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CT Why did Obi-Wan allow himself to be killed?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by sith_rhino, Jun 24, 2020.

  1. gezvader28

    gezvader28 Chosen One star 6

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    Mar 22, 2003
    He knew he only had 3 months to live.
     
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  2. Oissan

    Oissan Chosen One star 7

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    Mar 9, 2001
    That assumes he had any choice on the matter. He didn't really.

    Vader knew that Obi-Wan was on the Death Star, and he knew where he would have to go. Which is why he positioned himself between Obi-Wan and the Falcon. Obi-Wan was fully aware of this, and he purposefully kept Luke away from himself when he went to deactivate the tractor-beam. Since he couldn't avoid a confrontation with Vader, and then had his path to the Falcon cut off by stormtroopers, sacrificing himself was the only way out. It's somewhat similar to the fight between Yoda and the Emperor in ROTS. Maybe it would have been possible to eke out a victory one-on-one, but with the possible arrival of additional troops, the attention couldn't be focused on a single enemy anymore. Any moment Obi-Wan would spend to get through to the Falcon would increase the risk for the others.

    By sacrificing himself, he also allowed the others to get away without blaming themselves for leaving him behind. Clearly Luke was prepared to do something stupid to help Obi-Wan, and that was not a risk Obi-Wan could take. Luke was their hope for the future, and Obi-Wan's own body was immaterial for the goal of freeing the galaxy from tyranny.
     
  3. Saga_Symphony

    Saga_Symphony Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Oct 30, 2010
    ^Good points. Like I said, distraction is the best reason I could come up with. But I still think in the way of utility to the story, his death is unnecessary. I doubt there was no other way to write that scenario. Obi-Wan could've easily just escaped Vader with the others instead of standing there to get killed.
     
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  4. gezvader28

    gezvader28 Chosen One star 6

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    Mar 22, 2003
    Well it's sacrifice isn't it.

    also - it's something which has profound effect on Luke when it comes to the Force : that Ben's spirit can talk to Luke , this would greatly increase Luke's belief/ faith in the power of the Force.
     
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  5. Saga_Symphony

    Saga_Symphony Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Well, I'm not disagreeing that Obi-Wan sacrificed himself, just that it was necessary. And there's really nothing in the film that suggests Luke's belief in the Force became greater because he can talk to Obi-Wan's ghost, so that's just headcanon.
     
  6. Ithorians

    Ithorians Jedi Master star 4

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    Apr 26, 2016
    This is very open to interpretation, obviously. Personally, I don´t think Obi Wan planned to get cut from the Falcon by Vader. He knew Vader was around, and perhaps felt that a confrontation was inevitable, but there is a reason for all the sneaking around after the tractor beam was deactivated. He hoped to escape, only to find this insurmountable wall between him and his way out.

    As seen in his last duel with Maul, Obi Wan is far from weak at this point, and could possibly extend the fight for a while with Vader, but time is of essence in their escape and he knows, as Luke sees him, that the kid is never going to abandon him. So, he doesn't delay the inevitable and, by avoiding to do so, opens up the window for Luke (and Leia) to escape... thus fulfilling the mission he set his life upon, so many years earlier. Leia is rescued, Luke is on his way to become a Jedi Knight, and the Rebellion against the Sith´s Empire lives to fight another day.

    Ever since I was little, I felt that Obi Wan couldn't defeat Vader in combat, but went to face him anyway. It made him incredibly heroic and noble in my eyes. And that's the problem with the Dark Side: Vader indeed won the fight, but in the end, it was Obi Wan who came out the victor, far more so than if he had tried to kill Vader until the end. It's a pretty powerful message, I think.
     
  7. Saga_Symphony

    Saga_Symphony Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Obi-Wan's sacrifice is an important moment, but I don't think it was the only way to show us that he's brave and noble. Because IMO, that's all his death does. In the long term, I think Luke could've benefited more by having Obi-Wan come out of that alive to further guide and train him.
     
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  8. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 7

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    Oct 4, 1998
    Sure it would have been better for Luke and his advancement in Force skills, but for the story GL was telling, not so much. Seeing Obi-wan vanish and then hearing his disembodied voice added a whole new level to the mysticism of the Force. It was a critical moment for the audience to grasp just how powerful and important the Force is in the story of SW.
     
