Here’s Why Obi-Wan Never Killed Darth Vader

obi wan and vader

The relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker was always tragic because it detailed how two friends as close as brothers ultimately became bitter enemies. Of course, Obi-Wan was the only one to ever defeat the fallen Anakin Skywalker multiple times after he turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader. But why didn’t Obi-Wan ever kill Darth Vader?

Obi-Wan didn’t kill Anakin in their first battle because he thought there was no way Anakin would have survived getting burned alive by the fires of Mustafar. Then, in their second battle, Obi-Wan didn’t kill Darth Vader because he understood that nothing would have changed if he had killed him.

The thing about Obi-Wan is that he has always been a true Jedi in every sense of the word because he never tried to resort to killing people as long as he had a different way of resolving things. In that regard, killing Anakin was against his beliefs, as he saw him as a brother. He didn’t even kill Vader because he didn’t have a reason to do so. So, with that said, let’s look at the reasons why Obi-Wan didn’t kill Darth Vader.

Obi-Wan thought that Anakin had died

Back in the events of ‘Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,’ we saw how Anakin succumbed to his emotions and attachments as he went down the dark side of the Force and contributed to the destruction of the Jedi Order. Obi-Wan Kenobi confronted him on Mustafar to prevent his former apprentice from doing more damage.

That was when the fated duel between the master and his former apprentice happened.

Of course, Obi-Wan used Anakin’s hubris against him to defeat him. He cut off his limbs in a single attack and left him for dead when Anakin got burned by the fires of the volcanic planet of Mustafar.

Obi-Wan saw how Anakin was suffering from the fires that should have killed any other person. He left Mustafar without knowing that Emperor Palpatine went there to save Darth Vader from death. Palpatine saved and preserved Vader’s life by giving him new prosthetic limbs and by making him wear a life-support suit that kept him from dying.

However, Obi-Wan never knew that the Emperor had rescued Anakin. This was confirmed during the ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series when Kenobi was suffering from the regret of killing Anakin ten years ago. 

anakin vs obi wan

Of course, Obi-Wan didn’t finish Anakin off ten years ago on Mustafar because he didn’t want to be the one to strike the killing blow on a man that he loved like a brother. Instead, he simply allowed the flames to kill Anakin without knowing that Darth Vader used his rage to keep himself alive in the same way that Darth Maul could survive getting bisected by holding on to his anger.


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So, when Obi-Wan learned from Reva Sevander that Anakin survived the events on Mustafar, he was legitimately shocked because he thought he was responsible for Vader’s death ten years ago. As such, it was clear that he thought that the fires would have been enough to kill his former apprentice.

There was no point in killing Darth Vader

Throughout the entire ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series, Obi-Wan is a defeated old man that had lost his connection to the Force. He could still use the Force, but his connection to it became weak because he lost his conviction after spending ten years hating himself for failing to keep Anakin away from the dark side.

He spent the entire series trying to run away from Darth Vader and the Inquisitors while trying to bring Leia Organa home and helping out the Hidden Path in smuggling Force-sensitive people away from the Empire.

Eventually, Kenobi had to face Vader in a real fight because he understood how high the stakes were. He didn’t want Vader to find the Hidden Path. As such, he fought Vader again in what was a proper rematch of their fight ten years ago in Mustafar.

Obi-Wan eventually understood what it meant to have attachments and how important it was for him to use them as his inspiration to become a better person. He used his desire to protect Luke and Leia as his power source and inspiration to re-establish his true connection with the Force. Kenobi eventually defeated Vader once more but opted to spare his life.

In that duel, Darth Vader told Obi-Wan that Anakin was already gone and that he killed him. That is why Kenobi told Luke in ‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’ that Darth Vader killed Anakin Skywalker. At that moment, Obi-Wan eventually accepted that he had no reason to kill Darth Vader.

Nothing would have happened if Obi-Wan had killed Vader right then and there. Killing Vader won’t change the fact that Anakin was already gone, and the Empire was still very much in power. Darth Vader’s death wouldn’t affect the Empire’s control over the galaxy because Emperor Palpatine wouldn’t even be too bothered by the death of his lackey.


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In a sense, Kenobi knew in his heart that there was no use killing someone whose death wouldn’t even change the course of history. Of course, Vader wouldn’t have killed more people had Kenobi killed him in their rematch. But the fact that the Empire was still very much in power wouldn’t have changed. And his goal was to keep Luke and Leia safe instead of killing Darth Vader.

Is Obi-Wan at fault for Darth Vader?

As mentioned, Obi-Wan Kenobi spent ten years blaming himself for Anakin’s downfall. He thought that he was the one who led Anakin down the path of the dark side or, at the very least, failed to prevent him from turning to the dark side. That was one of the reasons why Obi-Wan’s connection to the Force weakened as he loathed himself for what he perceived to be failures.

However, in his rematch with Darth Vader, Obi-Wan realized he wasn’t at fault for Anakin’s downfall. Vader told him that Obi-Wan wasn’t responsible for killing Anakin because Vader admitted that he was the one that killed his former self.

This was similar to what Darth Vader told Ahsoka in their battle on Malachor V, as he told his former Padawan that he killed Anakin because he was weak.

vader broken mask

That was when Kenobi understood that no one was at fault for Anakin’s downfall. He realized that Anakin chose his own path despite knowing what he had in store for him in the future.

Anakin was his own man when he chose to succumb to the dark side of the Force. That was what Darth Vader meant when he said he killed Anakin, as he shed his former self to become this dark monster that terrorized people.

So, when Obi-Wan realized this, he had a moment of catharsis. This was the first time in ten years that he didn’t blame himself for his failures because he realized that he didn’t fail Anakin. Instead, Anakin failed himself when he chose to become Darth Vader.

And that was why Obi-Wan, despite living a boring and rural life on Tatooine in the middle of the reign of the Empire, could afford to smile after spending ten years of self-loathing.

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