Did Obi-Wan Let Anakin and Qui-Gon Down? (& How Did He Repent?)

Did Obi-Wan Let Anakin and Qui-Gon Down? (& How Did He Repent?)

Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the most complex characters in the Star Wars franchise and a character that had a brilliant narrative arc. It all started with him being an apprentice of Qui-Gon Jinn and then, later, the master of Anakin Skywalker, who would go on to become Darth Vader, the most feared Sith Lord in history. As Qui-Gon was dying, he made Obi-Wan promise him he would train Anakin, which he ultimately did. Yet, despite his training and the friendship that arose between them, Anakin turned to the Dark Side of the Force. Did Obi-Wan let Qui-Gon and Anakin down?

In this exclusive Fiction Horizon Presents article, we are going to analyze Obi-Wan’s oaths to both Qui-Gon Jinn and Anakin Skywalker. We are going to tell you whether the Jedi Master actually betrayed the trust of both his former Master and his former Padawan, and if he did, how he repented for that later in his life. This article is going to be dedicated to Obi-Wan, who is truly one of the best Star Wars characters ever.

Did Obi-Wan let Qui-Gon Jinn down?

This section takes us back to the beginning of the saga, i.e., The Phantom Menace. This is where we first see a young Obi-Wan Kenobi with his mentor, the powerful and respected Jedi Master, Qui-Gon Jinn. The two of them work closely together during the Separatist Crisis and to protect Queen Amidala of Naboo. The episode culminated in a duel with the Sith apprentice, Darth Maul, who kills Qui-Gon but ends up cut in half by Obi-Wan.

As Maul fell through the shaft, his two halves separated, and Obi-Wan ran to his master’s side. Qui-Gon’s dying wish was for his apprentice to train Anakin Skywalker. Kenobi felt that he could not refuse Jinn’s wish, and promised to train the boy. After the battle was over, the Jedi Council arrived to receive Kenobi’s report.

The Jedi Council had a change of heart, ultimately making the notorious decision to allow Obi-Wan to train Skywalker, albeit with hesitation and reluctance. Furthermore, the Council was impressed that Obi-Wan had defeated a Sith, an enemy that had not resurfaced for a millennium. Kenobi became a Jedi Knight, with his duel against Darth Maul serving as a Jedi test. Skywalker was then formally named Kenobi’s Padawan.

Obi-Wan gave it his best. He took Anakin both as a Padawan and as a friend and became a father figure to him. Obi-Wan had been taught by one of the best; Qui-Gon Jinn, despite his rebellious nature, was one of the most revered Jedi in the Council and his skills were truly amazing. He was, in fact, the first Force Ghost in history, as Yoda would confirm later.

Now, taking into account the fact that Obi-Wan was a model Padawan and that he respected Qui-Gon enormously, he would, of course, use his Master’s teachings to train Anakin, and he did exactly that. Not only did he make a powerful Jedi out of Anakin, he also have it his best. He was a mentor, a friend, and a father to Anakin, much like Qui-Gon was to him.

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And that is what Qui-Gon ultimately demanded from him. Qui-Gon was a realist and he did not expect Obi-Wan to do the impossible. He had faith in his Padawan and he knew what he was capable of. He trusted Obi-Wan because he knew his potential; and he wasn’t wrong. Obi-Wan would go on to become one of the most powerful Jedi in history and had Anakin not been seduced by Palpatine, he would stand at his side.

Thus, we can state that Obi-Wan did not let Qui-Gon down. He honored the promise he have his Master and trained Anakin the best he could, making him a great Jedi, but even he could not influence Anakin’s free will, as it was not the Jedi way. If anything, Qui-Gon’s insistence on training Anakin is to blame for everything that happened, not Obi-Wan. But no one would seriously blame Qui-Gon for Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side. Just like no one would blame Obi-Wan.

Obi-Wan, naturally, felt guilty, but that was because he was a very responsible and honorable Jedi. He felt he had betrayed his Master’s trust and held himself responsible for what happened, but Qui-Gon was not disappointed and Obi-Wan did not let him down.

Did Obi-Wan let Anakin Skywalker down?

This section can be summarized with this scene:

Arriving on Mustafar hidden in Padmé Amidala’s ship, Kenobi witnessed the exchange of words between her and Darth Vader. When he revealed himself, Vader was consumed by her rage and Force-choked Amidala, accusing her of betraying him by leading Obi-Wan to him to kill him. Obi-Wan convinced Vader to let Amidala go, not without being able to prevent her from being knocked unconscious. So, he tried to reason with the Sith Lord.

Vader offered Kenobi the chance to leave, but Obi-Wan refused, activating his lightsaber. With a war cry, Vader leaped at Kenobi and began one of the greatest battles in Jedi history, one that would determine the fate of the entire galaxy. Vader drove Kenobi back into an industrial complex with his mastery of Djem So, but was unable to penetrate Obi-Wan’s Soresu defenses.

