In Episode IV, Vader senses Obi-Wan's presence on the Death Star. In a conversation with Governor Tarkin, he states that, "Escape is not his plan. I must face him alone".

How does he know what Obi-Wan's plans are? What does he believe them to be?

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    The obvious? It would make no sense to Vader for Obi-Wan to go to all the trouble to get onto the Death Star just to escape?In Vader's mind, wouldn't you expect Obi-Was to be there to confront him and foil the plans to use the Death Star, since he had participated with Obi-Wan on other such missions? In other words, he was probably operating under the assumption that he knew his former mentor pretty well, and could use that knowledge to come to the mist logical conclusion of what Obi-Wan's plan was. Fleeing wasn't Obi-Wan's modus operandi, typically. Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 12:40
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    @DavidStratton He could have been there to rescue Leia and escape. That's pretty logical and obvious, isn't it? (Also, most of your obvious assumes that Episodes I, II, and III, and the rest of the expanded universe were available prior to IV.) Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 16:49
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    @DavidStratton - Obi-Wan didn't INTEND to get onto a Death Star Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 18:08

2 Answers 2


Any Jedi of significant power has the ability to hide their use of the Force from another Jedi. While Vergere was by far the best at this - she described the process as "making myself small" - it is a skill that is shown, in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, to have been reasonably prevalent among the Jedi.

In Destiny's Way Vergere, a Sith apprentice and former Jedi Knight, describes the process and successfully eludes Luke Skywalker's ability to detect her through the Force despite sitting several metres in front of him in plain sight. In Before the Storm Luke Skywalker states that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda must have been "at least as powerful" as the Emperor in order to remain hidden from him. Skywalker also needed to actively probe potential Jedi's minds to confirm to himself that they were really Jedi in The Jedi Academy Trilogy. Simply being in the same room as them or nearby was not enough for him to sense their presence. Vader also failed to recognise Princess Leia as possessing Jedi capabilities, even while he was torturing her, when such latent abilities are reasonably likely to have manifested.

It seems apparent, from these hints, that Kenobi could have kept his presence on the Death Star hidden from Vader had he wished. It is likely, then, that Kenobi deliberately allowed Vader to sense his presence. You will also note that Vader does not simply storm the ship to face Kenobi then and there. It is possible, then, that Obi-Wan allowed Vader to sense his presence but deliberately misled Vader as to his location and/ or intentions. What Vader actually believe Kenobi's intentions to be is never stated, but there are several possibilities, of which destroying the Death Star and/ or killing Vader could have occurred to Vader.

As for facing Kenobi alone; the last time Vader saw Kenobi, the latter defeated him in battle, cut him in half and left him for dead. It's quite conceivable that Vader wanted to gain revenge on Kenobi as well as prove - to Kenobi, Palpatine, and himself - that he was the better warrior of the two.

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    Any Jedi of significant power has the ability to hide their use of the Force from another Jedi - Vergere is the first jedi to demonstrate that ability and that was during the NJO. Prior to the clone war it was not a skill anyone really needed.
    – Chad
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 17:23
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    Vergere left the galaxy before the Clone Wars began. Palpatine clearly had the ability the hide his use of the Force from the Jedi, as he literally sat across tables from them on a regular basis without anyone suspecting he was a Sith Lord until he revealed himself to Anakin Skywalker. Vergere is simply the first case of the ability being explicitly described. Kenobi's presence onboard Padme's ship also came as a surprise to Vader in ROTS. Not using the Force is a simple method of hiding, but there are also cases of Jedi or Sith disguising themselves while actively using the Force. Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 11:00
  • Palpatine was a Sith not a Jedi. Sith have different abilities due to the fact that they use their emotions rather that suppressing them. It mentions in one of the NJO that she learned to suppress her force aura after the fall of the Jedi.
    – Chad
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 13:40
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    Vergere left before the fall of the Jedi and did not know of their destruction until after the Yuuzhan Vong invasion began. Recall her surprise at finding out a man named "Skywalker" was a Jedi Master? Palpatine had indeed mastered many powers that were either unknown to or considered off-limits by the Jedi. But, as I mentioned, Luke Skywalker mentioned in Before the Storm the existence of similar abilities among the Jedi Masters. Yoda and Kenobi both successfully hid from Palpatine and Vader respectively for short periods in Revenge of the Sith. Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 13:47
  • There is a short story/e-book that describes Vergere's mission. In that it was said she felt it and "knew" that the order was no more through the force. The surprise was that the order existed at all.
    – Chad
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 13:57

Obi Wan and Anakin Skywalker served together as Jedi for many years. During that time the two of them grew to know each other in the force and be able to read each others intentions. This is demonstrated though out the Clone Wars books and Television series.

So while the years would have dulled that sense it is quite reasonable that Vader would have been able to sense his basic intent. The desire to engage is quite different from the desire to escape. The ripples in the forces would have felt more on the hunt rather than must escape.

Vader leaped to the conclusion that he was hunting Vader, rather than trying to find and deactivate the tractor beam power source. Especially when he found out the Jedi came alone in a craft that would require more than just himself to escape the Death star. This was the type of mission that Vader had gone on many times with Obi Wan(see the TV Series). A suicide mission into a heavily fortified enemy space station was just another day in the order. This leads to a reasonable conclusion that Vader is the Jedi's target. Had Vader considered that he might lose then the Dark Lord might have set in place some defenses to prevent the escape post battle.

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