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In Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi makes a comment about Anakin's lightsaber that seems completely contradictory with the prequels.

BEN: I have something here for you. Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it. He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damned-fool idealistic crusade like your father did.

As we see in the prequels, Anakin never said anything of the sort. On the contrary, Obi-Wan took his lightsaber away from his burning, screaming corpse. And Anakin hid his unborn children from Obi-Wan, meaning he would have never shared his ambitions for their lives with him. Unlike other "half-truths" Obi-Wan tells, this just seems like a blatant lie.

Obviously the out-of-universe answer is that Lucas' claim that he always knew Vader was Luke's father is complete BS. But is there a canon answer for this discrepancy?

I'll accept answers from lower canon sources (Legends) as well, but I'd prefer answers from the Disney-approved canon.

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    Because he's a damn liar who only stops lying so that he can draw breath in order to tell more lies. – Valorum Feb 2 '16 at 18:49
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    Lucas has never maintained that Vader was always intended as Luke's father. See Out of Universe, was Vader always planned to be Luke's father? – phantom42 Feb 2 '16 at 19:04
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    Isn't it possible that back when Padme was pregnant and Obi-Wan and Anakin were still on okay terms, he said something like "Yo Obi-Wan, I'm so excited to be a father. One day I'll train my child in the Jedi arts and pass down this lightsaber to him/her" ? Maybe he was already working on his next lightsaber Obi-Wan was like "what gives, bro?" and Anakin was like "Yeah dude, I'm working on a new lightsaber so I can give this one to my kid -- you know it's hard to get into the Jedi Academy and they start them really young." – ThePopMachine Feb 2 '16 at 20:30
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    @ThePopMachine (1) Kenobi would've been like, "Wait, what? Jedi aren't permitted to have a family!" (2) Anakin's first lightsaber broke in Ep. 2 on Geonosis, that's when and why he built a second one - to replace the first one that was broken. – RedCaio Feb 2 '16 at 20:58
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I don't believe there is any official explanation for this. However, I believe there is a possibility that there isn't actually any contradiction here. If we assume a few things were said off-screen (to avoid redundancy, accelerate the plot, etc.) then we can reconcile the seeming inconsistency.

Off-screen interactions:

  • After learning Padme was pregnant, Anakin told her that he hoped for a son and that one day he'd like to give his own lightsaber to his son when he was old enough.
  • Padme relayed this information to Obi-Wan when she was giving birth to the twins.
  • When Obi-Wan brought Luke to his aunt and uncle he conveyed the same message.
  • Uncle Owen, however, wouldn't allow it as he was afraid Luke might be tempted to get involved in Kenobi's "idealistic crusade" like Anakin did.

So what Kenobi said could still be true... from a certain point of view.

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In the absence of any official answer, I believe this is the best answer we have if we are to reconcile the seeming inconsistency.

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    As in my comment above, it would make much more sense if Anakin told Obi-Wan (long) before Mustafar. It doesn't make much sense that after the Padme/Anakin spat and Obi-Wan/Anakin duel on Mustafar that Padme would have told Obi-Wan that. "He just nearly killed me and then you left him for dead, but don't forget to give his weapon to our son." – ThePopMachine Feb 2 '16 at 22:30
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    @ThePopMachine Since the Jedi weren't permited to date or marry, I don't see Anakin saying "Hey Obi-Wan, I want my son to have my lightsaber when he's old enough." as that would open up an awkward conversation. Kenobi would be like "A son?!? Anakin, what do you mean a son???" Obi-Wan didn't know until he visited Padme and he guesses it: "Anakin is the father, isn't he?... I'm so sorry". – RedCaio Feb 2 '16 at 23:16
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    If we're going to infer off-screen conversations, there's an even simpler explanation - Anakin and Obi-Wan surely had arguments over the Jedi order's prohibitions against love, marriage, family, etc. Anakin may have argued that he wished to pass down his lightsaber and the Jedi teachings to a son one day, and that the order should accept this as a valid choice. – recognizer Feb 2 '16 at 23:18
  • And since Obi Wan was against all of this, why would he take the light saber to pass on, and tell Luke what a great guy Darth Vader was. – Oldcat Feb 3 '16 at 0:50
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    @Oldcat He didn't, really. He told Luke what a great guy Anakin was. It's fairly clear that Obi-Wan really does see Anakin and Vader as two essentially different people, and I think he'd even go so far as to disagree with Vader's statement that he is Luke's father, if put to it. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 3 '16 at 23:34
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As stated, there is no canon answer.

