This Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi article contains spoilers.
There was always only one way Obi-Wan Kenobi could end: with the Jedi Master riding off into the sunset with his plot armor, Darth Vader defeated, and Luke and Leia back home safe. We know what comes next, too. In nine years, two droids will crash land on Tatooine with a message from Leia that will set both Luke and Obi-Wan on an adventure that will change their lives forever. But as Obi-Wan Kenobi has already shown, many more things could happen to these characters before then. There are probably other untold stories waiting to be spun.
For now, let’s break down what happened in the final scenes of the Obi-Wan Kenobi finale, the meaning behind each character’s ending, and how it all sets up the future of A New Hope…
Why did Obi-Wan spare Darth Vader’s life?
Well, on the surface, there’s a very simply explanation for why Obi-Wan didn’t finish Vader off in the finale: the Sith Lord isn’t meant to die until Return of the Jedi. Since that film isn’t set until more than a decade after the events of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the plot armor is very strong with Vader until then.
But from a story perspective, it all goes back to the episode 5 flashback when Obi-Wan was trying to teach his young padawan that a Jedi’s duty is to preserve life and that winning isn’t always as important as showing mercy. As you’ll see in a few years, the ability to forgive and show mercy is what will ultimately allow Luke Skywalker to defeat the Emperor and save his father.
We see here Obi-Wan practicing what he preaches, even as the ultimate evil is on his knees, waiting for the Jedi Master to finish him off. Obi-Wan doesn’t give in and instead spares his former apprentice’s life, while coming to terms with the fact that he can’t save Anakin.
Why didn’t Reva kill Luke Skywalker and what’s next for her?
For many of the same continuity reasons Darth Vader couldn’t die in this series: Luke still has a lot to do in the decades to come. Reva didn’t stand a chance against the plot armor protecting the future hero of the Rebellion and the last of the Jedi. But there’s a deeper meaning, too. By sparing Luke’s life, Reva makes a huge decision about her future. She refuses to become the monster she’s spent most of her life trying to take down. Were she to strike down a defenseless child, Reva would be no better than the Sith Lord who killed her fellow younglings during Order 66.
By the end of the episode, Reva begins to realize that her thirst for revenge almost led her down a path from which she would never return. The former Jedi chooses to let her anger with Anakin and Obi-Wan go, seemingly tossing it aside in the desert along with her lightsaber. Obi-Wan encourages Reva to find a new path and not let the survivor’s guilt she’s felt for most of her life control her.
But where will Reva go next? Abandoning her weapon on Tatooine suggests that Reva is leaving the endless conflict between the light and dark sides of the Force behind. She’s clearly done with the Empire but likely has no interest in revisiting the trauma of becoming a Jedi Knight, either. Like many Legends characters before her, she could choose to leave her connection to the Force behind entirely in order to start fresh. What will she do without the Force or a lightsaber? Well, that’s a story just waiting to be told in a spinoff series!
What’s next for Princess Leia and the Organas on Alderaan?
Princess Leia, and her parents Bail and Breha Organa, get a very happy ending on Obi-Wan Kenobi. Finally reunited on Alderaan, the Organa family bids farewell to Obi-Wan, hopeful for better days to come. Obi-Wan tells Bail that he knows where to find the Jedi if he ever needs his help again, but the Senator replies that he hopes that day will never come.
While a sweet moment on the surface, we know that this scene is also foreshadowing the tragedies to come in a decade’s time, namely the deaths of Bail and Breha, along with every other living thing on Alderaan. You see, as Obi-Wan zips off into space, we know that in just nine years the planet will be completely destroyed by the Death Star. In fact, this farewell scene may be the final time you see the planet’s surface on screen…
But some good things happen before then. As we learn in Rogue One, Rebels, and other stories set closer to A New Hope, Bail and Leia will be instrumental in creating the Rebel Alliance to fight back against the tyranny of the Empire. It’s through their tireless work and sacrifices that the galaxy is eventually able to take a stand and bring down the Emperor’s cruel war machine.
How does the Darth Vader and Palpatine scene set up A New Hope?
Darth Vader is absolutely livid in his final Obi-Wan Kenobi scene. He’s been defeated by his old master once again and has no choice but to go back to Mustafar and take a dip in his bacta tank. But the hunt is far from over in Vader’s mind. As soon as his suit’s all patched up…
Unfortunately, the Emperor has other plans. Despite Vader’s wish to send out every Imperial probe droid he has to find Obi-Wan wherever he is hiding, his master basically commands him to get over it.
“You seem agitated, my friend. I wonder if your thoughts are clear on this, Lord Vader,” the Emperor says to his foolish apprentice. “Perhaps your feelings for your old master have left you weakened. If your past cannot be overcome…”
In other words: “Move on, dude.” And Vader has no choice but to bow to his master’s orders and focus on whatever evil Sith business Palpatine has planned next. (Probably something Death Star related?) This scene explains why Vader didn’t spend the next nine years leading up to A New Hope searching for Obi-Wan. The Emperor told him no.
Allowing the Jedi Master to disappear again also explains why Grand Moff Tarkin was sure Obi-Wan must be dead by the time of the Original Trilogy. He hadn’t been seen by the Empire in years.
What does Obi-Wan’s reunion with Qui-Gon mean for the Original Trilogy?
We always knew it would happen, we just didn’t know when. After all, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon’s reunion on Tatooine was set up all the way back in 2005 when Yoda revealed in Revenge of the Sith that he had some new training for the Jedi that would teach him how to communicate with his master’s Force ghost. We see in the first episode of the series that the training isn’t going so well, though. Obi-Wan calls out to Qui-Gon and receives no response for the first five episodes.
But as a returning Liam Neeson says in the finale, “I was always here, Obi-Wan, you just were not ready to see.” By the end of the series, Obi-Wan’s faith in the Force has been fully restored, allowing him to finally speak to his master once again. It’s Qui-Gon who will show his apprentice how to become one with the Force, so that when Vader strikes him down in A New Hope, Obi-Wan will become stronger than the Sith Lord could possibly imagine. And as a Force ghost, Obi-Wan will continue to guide the next generation of heroes. A very happy ending, from a certain point of view.
All episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi are streaming now on Disney+.