The Force Is So Not With ‘Obiwan Kenobi’ Right Now

A California man charged in a hit-and-run is learning that the price of fandom can be Internet infamy.

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Roseville Police via The Smoking Gun
Roseville Police via The Smoking Gun

Obiwan Kenobi

If you’re harboring any late night delusions of legally changing your name to Boba Fett because it would “sound awesome” please, think again.

There is the downside to having your driver’s license read like the name of a famous Star Wars character: any time you do something remotely newsworthy, it won’t just be your local paper honing its best pun for your predicament. The entire Internet will now notice– as one Californian man who named himself after a legendary Jedi master is learning.

Earlier this week, Obiwan Kenobi, 37, of Roseville, Calif., was arrested for his alleged role in a five car collision in March, the Roseville Press Tribune reported. (Note the lack of a customary dash between “Obi” and “Wan”.) While the hit-and-run allegations are the actual important part of that story, the question that bored Star Wars fans who’ve stumbled across the news will be asking is: who is this guy?

The Press Tribune links to a story from the Lincoln News Messenger, which profiled Kenobi in 2008 (and, yes, you can see his driver’s license here too). First off, it appears that, like his namesake, he too was once called ‘Ben’ — Benjamin Feit, to be exact. According to the News Messenger, it was a bout of Phantom Menace mania in 1999 that kick-started his transformation. (Of course it was. In NewsFeed’s opinion, decisions influenced by Episode I will always end in tears.)

“KWOD 106.5 had a contest back in April of ’99 when ‘(Star Wars) Episode I’ came out in theaters as a promotion. The first person to come in with a legal document with the name Obiwan Kenobi on it would get $1,000,” Kenobi said.

…The contest required Kenobi to keep the name for 30 days and he decided to hold on to the name for a while longer, unaware of the changing identity laws looming on the horizon. In January of 2000, had he wanted to change his name back, it would have cost Kenobi $500 and he would have needed to plead his case with a judge.

So, rather than fork over the $500 he decided to let the Force continue to be with him. We could insert any number of Star Wars quotes about this maybe not being the time to “trust your instincts” right here.

(More: This Is How Much the Death Star Would Cost to Build)

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