I find it hard to believe that Anakin ever discussed this with Obi-Wan.

Instead, I think this is Obi-Wan's first "from a certain point of view" moment. He simply uses Anakin's lightsaber in what was surely a pre-planned move to get Luke excited by the Force and the Jedi. He probably thought that whenever he did meet up with Luke, this would be one of the things he would do and that it would surely work.

He probably was comforted by the fact that a sane Anakin probably would have felt this way about it, telling himself that his friend (who he probably does see as dead in a way) would have liked what he had chosen to do.

  • So, you're saying he pulled a Nick Fury (Mace Windu?), from when Fury grabbed the collectors cards from Coulson's locker, got some blood on them, and told Cap "he had these in his pocket, he never did get the chance to get you to autograph them" just to influence Cap and the others to join together and form the Avengers? lol – RedCaio Jun 19 '16 at 0:22
  • @RedCaio - Pretty much. Only with something way more impressive than collector's cards lol. – ThruGog Jun 19 '16 at 5:31
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Quite simply, the statement was true from Obi-Wan's point of view, with no agenda needed.

In fact, if we add two words for context, the statement becomes 100% accurate. Obi-Wan should have said "Your father would have wanted you to have this when you were old enough." BOOM.


Although technically a lie, there wasn't necessarily any agenda on the part of Obi-Wan in telling Luke this. We know from the Disney canon that Obi-Wan was finally telling the truth in Episode VI - as far as he was concerned, his friend Anakin Skywalker "died" when he became evil. The actions & motivation of Darth Vader were different enough from his former life that he could reasonably be considered a different person altogether.

LUKE: You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father.

BEN: Your father was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I have told you was true... from a certain point of view.

LUKE: (turning away, derisive) A certain point of view!

BEN: Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

(Ben sits down on a nearby log)

When I first knew him, your father was already a great pilot. But I was amazed how strongly the Force was with him. I took it upon myself to train him as a Jedi. I thought that I could instruct him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong. My pride has had terrible consequences for the galaxy.

LUKE: There's still good in him.

BEN: I also thought he could be turned back to the good side. It couldn't be done. He is more machine now than man. Twisted and evil.

From Obi-Wan's point of view, he knows that the good man who was Anakin Skywalker would have wanted his son to have his old lightsaber. Had Anakin actually died during the Clone Wars, the same could be said regardless of whether or not Anakin actually said at some point "I want my son to have my lightsaber". Having been his friend for years, Obi-Wan would be able to make a fairly accurate guess about Anakin Skywalker's wishes on the matter.

As for the statement being a lie, that is technically true, but it's really no different in context than a parent handing down a family heirloom saying, "Your grandfather would have wanted you to have this." There is no reason to assume that Obi-Wan intentionally lied just to recruit Luke, or that the specific request occurred off-screen. He is simply telling Luke what he believes to be the truth - that Anakin Skywalker would have wanted Luke to have the weapon.

The bit about his uncle not wanting him to have the weapon would also be true without an actual statement to that effect. Owen Lars had made it plain that he wanted Luke to have nothing to do with the galaxy at large or even Obi-Wan himself. Common sense dictates that he wouldn't allow a teenage Luke to have such a weapon, and in fact would probably just throw it away if given the opportunity.


Note: As many have pointed out since Episode I, yes, there are obvious gaps in what Obi-Wan said on Dagobah. Nothing he said is untrue, however. He DID take it upon himself to train Anakin whether the council approved or not, and he DID think he could train the boy as well as Yoda, who personally disapproved of training Anakin at all.

He was also shocked to learn Anakin's midicholorian count, and therefore how strong Anakin was in the Force. Also, ironically, we now know that it was from Anakin himself that the morally rigid Obi-Wan learned to be "flexible" with the truth in such a manner.

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It's all part of the plan to get Luke started on becoming a Jedi, then have him trained by Yoda and eventually be ready to challenge and defeat the Sith.

Obi-Wan was never told anything about Anakin's plans for his children. But he didn't lie, from a certain point of view.

To Obi-Wan, Anakin Skywalker died when he fell to the dark side, killed by Darth Vader who rose to replace the Jedi he once was. From Obi-Wan's point of view, if Anakin is alive today, he would have wanted his son, Luke, to have his lightsaber, with which he can defeat the Sith and fulfill Anakin's true destiny.

