The show called Obi-Wan and Vader’s duel in the finale the “Rematch of the Century,” and a lot of fans agree. It captured Obi-Wan’s journey of growth from an emotionally broken war general in Ep 1 to standing up to one of the galaxy’s most formidable threats, who is also the ghost of a former friend.
See, we all know that Obi-Wan would not kill Vader because the dark lord has another fate sealed for him in The Last Jedi. But the question is, why didn’t he?
In the Obi-Wan Kenobi finale, Obi-Wan doesn’t kill Darth Vader because it is not the Jedi way, nor is the right thing to do. It is possible that he still believes there is a chance that Vader can find redemption.
It isn’t like Obi-Wan hasn’t killed before or that Vader’s actions/ambitions don’t warrant a death sentence, or life imprisonment at the very least.
But we have to remember that Jedi were not permitted to kill, unless they were in a life-or-death situation. So, one clear reason why Obi-Wan didn’t kill Vader is because he didn’t think the situation called for it.
Obi-Wan Believes Vader Can Be Redeemed
Now let’s go back a few years: Most Jedi were reluctantly turned into war generals during the fall of the Empire and the Clone Wars. They had to break many of their own Jedi rules for the sake of the preservation of the whole galaxy.
That kind of violence is enough to throw anyone off their heads, especially Obi-Wan who will soon discover that his own former Padawan will become an insidious Sith Lord.
Even back in Revenge of the Sith, I don’t think Obi-Wan’s initial solution was to kill Anakin. But as Anakin flew blindly with rage, to the extent of killing his own wife, Obi-Wan ended up severing his limbs and leaving him for dead.
The TV series clearly portrays that the Jedi is mentally unsound after this fight. The guilt of killing Anakin has severed his connection with the Force and made him weak and scared.
In the finale, upon confronting a Vader who boasts about killing Anakin, Obi-Wan says, “Then my friend is truly dead.” But I still don’t think he fully believes that.
Did Obi-Wan have some sort of foresight for Vader’s redemption? Or was he simply following the core principals of being a Jedi? You have to remember that even in the original trilogy, Obi-Wan and Yoda don’t instruct Luke to go kill Vader.
They just prepare him for the fact that he may have to defend himself (or worse, kill Vader) because Vader may try to kill Luke and not show him mercy for simply being his son. (They were, of course, going off based on the experience of what happened to Padmé).
There are many ways to read Obi-Wan’s decision in the finale. I’d like to think that just like Padmé, he too believed that there was still some good left in Anakin.
Plus, I’m sure walking away from it and leaving Vader alive, is one of the things that contributed to Obi-Wan finding inner peace. Fortunately enough, it is this very mercy that will help Vader find his redemption.
About Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan Kenobi is a Star Wars spinoff series directed by Deborah Chow for Disney+. It premiered on May 27, 2022 on Disney+.
The main cast includes Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen, who will be reprising their roles for Obi-Wan and Vader, respectively. Additionally joining them are Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Joel Edgerton, Bonni Piesse, and Rupert Friend among many others.
The show follows Obi-Wan Kenobi ten years after the events of Revenge of the Sith where he faced his greatest defeat, the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker turned evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.