Warning: full spoilers for the Obi Wan Kenobi upcoming season finale!
With the Obi-Wan Kenobi season finale offering a rematch for the ages between Old Ben and his deceased former apprentice Darth Vader, Star Wars fans were treated to an iconic moment from the Rebels animated series brought to life. . So we’re going to explain how they did it and how it enriches three different eras of Star Wars.
We’ve already seen Darth Vader’s helmet sliced open
The finale sees Obi-Wan Kenobi taking Darth Vader away so the refugees of the Path can escape, and he meets him on the surface of a rocky planet for a good old-fashioned lightsaber duel. As the fight reaches its climax, Obi-Wan is able to gain the advantage and deliver a strike to Vader’s helmet on the left side, exposing the scarred and corrupted man below. This isn’t the first time Star Wars fans have seen this particularly impressive visual. In the Rebels Season 2 finale, “Twilight of the Apprentice”, which takes place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Ahsoka Tano battled her former master and cut the right side of her mask as well. Both cases have direct parallels.
Upon seeing the man inside the helmet, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka call out Anakin’s name, shocked to see their former friend’s face and how corrupt he has become.
Obi-Wan and Ahsoka are appalled at what they see, and making eye contact with Anakin — a direct human connection — causes them to let their guard down and remember what he meant to them. Both trained with him in the Jedi Order, fought side by side as heroes, and loved him like family. And despite all the harm they know Vader has done, this intimate human bond granted by the broken helmet allows them both to express a desire for reconciliation.
But, Vader will Vader, and he makes it clear to his former allies that their old friend Anakin Skywalker is dead, and eliminating that part of himself was a decision he made.
They’re cruel responses to Obi-Wan and Ahsoka’s sincere attempts to reach for the Anakin they once knew, but in a way, it absolves them of any further guilt. They did what they could to help Anakin, but he ultimately chose to refuse them. Vader makes it clear that he no longer appreciates their love, and in fact relishes this hate-fueled Sith abomination he’s become. And to that end, in another direct parallel, he makes the same promise to them both when they say they’ll try to stop him: “Then you’re going to die!”
A goal for the parallel
Yes, these two scenes are incredibly similar. Maybe too similar? But then again, Star Wars is full of parallels and callbacks, so this sort of thing is par for the course for the franchise. Plus, the Ahsoka/Vader scene is one of the greatest moments in Star Wars history, so we can’t blame Lucasfilm for wanting to recreate it in live-action for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
That said, there may be a good reason to repeat that same moment with two characters. Showing Vader twice refusing help from his former friends underscores how far he’s come – how utterly consumed by the Emperor’s evil he’s become. Which, in retrospect, makes his ultimate redemption in Return of the Jedi all the more poignant. It might just be a coincidence, but we chose to see a strong symbolic message in how Ahsoka could only break the right side of Vader’s helmet, and Obi-Wan only the left side, but it took the love of Vader’s son, Luke, to pull it off completely. and finally bring his father back to the side of the light.
For more on Obi-Wan Kenobi, check out our Obi-Wan Kenobi review season finale and why the Obi-Wan Kenobi series may have created more problems than it solved.
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