The Star Wars prequels weren’t well received. It’s not a secret. We don’t need to cover it again, but the early 2000s Star Wars films are responsible for some of the most memorable and lasting memes. Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious’s “Do it”; the tragedy of Darth Plageius, the Wise; Anakin’s hatred of sand.
Among the seemingly endless content these movies produce, one prequel stands out. Obi-Wan Kenobi spoke these two words: “Hello there.” “
Let’s say there is one thing that Episodes I, II and III have that everyone has only good things to say. Obi-Wan is the character in this case. Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of the Jedi knight and steadfast Jedi is still a highlight of the franchise. McGregor and “Hello there”, during the prequel-related content revival we are in, made it the perfect time to return to Obi-Wan Kenobi’s miniseries.
This is a celebration of all things Obi-Wan, which must include his most famous line.
We must go back to Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope to fully understand the phrase’s history. The men’s version is Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan. However, these words are much older than the prequel trilogy. Alec Guinness’ Obi-Wan Kenobi is the first to say “Hello there.” “
Fans now have more information about Obi-Wan, his time on Tatooine, and his connections to Leia & Luke, thanks to Kenobi. Even without the backstory, these words indicated a character who was a friend, not a foe.
Vengeance of the Sith is the most useful take on this line. McGregor’s Kenobi utters “Hello there” in the movie’s final minutes to General Grievous, just as the Clone Wars are coming to an end.
It’s a classic scene: Obi-Wan drops on Grievous’ platform and says the line. He eagerly smiles as Grievous pulls out his lightsabers. Importantly, the Republic also knows that the Separatist general continues to operate out of this base even though the war is over. Obi-Wan only needs to end Grievous’ operations, and the Clone Wars (mostly) will be over. No one is aware that this is part of the soon-to-be Emperor Palpatine’s plan and that worse things are looming (like the fall of the Republic in its entirety). Now, Kenobi is ready for one final fight against this half-alien, part-robot.
Obi-Wan’s greetings to his enemy last longer than the scene itself. There is no explanation for why “Hello there!” is so popular, as with many one-liners that have become cultural icons. It could be because the moment is so easy to parody. From Obi-Wan’s dramatic entrance in this scene to Grievous’ menacing response about “General Kenobi,” it’s a hilariously dramatic moment that’s fitting of memedom.
“Hello there”, which was first performed in Revenge of the Sith in 2005, has had an extraordinary life. YouTube users have made remixes of the line with names such as “OBI-WAN SAYS HEELO WHILE I PLAY UNFITTING MUSICAL” and “Hello There” (The Democracy On the High Ground Song). A video that remixes the three instances Obi-Wan says “Hello there” is even available. It’s an hour-long and includes the first two times in A New Hope, Revenge of the Sith and the last one in the conclusion of Kenobi. There’s even merch inspired by it, such as shirts bearing the phrase.
TikTok is a great place to check out the popularity of memes. That app also has “Hello there”, which has been a popular choice. People can use a few versions of this line to create the scene or put funny spins on it. Depending on the version of the sound used, the cumulative views of videos featuring these “Hello there” sounds can range from 32.2 million to 374.8 Million views. This large number represents both the videos and the views they receive. The hashtag for this trend alone–#obiwanhellothere–has 3.4 million views.
McGregor is aware of the meme. Interviewers asked questions about Obi-Wan Kenobi’s press tour. They used the phrase to greet him, even during his appearances on E! News and Good Morning America. He was very conscious of the pop-cultural importance.
Reddit is still a great place to find attention. Some top posts have been meme-ing or invoking “Hello there” and getting thousands of comments and likes. Reddit’s take on “Hello there” includes edits, remixes, and inserting the phrase into different situations. Star Wars fandom can sometimes be toxic, but “Hello there” proves one thing that isn’t too strife-inducing.
The Instagram post of Emma Roberts, actress from December 13, 2018, is probably the most impressive example of how far this little phrase has traveled. The actress captioned a photo of Roberts wearing a bejeweled dress with the seemingly innocent phrase “Hello there.” Although it seems unlikely that the actress was referring to Obi-Wan Kenobi’s name, her followers quickly flooded the comments with Star Wars fans responding in the same way as General Grievous did in Revenge of the Sith: “General Kenobi.” Roberts did not remove the comment or limit it. Yes, Grievous’ post is still being commented on by people.