In A New Hope, we see that Obi-Wan is visibly affected by the destruction of Alderaan. If this was such a huge thing to elicit a response, why didn't it affect Luke as well?

  • 1
    b/c Luke is a schmuck. In the DS1 also plenty of ppl cried out and fell silent when it exploded, yet our jedi in training was too busy cheering to feel anything.
    – user68762
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 19:26
  • The scene doesn't even get a mention in the original novelisation.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 20:12

4 Answers 4


He likely wasn't yet sensitive enough to the force to understand. He didn't understand his emotions... or rather, he wasn't tuned to them yet.

The force may have been disturbed, but Luke wasn't attuned enough to recognize it... or just missed it. Obi-wan had been trained to identify and recognize when a disturbance in the force had happened.

Luke relied too much on external physical stimulus to see beyond the obvious. This was evident in his training, where he was focusing too much on the physical sphere instead of allowing the force to guide him. It was also evident when he turned off his targeting computer and fully allowed the force to take over.

It was as much about listening and comprehending as it is about receiving.

A radar dish that is super sensitive isn't much good if you don't have an operator who doesn't know how to read the display.

It's like when you feel bad occasionally after eating... but only after being educated understand that those bad feelings are due to a food allergy or intolerance. Once you recognize the symptoms, you can identify and understand the signals. You have to learn how to listen before you can understand. ( Perhaps not the best analogy, but you get the idea )


Luke hadn't been trained yet -- he just didn't know how to feel things with the Force very well. Just prior to the scene in which Obi-Wan felt the destruction of Alderaan, we saw Luke training with his lightsaber and the remote droid. Obi-Wan taught Luke to

stretch out with your feelings

Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (see script)

while Luke's eyes were covered by his helmet's blast shield. Luke managed to deflect the remote's shots with his lightsaber despite the blast shield, and afterward he remarked

You know, I did feel something. I could almost see the remote.

Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope

Since Luke could barely sense the remote that was right in front him it would be extremely difficult for him to sense the destruction of a planet light years away (even if it did involve the loss of so much life). Although he had the theoretical capability to sense the destruction of Alderaan, he hadn't yet learned how to stretch out with his feelings in order to do so.

It might help to recall what the Force is and how Force-sensitive individuals communicate with and use it. Obi-Wan explained the Force as:

The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.

Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope

And Qui-Gon explained how a Jedi communicates with that energy field:

Midi-chlorians are a microscopic lifeform that reside within all living cells and communicates with the Force...Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to you, telling you the will of the Force.

Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace

Luke had a high midi-chlorian count (he was "Force-sensitive") but had not yet learned how to "speak" to the midi-chlorians ("stretch out with his feelings") well enough to sense the destruction of Alderaan.

  • But he did find the remote, which was a small thing. You'd figure such a large emotional event would have elicit a small response.
    – CBredlow
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 20:03
  • @CBredlow If we're using size to judge the difficulty in sensing something, then Alderaan was much smaller from Luke's POV since Alderaan was light years away (no one on the Falcon could even see it). The remote was small but clearly visible.
    – Null
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 20:08
  • "Size matters not", I forgot about that
    – CBredlow
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 20:11
  • Size matters not but quantity (of deaths) does matter? Why was Kenobi that shaken that an entire big planet's population got dusted but fine with a (smaller) group of individuals being killed? Meaning the jedi are all for multitude but dont give a fig about magnitude?
    – user68762
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 21:25

The quick answer is that luke was still very new to the whole force thing, wasnt connected to it enough to feel the disturbences like highly trained jedi/sith.

  • 1
    This doesn't seem to provide any information that isn't in the existing answers.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 4:39

Luke had just started using the force. He wasn't anywhere close to the force practioner Obi-wan was!

  • Reviewers: This is not spam; it's merely a short answer.
    – Möoz
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 22:12
  • Can you elaborate on this answer? It's currently a bit short and lacks detail.
    – Möoz
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 22:12

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