Star Wars: Why Obi-Wan Didn't Kill Darth Vader Explained

The final episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi was released on Disney+ today, and the show was filled with exciting twists and turns despite the fact that nearly every main character was guaranteed to survive considering they show up again in Star Wars: A New Hope. The only lead whose fate was uncertain throughout the show's six episodes was Reva (Moses Ingram) whose arc has been a fan favorite. Since Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) couldn't be killed off in the series, many wondered how their final showdown would come across. Thankfully, it all came together very well, but if you're still confused about why Obi-Wan would let Vader live in the context of the story, we've got you covered. Warning: Obi-Wan Kenobi "Part VI" spoilers ahead... 

Vader and Obi-Wan have an epic saber battle throughout the episode, but Obi-Wan comes out on top when he strikes a tough blow to Vader's helmet. Obi-Wan tearfully says, "I'm sorry, Anakin. For all of it," and Vader replies, "I am not your failure, Obi-Wan. You didn't kill Anakin Skywalker. I did." Vader then threatens Obi-Wan further, but the Jedi finally realizes his friend is truly gone and walks away. Despite the fact that Obi-Wan has accepted Anakin is gone, killing is not the Jedi way. If you think back to Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin kills Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) at the behest of Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), but not before aruging that he should get a trial. Later, Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) attempts to kill Palpatine, and Anakin uses the same argument, but Mace tries to kill the Sith Lord anyway, and that's when things take a turn for the worse for all of the Jedi.

Obi-Wan chooses mercy with Vader as a means to bring peace to himself. He already thought he killed Anakin once after their battle on Mustafar, and the next ten years were pretty bleak for the Jedi. In fact, it wasn't until he let Vader go that he finally saw the Force ghost of his old master, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), who says, "I was always here Obi-Wan. You were just not ready to see it." 

Walking away from Vader also mirrors the story of Reva, who seeks out young Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely) in the episode with the hopes of getting revenge on Vader for killing her youngling friends at the Jedi Temple all of those years ago. She ends up sparing Luke and returns him to his family. A tearful Reva is full of regret and worries she has turned into Vader, but Obi-Wan assures her that her choice to save Luke sets her apart from the Sith. The same goes for his choice to walk away from Vader. Of course, his mercy ultimately allows the larger fate of Vader's redemption and the Rebellion's victory to unfold in the original trilogy.

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