47

These aren't the droids you're looking for, you don't need to see his identification.

Not just in the books, but in the movie, Obi-Wan has the power to persuade minds, so why not just use it and run through like a boss? In the books, Luke actually disguises himself in his normal clothing, appearing as something else to everyone else (Crystal Star. he even lets Han see the real him, and only Han).

Sure, he might have had some strain from Force usage, but I would think that even at his age, he would have had more than enough power to last his way to the tractor control.

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    I'd assume using the force so much would act like a massive Vader magnet. – user46509 Sep 22 '16 at 13:00
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    Also, he could still be recognized as an imposter by droids. – Rogue Jedi Sep 22 '16 at 13:07
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    A Jedi wouldn't use the force unnecessarily, specially if it involves influencing other's minds. – Pedro Werneck Sep 22 '16 at 16:40
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    With all his stealth powers I'm still amazed Obi-Wan wasn't spotted on a very busy military station that was on high alert. I mean, can you imagine an old guy wearing a robe sneaking around the corridors of NORAD? Or a modern day aircraft carrier? – RobertF Sep 22 '16 at 18:28
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    I think Kenobi does use mind tricks; when he needs to get past two guards after shutting down the force field he makes them think they heard something so they look the other way. But part of the Jedi way is to avoid showy tricks and slide past without being noticed. So I see it as more down to Kenobi's character and personal style than a limitation on his abilities with the force. – Paul Johnson Sep 23 '16 at 11:01
5

He does both. Stealth is the safe default, because there are cameras and droids about, neither of which would be susceptible to the Mind Trick, and we can assume that some of the human personnel aboard the Death Star were also too strong minded to be influenced by the trick.

But when we see him encounter a couple of grunts near the tractor beam control panel, he relies on stealth for as long as possible, then uses the Mind Trick to make the Stormtroopers think they heard something from the other direction long enough for Kenobi to escape. He even makes the trademark handwave gesture. See this clip from the video below.

  • Video link is dead – Valorum Sep 27 '18 at 21:46
72

The goal is stealth. Even if he somehow manages to use force-persuasion on everyone he encounters, this still doesn't factor in the possibility of his being seen by a droid, a security monitor or simply someone that he didn't notice. His failing to maintain a stealthy approach could also lead to the others being put at graver risk, not to mention the sheer strain that comes from continually using the Force at an advanced age.

Darth Vader may have sensed Obi-Wan’s presence on the Death Star, but not a single Imperial officer, stormtrooper, or droid noticed Obi-Wan’s stealthy movement through the corridors as he made his way to the nearest generator trench.

Star Wars: A New Hope - Junior Novelisation

There's also the possibility that he encounters someone who doesn't have a weak mind and is hence resistant to mind-tricks.

BEN: The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded. You will find it a powerful ally.

Star Wars: A New Hope - Script

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    Not to mention, it can eventually wear off. – Zibbobz Sep 22 '16 at 16:51
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    Also, ObiWan was not sure DV was already on his tracks (as proven by the book quote above), but using Force powers left and right would be like lighting a beacon on himself. – Mindwin Sep 22 '16 at 18:17
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    @Mindwin - All signs point to Kenobi not (consciously) knowing that Vader was on the Death Star until he practically walked into him; scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/9185/… – Valorum Sep 22 '16 at 18:19
30

The first movie Star Wars came out before there were any books so you can't count the books which expanded on the movie. You can only consider evidence in the movie itself. That's my starting premise. Obi Wan's power of persuasion works on 1 or 2 people at a time and is not 100% effective. In Mos Eisley he failed to persuade the guy who picked a fight with Luke. On the death star he distracted 2 troopers with a hand gesture. But he was never shown to influence a whole squadron. A good example of BOSS like total mind control powers would be E.E. Doc Smith's Lensmen novels. Or X-Men's Professor Xavier.

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    +1 just for the point of being unable to persuade the man with the death sentence in 10 systems – user46509 Sep 22 '16 at 15:05
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    The official novelization of the first movie was actually published nearly 6 months before the movie was released. – chepner Sep 22 '16 at 15:21
  • "I have the death sentence on twelve systems" - Dr. Cornelius Evazan – Stealth Rabbi Sep 23 '16 at 13:21
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    @StealthRabbi for years I though he had decadence in 10 systems. – user46509 Sep 23 '16 at 20:30
  • @ATB 12 parsecs, 12 death sentences. – Stealth Rabbi Sep 24 '16 at 3:37
8

At least as of the first movie, Obi-Wan can't just "broadcast" his Mind Trick: it seems that he has to interact directly with anyone he wants to affect. Later movies have shown that the hand-waving gesture may not be necessary: Rey uses it when shackled to a chair, unable to move her arms. But we never see anybody affect someone without at least speaking to them. Actually speaking is probably not as important as communicating your suggestion in some way, but we never see anyone use the trick without speaking, so we can't confirm that.

This makes the Jedi Mind Trick unsuitable for infiltrating a crowded space station. Although Obi-Wan could probably affect many people on board, the need for communication and the station's own architecture make it unlikely he could affect them all. The guy at the other end of the hallway, safely out of earshot, would likely not be affected. Same for the people watching the security cameras, if they had the sound turned off.

And now I'm imagining Obi-Wan walking down the hallway, carrying a big sign saying "YOU DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THE OLD MAN WITH THE BIG SIGN".

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    Or carrying a sign saying "YOU DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THE OLD MAN WITH THE BIG SIGN SAYING "YOU DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THE OLD MAN WITH THE BIG SIGN SAYING "YOU DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THE OLD MAN WITH THE BIG SIGN... – Nic Hartley Sep 25 '16 at 3:11
  • An alternative phrasing on the sign may be "THE END IS NIGH" which ought to have a much better effect – DeadMG Sep 25 '16 at 13:29
3

Obi-Wan has the power to persuade minds, so why not just use it and run through like a boss?

Does dominating the mind of every living being you encounter sound like the Light side approach?

It sure sounds like something that only a user of the Dark side of the force would do, especially when there's a choice.


A few comments have pointed this out, but nobody wrote it up as an answer. For example, Paul Johnson commented:

But part of the Jedi way is to avoid showy tricks and slide past without being noticed. So I see it as more down to Kenobi's character and personal style than a limitation on his abilities with the force.

1

Maybe he is using the force, but rather than mind-controlling everyone he is simply exuding a general "I'm no one, don't mind me" vibe. So people see him, but disregard him as unimportant.

This is conjecture of course; there is no canon explanation other than the implication that Obi Wan is really really good at sneaking.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

protected by Community Sep 23 '16 at 3:33

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