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In Revenge of the Sith, Yoda and Obi-Wan split up to confront Palpatine and Skywalker in single-combat. However, with the millions of lives at stake, and the obvious power of the Emperor with his immense skill in the force, and the massive armies at his disposal, wouldn't it have been better and safer to confront Palpatine together? With Anakin on a mission to Mustafar, he wouldn't be around to help Palpatine, and can be dealt with later.

This is especially so given that Mace Windu, widely regarded as the best swordsman of the era, whose Vaapad fighting style draws on the Darkness of the opponent and becomes even more effective against a Sith, attempted Palpatine's arrrest with two other accomplished Jedi Masters.

Yoda and Obi-Wan are also affiliated with the light side of the force and shouldn't be as susceptible to raw emotions like pride. In this sense, Palpatine appears surprisingly accurate when he tells Yoda that "Your arrogance blinds you".

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Hindsight is 20/20. –  Chahk Mar 24 at 16:03
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1<2. 1+0.1 is still <2 –  DVK Mar 24 at 16:22
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Obi-wan didn't seem terribly useful in group fights. In Ep1 he gets left behind and watches his master get killed. In Ep2 he fails to protect Anakin and is overwhelmed. And in Ep3 he gets knocked out in the first round. Yoda was probably just trying to spare him any more humiliation. –  Xantec Mar 24 at 16:44
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I don't know if there will be a satisfactory answer, since it is probably "Lucas did it" - but it really is a good question. Isn't taking out a newly found Sith Lord top priority? And it isn't like the Jedi are unaccustomed to teaming up against an opponent - they do it all the time. Had Obi-Wan been there, the Empire might have been stopped before it got started. –  joshbirk Mar 24 at 20:18
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One more thing to consider is that Palpatine was able to sense that Anakin was in danger even when Anakin was all the way on Mustafar. Had they taken Anakin out together first, Palpatine would have sensed it, and better protected himself. Had they taken out Palpatine first, it's possible that the extremely force sensitive Anakin would have sensed it and better protected himself. Taking them out simultaneously meant keeping the element of surprise in both encounters. –  crush Mar 25 at 14:14

3 Answers 3

up vote 42 down vote accepted

This was Yoda's decision. He tells Obi-Wan to go after Vader instead of accompanying him to confront the Emperor. Then he says, "To question, no time there is," cutting short any further discussion.

We don't know exactly what Yoda's reasoning was. But logically it must have been some combination of the following:

  1. He believes Obi-Wan would be a liability in a fight with Darth Sidious. Yoda would have to expend energy and attention protecting Obi-Wan instead of pressing the attack. Obi-Wan would provide some additional help, but perhaps not enough to offset this disadvantage. If Yoda had viewed more of the security tapes (off-camera), he would have seen that Mace Windu's companions were no help whatsoever.

  2. He is overconfident in his abilities. For example, he easily defeated Dooku, who in turn had easily beaten Obi-Wan and Anakin. Again, the security tapes recorded that Mace Windu actually had Palpatine at his mercy before Anakin turned up. Therefore, Yoda might have thought Sidious was vulnerable without Vader's help.

  3. He is in a hurry to defeat both Sidious and Vader. They know from the attack on the Jedi Temple that Vader has command of Imperial forces. Yoda may be concerned that unless they kill Vader quickly, he will simply take over as ruler of the Empire. At that point, Vader would be surrounded by bodyguards and much more difficult for Obi-Wan and/or Yoda to defeat. Also, Vader has only just begun to embrace the power of the Dark Side; as time goes on, he will become much stronger.

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(3) Is an excellent point –  Twilight Sparkle Mar 24 at 17:30
    
@TwilightSparkle: Thanks. Edited to emphasise that Anakin/Vader will grow stronger with time. –  Royal Canadian Bandit Mar 24 at 17:35
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This is a great answer. My initial answer to this question was the same as your first point. But your third point, that Anakin, the Chosen One, will one day surpass Sidious and become an even greater threat is probably the best reason to go after him immediately. –  jliv902 Mar 24 at 18:11
    
