One of the original Star Wars trilogy’s biggest mysteries was whether Obi-Wan Kenobi died at the hands of Darth Vader when they dueled for the final time. That’s because Obi-Wan’s body actually disappeared before Vader’s blade made contact with him. Of course, the consensus is that Darth Vader did indeed kill Kenobi right then and there. But why wasn’t there a body when Obi-Wan Kenobi died?
Obi-Wan Kenobi’s body disappeared before Darth Vader’s strike could kill him because he had already accepted his fate after realizing that the galaxy had hope in the form of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. And his body vanished because he had become one with the Force after training under Qui-Gon Jinn’s spirit.
It was difficult for many fans of the original trilogy to understand why the Jedi of the sequel trilogy didn’t disappear like Obi-Wan did when he died. But this concept was explained in passing during the events of ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars,’ ‘Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,’ and ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi.’ Now, let’s talk more about why there wasn’t a body when Vader killed Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Why was there no body when Obi-Wan died?
Introduced in ‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’ as an old mentor that taught Luke Skywalker the fundamentals of what it meant to be a Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi was a wise and patient man that was willing enough to rescue Leia Organa from the clutches of the evil Darth Vader, who he was very familiar with.
Of course, not many people understood the relationship between the two characters back then because it was only later that it was revealed that Darth Vader used to be Obi-Wan Kenobi’s apprentice named, Anakin Skywalker.
As such, that duel between Kenobi and Vader was a fated one that had decades of history behind it. And we all know that Obi-Wan was the one that defeated Vader and gave him his fatal injuries back when they first fought to the death in the events of ‘Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.’
Vader wanted to duel Kenobi in ‘A New Hope’ because he wanted to end their relationship once and for all. As such, his goal was to kill Obi-Wan in that fight. But Kenobi proved to be skilled enough to match Vader’s own power even though he was already old.
As soon as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo could rescue Leia, Obi-Wan was already happy enough to let go and allow the younger people to leave in the Millennium Falcon without giving them a reason to go back and save him. Kenobi let his guard down as Darth Vader was about to strike him down with his lightsaber.
But before the lightsaber even made contact with Kenobi, his body disappeared. Obi-Wan’s clothes fell on the ground, leaving Darth Vader confused and speechless about what he just saw. Of course, Kenobi’s sacrifice allowed Luke and the others to escape from Darth Vader, who was still perplexed.
This, however, was never really explained during the original trilogy, as Yoda also died similarly. That is why people were wondering why Qui-Gon Jinn and the other Jedi that died in the prequel movies didn’t disappear. And there’s a really good explanation for why Obi-Wan’s body disappeared.
We have to go back to Qui-Gon Jinn’s adherence to the power of the Living Force, which was the essence of the Force that lived within all forms of life in the galaxy. Qui-Gon’s bond with the Living Force allowed him to learn more about it even after he died. As such, in ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars’ season 6, we saw Yoda going on a spiritual journey guided by Qui-Gon’s spirit to learn more about the Living Force.
After the rise of the Empire, Yoda told Obi-Wan all about how Qui-Gon contacted him from the dead. People assumed that Yoda taught Obi-Wan the things that Qui-Gon taught him. However, in the ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series, Obi-Wan struggles with his connection with the Force because he blames himself for Anakin’s downfall and “death.”
But after finding his inner peace and harmony, he finally saw Qui-Gon Jinn’s Force Ghost as they journeyed together in what seemed like the master training his former apprentice all over again.
Going back to what happened to Kenobi’s body when he died, his body disappeared before Vader’s blade made contact because he was ready to die at that moment. Essentially, as soon as he dropped his guard to allow Vader to kill him, the Force took him away as he was already going to die regardless of what would happen next.
Of course, Darth Vader killed Obi-Wan Kenobi because his lightsaber would have made contact with his old master’s body if it didn’t disappear. Kenobi, in his mind and heart, was ready for his old apprentice to kill him, and that’s why Darth Vader actually killed him regardless of what happened to his body.
Where did Obi-Wan’s body go when Vader killed him?
A good part of the training that Yoda received when he communicated with Qui-Gon’s Force Ghost was becoming one with the Force. Of course, Obi-Wan also received the same training in the gap between the ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ events and ‘A New Hope.’ As such, their connection with the Force grew stronger because they could harmonize their mind and body with the Living Force.
So, when Obi-Wan Kenobi’s body disappeared, the Force took it away because it was the Force’s way of telling him that his mind, heart, and body had all become one with the Force. This is one of the reasons why he was able to turn into a Force Ghost after death.
The moment that Kenobi accepted his death, the Force saw this as his way of telling it that he was ready to become one with it. As such, his body disappeared and became one with the Force even before Darth Vader’s saber was able to strike him down.
This was the same thing that happened to Yoda when he died of old age in Dagobah. The Force took his body together with his soul to be one. That was the reason why Yoda was still able to commune with Luke Skywalker during the events of the sequel trilogy movies. He had become one with the Force in the same way that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn did.
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