  9. Saga_Symphony

    Saga_Symphony Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Oct 30, 2010
    ^That's also a good point. I would only argue that, especially with ANH being the very first SW film where Force powers weren't that established yet, there could've been others ways to show the mysticism of the Force that didn't involve Obi-Wan dying.

    I dunno, maybe I'm just really tired of the "old mentor has to die" trope. It happened in TLJ too, also very pointlessly.
     
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  10. Oissan

    Oissan Chosen One star 7

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    Mar 9, 2001
    I think both cases are actually perfect to show what being a Jedi and a true servant of the light is being about. Selflessly sacrificing yourself for the greater good. In the case of Luke, he saved the resistance without even fighting. That's as Jedi-like as it gets.

    Could there have been a way to keep Obi-Wan alive? Yes. Would it have been even remotely as impactful emotionally for the characters and the aufience? Not even close.

    A character sacrificing himself is a boon for the story, and it underlines the threat posed by the villains. Doesn't mean that every sacrifice works out well, but here it enhances the story by a lot. In the case of Obi-Wan, him staying alive wouldn't have added anything to the rest of the movie. All he could do, would be to stand around next to Leia, doing nothing.
    There would be no emotional impact on Luke as there is with his death. There would be much less of a clue towards the audience how significant the force is, if Obi-Wan escapes and merely talks to Luke, instead of guiding him through mysterious ways. It's one thing to believe in something if your mentor tells you to, it is something entirely different if your mentor speaks to you while being dead.
     
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  11. Saga_Symphony

    Saga_Symphony Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Oct 30, 2010
    The only way to show off the Force and its mystic nature was for Obi-Wan to die? Nah, I'm not convinced.

    Luke already believed in the Force and had seen what it could do. He already had motivation to be a Jedi and fight the Empire. He already had emotional impact, both from his dead father and the other losses he experienced in the film. You can say Obi-Wan's death added to all this, but it didn't fulfill any of it. There's one quiet scene where Luke misses him. And... that's it.

    He would've just been standing around, doing nothing with Leia otherwise? Well... that's what Leia did. So what? Han was also out of the final fight until the last moment. And who's to say he couldn't have communicated to Luke just the same way he did through the Force?

    Don't get me wrong, Obi-Wan's death is a defining and iconic moment in the saga. I agree with that. But I don't think it was the only course to take with the story.
     
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  12. Darth Dnej

    Darth Dnej Jedi Master star 4

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    Apr 27, 2013
    Out of universe, we know why. He would've just stood around for the rest of the movie if he escaped. His death adds emotional weight and tension to the story.
    In-universe (the point of this thread), his top priority was Luke and company escaping. If Obi-Wan tried to run from Vader, he would risk dying anyway from Vader and stormtroopers. He probably figured the way he would die would confuse and distract Vader for a bit (and it did). With Obi-Wan's sacrifice briefly distracting Vader, Luke was able to escape.
     
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  13. SirCarrot

    SirCarrot Jedi Padawan star 1

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    Feb 13, 2022
    It would have been difficult for him to get to the Falcon, not impossible, but difficult. The longer he stayed alive, the more in danger the rest of them would be in. While his sacrifice does not make the most since, it is somewhat justified.
     
  14. The Quintessential Jedi

    The Quintessential Jedi Jedi Padawan star 1

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    Mar 13, 2022
    As sad as that is i think it sums it up nicely.
     
  15. Subtext Mining

    Subtext Mining Jedi Master star 4

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    Apr 27, 2016
    There's also this from the ANH commentary:

    We did have one big issue. Originally in the script [Obi-Wan] went all the way to the end of the movie and wasn't killed. And I got down to this point in the movie and then I realized that after they leave the Death Star, Alec's character Obi-Wan Kenobi didn't have anything to do, he was just sort of standing around. And he's this big strong Jedi and you kinda would expect him to take over. But it's really important that Luke take over, and really it's Luke and Han's characters that save the day and pull this thing out - not the powerful Jedi.
    And so I came to the conclusion that what needed to happen; he needed to die at that point. But I needed him in the next movie, if I ever make another movie. So we talked about it, and he wasn't very happy about it, being killed off at that point, but, ya know, because this was during- I was rewriting the script as I was shooting the movie. And it was during the shooting that I came up with this idea of having him not be in the end of the movie. And he, in the beginning he was taken a little aback by the idea, but later on I convinced him it basically worked for the plot device here, of moving Obi-Wan on but still keeping him around for the few really important lines he had.
    A lot of these things become very practical and evolve over time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2022
  16. MeBeJedi

    MeBeJedi Force Ghost star 6

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    May 30, 2002
    Not only that...Ben didn't want Luke risking his life trying to save him. "Your destiny lies along a different path."
     