  • As an aside, anyone noticed how six Star Wars films all revolve around Obi-Wan and Anakin's points of view? – thegreatjedi Feb 3 '16 at 7:34
  • It's a common story telling device. What's to notice? – KorvinStarmast Feb 3 '16 at 17:02
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As far as I know there is no canon answer so it is open to how the stories tied in. I believe that this was an effort in the original plot to create a drama surrounding the demise of Luke's father within the movie.

Later when the following (preceding) episodes were made there was no real way to tie that statement to the current storyline that would not create more charachters or create a parallel story-line.

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    Not to mention that it wasn't important to the plot of either movie. The Star Wars movies were released before the internet arrived and the whole of fandom began diving into stories looking for possible plot holes in between semi colons. In 1976ish, it Just Wasn't That Important. When the prequels got put together, it really wasn't necessary to go back and mess with Obiwan's lines from the first movie. – KorvinStarmast Feb 3 '16 at 17:01
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As others have noted, there doesn't seem to be an explicit explanation.

However, a reasonable explanation is that Obi-Wan lied about it as a recruiting technique. Throughout that conversation with Luke, Obi-Wan contrasts Luke's adventurous father with his boring uncle:

Luke: No, my father didn't fight in the wars. He was a navigator on a spice freighter.

Obi-Wan: That's what your uncle told you. He didn't hold with your father's ideals. Thought he should have stayed here and not gotten involved.

Luke: You fought in the Clone Wars?

Obi-Wan: Yes, I was once a Jedi Knight the same as your father.

Luke: I wish I'd known him.

Obi-Wan: He was the best star-pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior. I understand you've become quite a good pilot yourself. And he was a good friend. Which reminds me...I have something here for you. Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it. He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damned-fool idealistic crusade like your father did.

Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope script

Obi-Wan portrays Luke's uncle Owen as boring and hiding information from Luke, while in contrast Luke's father is adventurous, a noble Jedi, an excellent pilot (just like you, Luke!), etc. Obi-Wan then hands Luke the lightsaber and again contrasts father and uncle; he tells Luke that Owen didn't even want him to have the lightsaber whereas Luke's fun and adventurous father wanted him to have it. Luke is more likely to accept the lightsaber if he thinks he has his father's permission, and having accepted such a cool weapon he is much more likely to join Obi-Wan on an adventure.

We had already seen Luke argue with Owen over staying at the farm another year, so we know that Luke craves adventure. Based on this conversation, Obi-Wan obviously knows that Luke is adventurous and thinks his uncle is tying him down to a boring farmer's life. Telling Luke that his father wanted him to have the lightsaber is part of Obi-Wan's sales pitch.

  • A well argued assertion, however my own high opinion of Kenobi prevents me from lending it too much credence. :) – RedCaio Jun 19 '16 at 0:26
  • @RedCaio I do not have a high opinion of Kenobi (it's rather low, actually) but I don't think it's a big deal for him to lie as a recruitment technique. Compared to the rest of his many lies this one was pretty minor. – Null Jun 19 '16 at 3:29
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I have the ‘perfect analogy’ to describe Obi-Wan’s statement about Anakin wanting Luke to have his lightsaber one day. Many pro wrestlers who ‘knew’ Chris Benoit well, still describe him in the ‘past tense’ in a warm, positive way even though they realize that he snapped and killed his wife Nancy and their son Daniel in a murder/suicide in 2007. Benoit left behind two ‘living children’ David and Megan (from his previous wife). David and Megan Benoit ‘inherited’ a number of items from their father’s estate that I’m sure that the good, ’sane’ Chris Benoit “wanted them to have someday” — hence the analogy of Obi-Wan’s white lies to Luke in several instances in the Original Trilogy. I’m sure that the ‘good Anakin’ would have wanted his unborn child to follow in his footsteps as one of the guardians of the Old Republic. We can also see how (in a manner of speaking) the crazed Chris Benoit ‘betrayed and murdered’ David and Megan’s good-natured father, the same way that Darth Vader murdered Anakin, Luke’s father.

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    Hi ! Welcome to SFF ! The analogy that you have provided is a real-world, out-of-universe answer. But the question explicitly asks for canon-based answers. – Simpleton May 10 '18 at 5:26

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