Flashbacks are vital to Obi-Wan Kenobi. So as we reach the series finale of Obi-Wan Kenobi this week, we wanted to go over the importance of those pre-Attack of the Clones flashbacks. While everyone is talking about how amazing it was to have Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen share scenes again, that wasn’t the critical reason we wanted to discuss.
Everyone has spoken about how the flashbacks showed how Obi-Wan and Darth Vader both had a lesson to learn, and only Kenobi had accepted the challenge of change. The Sith Lord, meanwhile, hasn’t changed his stance even after thirteen years.
We wanted to discuss how Obi-Wan and Anakin’s relationship shifted dramatically since the sparring match. The flashbacks are essential to understand the deeper context behind certain events from Attack of the Clones. At this time, Kenobi and Skywalker’s friendship was father and son rather than the brotherhood they would later form.
During a gut-wrenching moment in Attack of the Clones in the aftermath of his mother’s death, Anakin rages to Padmé that Obi-Wan is jealous and holding him back. But, of course, anyone familiar with the story will know this wasn’t the case.
Obi-Wan notes during the flashbacks that Anakin’s determination to win is what holds him back. However, he promptly uses it in the present against Vader as he is aware that the Sith’s desire to get what he wants hasn’t changed.
Do we believe Anakin felt this way before and after his rant to Padmé? It’s hard to say. Though likely, he buried the feeling due to the overwhelming sense of loyalty overrode anything else. We believe this is when the father-son dynamic disappeared and started forming the brotherhood.
Flashbacks Show Anakin’s Desire To Win No Matter What
Anakin as a Padawan doesn’t differ from who he became as a Jedi Knight. His disobedience and strong desire for victory drove him to the brink of arrogance. Even during the flashbacks, Obi-Wan used Anakin’s aggression to his advantage by using the Force to pull his student’s weapon from his grasp.
While Skywalker was an excellent combatant, his winning strategy is what won the 501st numerous battles. Moreover, the flashbacks provided give us extra content for who he would become as Darth Vader. As stated earlier in the series, he spent an entire decade looking for his former master without any luck.
When Reva, the Third Sister, ordered Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan to be kidnapped from under her adoptive parents’ noses, Obi-Wan jumped into action. Vader had no idea she had done this as he had no idea his children were alive.
Going back to Anakin in the flashbacks, his need to beat Obi-Wan comes from his competitive nature, which his master tried and failed to squash early on in his training. Skywalker’s failure to learn from his mistakes caused him to lose his right arm during a fight with Count Dooku. Ultimately, this is what Kenobi had warned him about.
Anakin’s Lack Of Mercy
One aspect that should be noted is how Anakin’s lack of mercy during the sparring match is what makes his victory unravel. Like his son, Luke, years later would do to him; Skywalker keeps hammering his master with blows, hoping luck is on his side.
However, Obi-Wan outsmarts him and uses his brain to find another way to achieve victory. Moreover, this act is the same as what Kenobi would tell Anakin’s future son-in-law, Han Solo, years later. Whatever the outcome is on Obi-Wan Kenobi during Part VI, it will teach Vader a lesson in patience to a degree. During the events of the Original Trilogy, he is not as savage as he is pre-dating this.
Anakin’s need for victory has convinced him that mercy cannot be achieved in the same breath. This is the same sentiment he holds as Vader. Obi-Wan knows this and informs the members of the Path. When Roken questions how he knows this, the flashbacks return to explain the meaning of how the Sith Lord’s weakness can be utilised against him.
The lack of mercy Vader shows is evident with Reva and the Inquisitors. They’re all afraid of him and don’t need to vocalise it. He doesn’t care if they live or die. Despite putting on the brave faces, their Force signatures say otherwise.