‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Theory Finally Explains Crucial ‘New Hope’ Moment

Star Wars is a franchise that continues to grow and change, taking advantage of the latest advances in special effects and production, and even going so far as to retroactively update older versions with “better” effects. But instead of recreating old dull elements, Obi Wan Kenobi went in another direction by creating a logical explanation for why the emotional climax of A new hope is not as glamorous as it could be.

Redditor jackanackanorey posted a theory that explains the huge discrepancy between fight choreography in the original series and the prequels. In the prequels, there were epic martial arts-infused fights, one of which included a backwards Yoda. Fast forward about 20 years in the timeline and all of the duels are nearly timid.

Obi-Wan and Darth Vader clash in A new hope. lucasfilm

The example par excellence is to compare the duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith with their duel in A new hope. In the first instance, Anakin would often fight one-handed while doing all sorts of acrobatic leaps. Years later, Darth Vader and Obi-Wan fight exclusively with slow two-handed swings.

Of course, there are creative reasons for all this; special effects were limited in the ’70s, and lightsaber duels were originally envisioned as slow, deliberate battles with heavy weaponry before the prequels made them flashier. But in the Star Wars universe, this change can’t just be attributed to aging: you may move slower, but the skills learned remain the same. Instead, this theory suggests that Vader learned a valuable lesson in self-defense.

Obi Wan KenobiThe finale gave fans what they’ve been craving: a rematch between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader. In this fight, which resembled the fighting style of the prequels, Obi-Wan kicked Vader’s control panel, knocking his mechanical life support out of whack.

Vader used one-handed combat in the Obi Wan Kenobi final. lucasfilm

So when they reunite later as older men, Vader knows better than to leave himself so vulnerable. Instead, he’s cautious, keeping his weapon in front of him the entire time. It might not be the most interesting fighting style, but it’s definitely the smartest.

This theory provides an excellent interpretation of this scene. Some scenes in Obi Wan Kenobi made the transition from the prequel to the original trilogy a bit more confusing, like Luke and Leia apparently not knowing Ben Kenobi despite meeting him. But this perspective shows how more content can nullify even the most annoying fan complaints, while serving the themes and narratives of Star Wars as a whole.

Obi Wan Kenobi is now streaming on Disney+.

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