save your ass in each of the Origin Stories. He has an Obi-Wan Moment in the disastrous Battle of Ostagar, however, they Never Found the Body.
    • According to the toolset, it at least tries to make Duncan seem like a mentor figure to the player, as that's his character description.
    • In Dragon Age II, despite having been deceased for several years prior the start of the game, Malcolm Hawke is frequently referred to as being this to a Mage!Hawke and Bethany. Despite giving up his magic when he married Leandra, when he discovered that his children possessed his gifts, he immediately set about teaching them to hone their abilities and how to blend in, so they could keep their magic a secret from the Templars, in addition to teaching them how to use their magic responsibly.
      • The Legacy DLC shows that 20 years ago, he was such a badass, even the Grey Wardens came seeking his help.
    • Keeper Marethari serves as this to Merrill, having trained her to eventually succeed her in leading their Dalish Clan. Even though Merrill enters a self-imposed exile, Marethari still offers her advice to her and relies on Hawke to curb her growing obsession with the Eluvian.
    • A villainous example occurs with Flemeth serving as this to Hawke. The game begins with her rescuing Hawke and company from the Darkspawn, offering to lead their family safely through the horde in exchange for a favour. It's later revealed that she kept a fragment of her soul in the locket she gave Hawke, having prepared for her possible death at the hands of the Warden in the first game. Once resurrected, she thanks Hawke and stops to offer them some cryptic advice, before turning into a Dragon and flying away.
  • Master Eraqus, from Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep. Amusingly, his English voice actor is Mark Hamill.
    • Just to further drive the Star Wars Mark Hamill irony home, Master Eraqus is struck down by a former pupil who, thanks to an Evil Mentor, has embraced The Dark Side - though it's the evil mentor himself who strikes the killing blow, revealing his true colors to the pupil.
  • Kamorage of Vanguard Bandits is this. Being older, and more skilled than the rest of your party. He also happens to be the main character's father. Or not.
  • Aku-Aku in the Crash Bandicoot series.
  • Mumbo Jumbo and Bottles the Mole from the Banjo-Kazooie series.
  • The Teensie king from the Rayman series.
  • Anderson in Mass Effect. He is revealed to have been considered for the post of first Human Spectre, but Saren sabotaged the mission that was meant to decide this. It took 20 years until Anderson's protege, Shepard, eventually rose to become humanity's first Spectre. He dies, eventually, but it takes him until the very end of the third game.
  • Falagar (the Warlock) serves this role in Might and Magic VI... from the intro and up to just before the game actually starts (there is a gap of a few years there). He doesn't die, but sticks to New Sorpigal and advice-giving after training the player characters.
  • Mercury in Mirrors Edge.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, Ishizu informs you of the plot and gives advice, but is put in danger several times.
  • Nia Lochlain from Infinite Space.
  • The Old Master you play as in the Kung Fu chapter of Live A Live is an unusual case of this as the viewpoint character for most of the chapter. He's nevertheless driven to train his successor by awareness of his own mortality, and performs a Heroic Sacrifice just as his successor reaches full potential.

    Visual Novels 
  • Mia Fey from Ace Attorney is a rare female example. She dies in the second case of the first game, only to return as a spirit, channeled by either Maya or Pearl, who gives advice in later chapters and installments.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Becca Stone, in the Whateley Universe, is summoned by the Tao to come to Whateley Academy and teach Bladedancer how to become one with the Tao. Becca doesn't fight, though: she's way over a hundred and was trained as a nurse back when she was a normal human.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman Beyond: In the future, Batman, the ultimate badass (and still an elder badass if forced by circumstances), became an Obi-Wan to a new younger Batman, giving advice by radio.
  • Master Splinter, of the various Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles incarnations, is very much The Obi-Wan (though he nearly always survives the experience).
  • Grandpa Max, in Ben 10, was a Man in Black when he was younger, and retired to have some peace and quiet, spend time with his grandkids... Once the Imported Alien Phlebotinum the show revolves around latches onto his grandson's wrist, Max's experience is invaluable (especially since the sender intended it to go to Max in the first place). Alien Force has Max go to The Obi-Wan's inevitable fate.
    • He got better.
  • Jaga from ThunderCats (1985).
  • Mosey is this to Shep, Angora and Teeny in Horseland.
  • Cathy's Grandpa from Monster Buster Club.
  • Tux Dog from The Problem Solverz.
  • The Airbending monk, Gyatso, from Avatar The Last Airbender. Like a true Obi-Wan, he is a kind mentor to protagonist Aang, then eventually dies. When Aang discovers his death 100 years later, it sends him into Heroic BSOD mode and awakens the Avatar State.
    • Uncle Iroh also counts. He is a mentor to Prince Zuko and not only helps to protect him, but also helps him in his destiny to side with Aang to stop the Fire Nation's conquests. Interestingly, he is also the Obi-Wan to Zuko's Anakin Skywalker.
  • Ezio Auditore is this to Shao Jun is Assassin's Creed: Embers.
  • Princess Celestia from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Located and taught protagonist Twilight Sparkle toward her coronation. an probably feel safe from the mortality, as she appears to be immortal.

This is not the trope we're looking for...

Alternative Title(s):

Obi Wan