His fight in the compound’s control room deactivated the energy shield protecting him, so fighting around the compound, they were forced to take cover from a shower of lava. As they fought, the weight and heat of the lava caused the structure they were standing on to begin to weaken, eventually breaking apart.

Obi-Wan and Vader continued the fight from the structure they were in, which was now floating on a river of lava, but just as the structure was about to sink, Kenobi jumped onto a moving platform. Thinking that Vader was dead, Obi-Wan’s doubts were allayed when he returned to a mining droid. Their fight continued over the river of lava, with the two exchanging verbal barbs.

Kenobi desperately tried to convince Vader that Sheev Palpatine was evil, but when Vader replied that the Jedi were evil, Obi-Wan thought that his former student could no longer be redeemed. As soon as he had the chance, Kenobi jumped to the edge, gaining height on Vader. Though Obi-Wan warned Vader, the Sith yelled at Obi-Wan not to dare despise his power.

Kenobi, in honor of the last vestige of his friendship, pleaded with Vader not to try to jump at him, but Vader ignored him. As Vader jumped, Kenobi severed his left arm and legs, sending the Sith near the edge of lava. As Kenobi watched Vader try to get away from the lava, his former apprentice exclaimed that he hated him.

With sadness in his eyes and realizing the truth of Yoda’s words that Anakin Skywalker was no more, Kenobi continued to watch Vader. Fighting back tears, Obi-Wan told Vader that he had been like a brother to him and that he had loved him as such. As Vader burned with the lava, emitting a scream of undying hatred for Kenobi, Obi-Wan took the lightsaber from his former apprentice and carried it away.

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Considering ending Vader’s life, Obi-Wan chose not to murder a helpless enemy in cold blood, and allowed the Force to determine Vader’s fate. Believing Vader to be dead, Kenobi left the planet just as Palpatine and his clone troopers landed on the surface. Palpatine and his escort rescued the Sith Lord from his fiery anguish.

These are the events as they happened on Mustafar. We thought it opportune to explain the scene in more detail since the video above doesn’t give you the whole context, just part of it. Obi-Wan trained Anakin as best as he knew. He taught him the ways of the Force and made a good, sincere, and noble man out of him. He also warned him about his emotions, but Anakin’s love for Padmé was just too strong.

Anakin betrayed the Jedi ways when he let his emotions towards Padmé cloud his judgment. Obi-Wan was aware of this, but he was not aware what Palpatine was plotting to manipulate Anakin as well. Palpatine was a wicked character. He was evil to the core and an excellent manipulator; he knew about Anakin’s emotions and used his unstable psyche to manipulate him, offering him a way to save Padmé. What Anakin did not know – and, in his naivete, could not know – was that Palpatine was lying to him to manipulate him into joining him and betraying the Jedi.

There’s really nothing Obi-Wan could’ve done here. He felt he betrayed (or failed) Anakin because he thought himself responsible for him. He thought that it was his responsibility to make Anakin a great Jedi, but he could not fight Palpatine’s manipulations because he did not want to lie to Anakin; he remained true to himself, the best possible Master and friend Anakin could have wanted. He simply did not want to lie to him.

This is why Obi-Wan did not let Anakin down either. He felt responsible for him, but he did not fail him in any way, regardless of what he actually said.

How does Obi-Wan make things right?

The last section is a tricky one. Namely, we have established that Obi-Wan did not actually let anyone down. He respected his Master’s dying wish and he trained Anakin to become a great Jedi; he could not influence Anakin’s free will and although he wanted to save him, Palpatine’s manipulations were simply too strong and too seductive. So, did Obi-Wan even have to repent and make things right? He did not, but – he did.

The current Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries gives us an insight into Ben Kenobi’s life while hiding from the Empire. He watched over Luke Skywalker and even saved Leia from the Inquisitors. In that aspect, he kept the two most valuable assets in the Galaxy safe, as the two Skywalker children were the only remaining hope the Galaxy had (both Obi-Wan and Yoda were too old to take on the Empire by themselves).

Years later, as shown in the Original Trilogy, Ben Kenobi helped not just Princess Leia, who sought him out because he was the only person that could help the Galaxy, but also trained Luke Skywalker (along with Yoda). We know that Luke Skywalker would ultimately go on to defeat Palpatine, with the help of his reformed father (and although the Sequal Trilogy changed the ending a bit, Luke’s deed is still essential).

Obi-Wan ultimately perished during the fight against the Empire, letting Darth Vader kill him on the Death Star. He would reappear as a Force Ghost to help Luke Skywalker and, ultimately, ended up meeting his former Padawan once again, as Anakin also became a Force Ghost after his death. Obi-Wan Kenobi gave his life for the Jedi cause and for the Galaxy, so – despite not having to, he ultimately did the best thing he could to save the future of the Galaxy and make things right.