  17. HanSolo98

    HanSolo98 Jedi Knight star 2

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    Mar 9, 2022
    From a more practical IRL standpoint, I heard that Sir Alec Guinness felt as though the lines were too ridiculous and basically let GL kill him. I guess he didn't see the whole Force Ghost thing coming.
     
  18. Dandelo

    Dandelo SW and Film Music Interview Host star 10 VIP - Game Host

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    Aug 25, 2014
    Answer:

    Guiness wanted to be killed off.
     
  19. FightoftheForgotten

    FightoftheForgotten Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    May 19, 2020
    It was a scene about passing the torch. Even without Obi-Wan's help and with no real talents in the force yet, Luke was still able to rescue the princess and get her back to the ship.

    Obi-Wan knew his adventure was over and Luke's was beginning.
     
  20. Bazinga'd

    Bazinga'd Skywalker Saga / WNU Manager star 7 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 1, 2012
    Tatooine and Jedi Social Security Payments paid out better if he died in the line of duty :p
     
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  21. MidKnighT

    MidKnighT Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    May 23, 2005
    He had a huge gambling debt to Jabba on Tatooine from betting on pod races. He had been hiding from Jabba but was sure Vader or some stormtrooper would tell Jabba his whereabouts so he decided to check out.
     
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  22. The Quintessential Jedi

    The Quintessential Jedi Jedi Padawan star 1

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    Mar 13, 2022
    Obi Wan likely thought his journey ended there as fighting Vader was to hold off the biggest threat on the Death Star it's up to Luke and co to take it from there.
     
  23. darth orange shirt guy

    darth orange shirt guy Jedi Padawan star 1

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    Jan 14, 2022
    I think that his time had come, is twenty year mission was a success, and he can move on to a less dark place.

    his life is pretty screwed up (satiene, anakin, Jedi order, entire galaxy) so I think it’s fitting that he goes out like that. I also agree with the distraction thing as that was a big factor.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2022
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  24. MeBeJedi

    MeBeJedi Force Ghost star 6

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    May 30, 2002
    "As I was writing the third draft of Star Wars, I realized that after they escape from the Death Star, there isn't anything for Ben to do, and I struggled with finding things for him to do and finally gave up. I figured I'd just write that part later on. When I came to the next draft, it became obvious that he was just standing around and that was not good, especially for a character of his importance. So it was really in the last draft, the one I wrote before I shot the movie, that I finally came to the decision that I had to do what I had to do. In a way, I knew I would have to do it from the beginning, but I went back and forth about it. The difficult part of that decision was that I had already hired Alec Guiness, and I had to tell him that his character was going to die halfway through the script. He didn't like it very much; he was upset about it until I convinced him that it was best for the movie, nothing personal. I knew that I would have to bring him back somehow if I made the other movies, and at the time of Star Wars, I didn't know how I was going to accomplish that. At that point, I had to make Star Wars work, and killing Ben was a logical decision." - George Lucas, Annotated Screenplays
     
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  25. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

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    Jan 10, 2015
    The simple answer as to why he allowed himself to be killed is the hallway scene in R1. Those stormtroopers were not well-trained. They didn’t have much of a shot of getting Luke, Leia, and Han. In contrast, Vader could have killed them more easily. Obi-Wan knew what he was doing. He was ready to pass on into the Force, and his sacrifice prevented Vader from interfering with the escape. If Obi-Wan hadn’t dueled Vader, Vader most likely would have been waiting for Luke and the others in front of the Falcon. Obi-Wan distracted him long enough, and Luke sealed him in that hallway.

    Whether one only views the duel on the film or watches the re-imagined one on YouTube, one sees that Obi-Wan was pretty skilled despite being prematurely aged by the Tatooine suns, and that Vader was a monster enemy that was not easily dealt with.