(2) Is an interesting discussion. Mace Windu was the best swordsman of his era. It is entirely possible that he beat Palpatine squarely in a duel. It's also possible, and likely, that Palpatine sensed Anakin's arrival, and allowed himself to appear to be at Windu's mercy. Regardless, from the perspective of the security tapes, it would have appeared that Windu had won the duel. –  crush Mar 25 at 14:04
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@Luaan impossible to know for sure. Windy could have legitimately won, and Anakin showed up at the opportune time for the emperor to take advantage of his arrival. Windu was also a very powerful force user, had some training in the dark side, and his Vaapad fighting style only got stronger against dark force wielding opponents. On top of this, he possessed a unique ability called Shatterpoint that aided him greatly in solo encounters. Was he stronger than Yoda? Unlikely. But he might've been better suited to fight the emperor than Yoda. –  crush Mar 26 at 11:58

It was a judgement call made by Yoda. Yoda doesn't believe Obi-Wan is strong enough to battle Palpatine.

From the script:

OBI-WAN switches off the hologram. The TWO JEDI stand in silence for a few moments.

YODA: Destroy the Sith, we must.

OBI-WAN: Send me to kill the Emperor. I will not kill Anakin.

YODA: To fight this Lord Sidious, strong enough, you are not.

OBI-WAN: He is like my brother ... I cannot do it.

YODA: Twisted by the dark side, young Skywalker has become. The boy you trained, gone he is . . . Consumed by Darth Vader.

OBI-WAN: How could it have come to this?

YODA: To question, no time there is.

OBI-WAN: I do not know where the Emperor has sent him. I don't know where to look.

YODA: Use your feelings, Obi-Wan, and find him, you will. Visit the new Emperor, my task is. May the Force be with you.

OBI-WAN: May the Force be with you, Master Yoda.

As to exactly why Yoda decided this, Palpatine has already personally taken out three powerful Jedi - including the one regarded as their best swordsman.

At this point in G-Canon, Yoda and Obi-Wan are the only two confirmed surviving Jedi.

Knowing that Palpatine and Anakin were both risks that needed to be addressed, it makes a certain amount of sense to split up. In Yoda's estimation, Obi-Wan stood a chance against Anakin - so with a bit of luck The Force, at least one of their enemies would be defeated.

Obi-Wan may have disagreed, but Yoda already shut down further discussions saying,

"To question, no time there is."

(Granted, he was replying to Obi-Wan's questioning of how this all came to be, but the point is valid for either question.)

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I don't think this answers the question. Obi-Wan asks to confront the Emperor alone, and Yoda tells him he is not strong enough to do so. They don't discuss the possibility that they could both attack the Emperor before dealing with Anakin/Vader. –  Royal Canadian Bandit Mar 24 at 16:59
    
It does and it doesn't answer it. They don't discuss it because Yoda states that Obi-Wan isn't strong enough, and Obi-Wan defers to his judgement. Why don't they discuss it further? There's no real solid G-Canon reason other than "because Yoda said so". Yoda also says there's no time to talk about anything further. Lacking any further definitive reason, this is the closest thing to a G-Canon "reason" that appears to exist. –  phantom42 Mar 24 at 17:04
    
@RoyalCanadianBandit If they both went after Sidious, I would imagine that Sidious would be able to blitz Kenobi just like he did with Windu's strike team. –  jliv902 Mar 24 at 17:15
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"But Master Yoda, if we go together-" "Remember what happened LAST time Yoda had to bail you out of battle you could not win, you will." "...Ah, point taken." –  Zibbobz Mar 24 at 17:20
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@phantom42 That's true. He didn't force choke her until Obi-Wan emerged from the vessel. However, she was already heart-broken and under immense duress seeing that Anakin had turned to the Dark side, and having learned of the terrible deeds he had taken part. It's possible that she had lost the will to live at that instant, but you're right. We can't know for sure. Good counterpoint. –  crush Mar 25 at 14:20

Some fight better solo. They can move, attack and dodge at speed without tripping over their 'partner'. Have you ever played doubles in table tennis? If your partner isn't adept at where to be when he's suppose to be there, he's more of a hindrance than a help. Yoda would know this about Obi-Wan's current lack in skill/ability level. Yoda obviously decided he had a better chance taking on Sidious alone and without Obi-Wan underfoot.

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You could take two great solo tennis players, and pair them up in a doubles match, and they might easily be beaten by a duet of tennis players who regularly plays doubles. This is a valid point, though I think it mostly would've been Yoda having to hold back to protect Obi-Wan. –  crush Mar 25 at 14:11

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