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In Episode 5 of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Vader has tracked Obi-Wan and the rebels to their base and sabotaged their hangar roof so they cannot easily leave. The Empire then proceeded to try and attack the rebels through a series of doors. In the end the rebels manage to open the hangar roof and escape with a ship.

Why did the Empire not simply block this escape route? They had a big battle ship in orbit, which could just wait above the hangar and shoot anything which comes out. They could also have launched TIE fighters to circle above the hangar.

I'm mostly interested in canon explanations, but in-universe explanations based on Star Wars lore and logic are also appreciated.

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  • I'm not interested in answers like "because the plot demanded it" or "because the writers had no better idea"
    – Falco
    Jun 20, 2022 at 7:19
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    As with most things Empire related: they were over confident and probably a little scared interfering with Vader. They thought they had Obi-Wan trapped so didn't think they could escape. Also Vader was on the ground; he might have let the ship escape for some reason: better not interfere and get choked out.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jun 20, 2022 at 7:54
  • I'm not familiar with this specific incident but in general, in Star Wars, trying to use a battleship to shoot down a single small craft escaping a hangar is a bit like trying to hunt flies with a hammer - it's not likely to work and you're very likely to break something else in the process.
    – Cadence
    Jun 20, 2022 at 11:43
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    @Cadence On the other hand, I believe we've also had Leia, I think, talk about how they couldn't escape Hoth and probably other places because the Empire had a 2D arrangement of a small number of ships around a 3D planet, in principle giving them quite a lot of directions to move in that take them away from enemy ships. Evidently that's just not good enough. Jun 20, 2022 at 17:26
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    @zibadawatimmy But all of the Rebel transports escaped Hoth despite the Star Destroyers (admittedly, partly because they were using the ion cannon to 'discourage' the Imperials). And the Falcon escaped Tatooine despite at least two Star Destroyers taking an interest in it. In general it seems like they aren't a very good solution to escaping small craft, at least without launching their own fighters.
    – Cadence
    Jun 20, 2022 at 19:11

1 Answer 1

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Recall the scene where Vader is being told they could do such things, and Vader's response is simply "Obi-Wan is already ours."

What this means is that this entire thing has been a plot to trap Obi-Wan and force him into surrendering to Vader. That scene is where Vader declares (more or less correctly) that this plot had succeeded.

Vader does no want there to be any way for them to leave that compound. There must be total desperation of inevitability to force Obi-Wan's hand. Otherwise, Obi-Wan and the rebels might have an opening to escape. Aerial attacks over the hangar aren't a sure thing, as this depends on the accuracy of shooters; and Storm Troopers have atrocious accuracy. Even if they're very frequently lethal, there's still that chance in all the chaos and dust thrown up that Obi-Wan could escape.

And the worst case of all? He doesn't escape and just gets unceremoniously killed off. Vader doesn't want that at all. He wants to face down, humiliate, maybe torture some more, and ultimately end his former Master himself. Letting some random fighter pilot or bombardment ordinance do it is just unacceptable. Likely everyone under his command knows this as well, and they are operating under explicit or implicit orders to capture Obi-Wan alive at all costs.

That's why they keep that hangar closed. They had to close it in advance of their arrival just in case Obi-Wan and the rebels were already able to flee at a moment's notice. They keep it closed to cut off all hope for Obi-Wan and drive him into Vader's hands. They don't just try to bomb or strafe it because that's contrary to the entire goal of capturing Obi-Wan alive; capturing the rebels alive in an attempt to get further intel out of them might be nice, but that's just the cherry on top to Vader.

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