The new Star Wars show on Disney+, Obi-Wan Kenobi, gave us some major reveals about Star Wars events we had no idea about earlier. For instance, in Revenge of the Sith, Kenobi left Anakin Skywalker for dead, but then in A New Hope, he knew that his former padawan was still alive. So, somewhere in between, he learned about Vader being alive. The question is, when?
In Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 2, we learn that Obi-Wan found out Vader was still alive while escaping an Inquisitor named Reva. As she hunted Kenobi down, she revealed that she would take him directly to “Lord Vader” and even said, “Anakin Skywalker is alive,” probably to mess with Obi-Wan.
Still, fans are now wondering how Obi-Wan Kenobi did not know that before. Didn’t he get the news? Or, why didn’t he sense Vader’s presence through the Force? Don’t worry; I got all the answers for you. Let’s dig in.
Why Did Obi-Wan Kenobi Think Anakin Skywalker Was Dead?
First of all, let’s set the record straight. Virtually the entire Empire knew that Darth Vader was alive. So, why did Obi-Wan Kenobi think that Anakin Skywalker was dead? Well, it’s quite simple.
The last time he saw Anakin was during Revenge of the Sith when they had an intense, harrowing duel on Mustafar. The duel left Anakin without most of his limbs – quite enough to kill almost anybody. And, if that wasn’t enough, what was left of Anakin had been taken by a river of lava.
Kenobi left Vader for dead, thinking he certainly perished after such a horrifying mauling. His heart couldn’t take it, though, so he went into a self-induced exile on Tatooine immediately after that.
When Did Obi-Wan Kenobi Find Out Vader Was Still Alive?
So, after the Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan Kenobi thought Vader was dead after their duel on Mustafar. However, by the time A New Hope took place, it was clear he knew that Darth Vader was still alive, especially after telling young Luke Skywalker that “Vader killed your father… in a sense.”
He implied that Anakin Skywalker died the moment he became Darth Vader. However, it means that, at some point, he learned that Vader survived their Mustafar duel. The question is, when did Obi-Wan Kenobi find that out? Well, in Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 2, we finally get the answers.
Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place ten years after Revenge of the Sith and nine years before A New Hope. In Episode 2, Obi-Wan Kenobi is hunted by the Inquisitors after saving a young Princess Leia from a nasty fall.
At the end of the episode, one of the Inquisitors named Reva had Obi-Wan Kenobi cornered in a cargo port. Determined to capture Kenobi, she tries to provoke him to reveal his location and expose himself for capture.
Reva says that, after catching him, she would take him straight to “Lord Vader.” She even adds a direct “Anakin Skywalker is alive” and implies that he was looking for Obi-Wan Kenobi. We see Kenobi visibly shocked by the news, meaning that was the first time he heard the news before barely managing to escape with Princess Leia.
Now, many fans thought that Darth Vader kept his former life as Anakin Skywalker a secret, so it was odd to hear that Reva knew about it. We still don’t know how she knew, but I reckon we will get that backstory at some point in the show as well. As for why Obi-Wan Kenobi didn’t know Darth Vader was still alive – the explanation is quite simple.
Why Didn’t Obi-Wan Kenobi Know Vader Was Still Alive Before?
According to the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV show, it took ten years for Kenobi to find out Vader was still alive. At the same time, pretty much everyone in the entire Empire knew that before, so why didn’t Obi-Wan Kenobi know Vader was still alive before?
Firstly, after taking away most of his limbs, and watching him get swallowed by lava on Mustafar, Obi-Wan Kenobi naturally assumed that Anakin Skywalker was dead.
Secondly, that led Obi-Wan Kenobi into self-induced exile on Tatooine, an Outer Rim planet that, as we learn in the series, wasn’t really a part of the Empire. News traveled slowly throughout the galaxy, so a planet as desolated as Tatooine probably never got the news about Vader still being alive.
And, even if some folks on Tatooine have heard about it, the news was highly unlikely to reach Obi-Wan Kenobi. He deliberately lived isolated from others, having as little contact with others as possible.
But then again, fans point out another question. It has already been established that Force-sensitive individuals can sense each other through the Force. After all, Obi-Wan and Vader sensed each other on the Death Star, where Kenobi was killed. Well, there are two possible explanations for this – or maybe even a combination of both.
The first is that it simply doesn’t work on such great distances. Every time we’ve seen two Star Wars characters sense each other through the Force, it was at close proximity – in the orbit of the same planet at least. If Darth Vader was at one side of the Galaxy and Obi-Wan on another, it’s unlikely they could sense each other, even through the Force.
But, even if they could, there’s a huge possibility that Obi-Wan Kenobi simply cut himself off from the Force after going into exile, just like Luke did when no one could find him in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
One of the reasons why Kenobi went to Tatooine in the first place is to secretly look after a young Luke Skywalker. He probably detached himself from the Force deliberately to protect himself and Luke from the potential risk of being found. That’s why Obi-Wan couldn’t sense Vader through the Force, nor could anybody sense him either.
That theory is furthermore corroborated in the first episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi when Obi-Wan barely saved young Princess Leia after her nasty fall from a roof. He didn’t use the Force at all during Episode 1, which could potentially point to him being detached from the Force completely.
If you combine his detachment from the Force with the fact that he was living in exile, with as little contact with others as possible, on Tatooine – a desolated planet in the Outer Rim that wasn’t even a part of the Empire – it’s easy to understand how Obi-Wan Kenobi didn’t know Vader was still alive for such a long time. Especially considering the state he left him in on Mustafar.