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This question already has an answer here:

In reference to this question about if Obi-wan become more powerful, I'm curious to know how it was possible for him to become more powerful.

In reference to this quote:

You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

Just after this Darth Vader swings at Obi-wan and just prior to being sliced cleanly in half Obi-wan dissipates, and as such he remains unstruck.

Would Obi-wan have been more powerful if he got Darth Mauled in twain?

marked as duplicate by Zibbobz, Moogle, phantom42, Ward, Shevliaskovic Sep 4 '14 at 14:24

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Since the power was a metaphorical power, as this answer points out scifi.stackexchange.com/a/13877/20533 he didn't, and this question is essentially asking for the same information as in the previous question, but with an added assumption that he wasn't really 'struck down'. – Zibbobz Sep 4 '14 at 13:29
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The answer to this goes back to Qui-Gon Jinn, who was Obi Wan's master and the philosophy they both shared.

The Background

Both Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi were proponents of The Living Force. The Living force was a view on the force that was one of the two major scholarly schools of thought within the Jedi Order. The other, albeit less popular, being The Unifying Force. Wookiepedia does an excellent job of explaining the basics of the philosophy:

The Living Force was thought to be present in most living beings, surrounding and penetrating them, thus making all living things connected by it. The Jedi believed the Living Force relied on their instincts and were attuned to other living beings around them. They were mindful of the future and the possible consequences of their actions, but remained focused on the present.

Being focused on the present was a huge part of Qui-Gon's general attitude. Qui-Gon also uncovered a very powerful secret within the Living force, which was the ability to turn into a Force Ghost. This was a seemingly immortal preservation of a Living Force adherents consciousness. He was not the first to do this, but he was the first in recent history to express knowledge of the ability.

Obi-Wan's Statement

You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

The ultimate goal of almost every single Sith, since the force wars, has been the ability to cheat death. Some succeeded with their own methods, such as Emperor Vitiate or Darth Sion, but none of them were fool proof. This is where the concept of a Force Ghost comes in. To become a Force Ghost, one must convert all of their matter into pure force energy. They remain tethered to this realm, but as non-physical entities. They also appeared to gain an increased awareness.

Examples of his Power

For example, when Yoda fails to defeat Darth Sidious, he places himself into exile on Dagobah. He only appears to tell his driver, Bail Organa. Yet in the films, Obi-Wan seems fully aware of Yoda's whereabouts.

Another is Obi-Wan's ability to appear, at will, to Luke Skywalker during points of turmoil to offer guidance. This seems to imply that Obi-Wan now has the ability to traverse space at will, given that he still exists in the physical realm (albeit as a non-physical entity).

Finally, the big one. He is immortal. As a Jedi, he has a moral duty to give himself up and become one with the force when his work is done, but he does not have the same requirement that the rest of us has. In short, he can choose when to die.

Confrontation with Darth Maul

During the battle with Darth Maul, Qui-Gon had already uncovered and mastered the art of becoming a Force Ghost, however Obi-Wan had not. Qui-Gon had shared his knowledge of the art with Yoda and Obi-wan posthumously. If Obi-Wan had died during the fight, he would have become one with the force.

  • Why, then, did Qui-gon not become a force ghost? – anotherguest Sep 4 '14 at 12:49
  • He did. From Wookiepedia: "Qui-Gon's spirit guided Yoda (Leading him to meet the five priestess) and Obi-Wan Kenobi and revealed to them the secret of retaining one's individuality after becoming one with the Force." – christopher Sep 4 '14 at 13:07
  • Sorry, I thought they always disappeared when they die if they become a force ghost. I remember Qui-gon's body being burned. Is Qui-gon's force ghost still canon (concerning the fact Disney made just the movies canon)? – anotherguest Sep 4 '14 at 15:25
  • My interpretation has been one is prepared to die to become a full-on Force ghost. Obi-Wan, Yoda and Anakin all are, so they appear as specters to Luke. Qui-Gon was cut down and wasn't prepared, so he's only a "vocal" ghost. ("Prepared" may not be the right word here, I hope my meaning is clear.) I don't know if this jibes with canon, but it works for me. – Michael Itzoe Sep 4 '14 at 15:35
  • @anotherguest I must admit to being unsure. I find it somewhat abhorrent that Disney get to obliterate years worth of stories, fiction and material because they intend to re brand it and profit from it. – christopher Sep 4 '14 at 16:06
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He didn't disappear before he got hit, he was killed by Vader and became a Force-ghost. It simply looks like he disappeared before being struck due to special effects limitations in 1977. Such Force-abilities were as-yet unknown when Darth Maul was killed.