Having seen the Clone Wars animated series, where Anakin's abilities are comprehensively demonstrated (can make high altitude jumps and drag non-Jedi troopers with him without crashing into the ground, etc.), and also taking into consideration that Darth Vader can buckle an entire room at the end of Revenge of the Sith, it seems surprising that Anakin would lose the fight against Obi-wan. For example, in The Clone Wars, Anakin traveled to the center of force where he took down the light side of the force with one hand the the dark side of the force with the other.

How could Obi-wan have been a match for Anakin in the battle at Mustafar?

  • 4
    Remember the Higher Ground dialogue?
    – user931
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 8:33
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    Are you willing to accept any answers? Also, the rage at being bested by Obi-Wan and being trapped in the Vader costume to preserve his life were the source of his power to buckle the entire room at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Obi-Wan was also his teacher; who know a student's weakness better than his mentor?
    – methuseus
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 9:44
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    It's important to remember that while the movies and tv show are now "equally canon", at the time of production, they were not. According to Lucas, Anakin was not such a significantly better fighter that he could easily defeat Obi-Wan. Dave Filoni and the staff of The Clone Wars wrote Anakin as being more powerful than Lucas did. Additionally, TCW was produced years after RotS, making it a retcon that failed to match up correctly.
    – phantom42
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 17:32
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    There are some good answers to this here, but I don't think Obi-Wan's claim of the "high ground" being unbeatable is one of them. It's shown in the Phantom Menace that Obi-Wan was able to best a far superior lightsaber duelist (Darth Maul), despite Maul having significantly more high ground that Obi-Wan did in RotS, and despite being unarmed and at a complete disadvantage.
    – Liesmith
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 19:45
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    In the immortal words of Han Solo, "Easy?!? You call that easy?"
    – Daniel
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 2:16

8 Answers 8


I do agree with other posts in the sense that Obi-Wan was a master of form III, which was said to directly counter Anakin. I have an additional point though which I believe explains the way the movies play out.

I think what is lost here is that through the course of the fight, we see a parallel between the two fighting styles. The fact that the two use force push at the exact same time is evidence of this (although the freeze frame looks silly here):

enter image description here

You see many sequences where the two follow the same sequence of attacks if you watch closely. That explains the stalemate for much of the fight. The two knew each other so well that they could predict each others attacks.

Towards the conclusion of the fight, we see Anakin somewhat taunt Obi-Wan when he is ready to finish him:

Anakin Skywalker: [raises his lightsaber] This is the end for you... my former master.

And I think we see that when Obi-Wan escapes even after Anakin made his victory claim immediately angers and enrages him:

enter image description here

After this, Anakin goes on tilt and makes a mistake (ask any MOBA player what that is like) and the fight is lost.

In conclusion, I believe the movies show us that the duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan is nearly a complete stalemate. When Anakin could not break the defense of the Form III he becomes frustrated and fatigued (remember its really really hot on Mustafar) and he acts outside of his training and knowledge, leaving himself vulnerable and costing him the battle. This is the perfect reason why Form III is so strong on a Jedi and why the fight in the end goes to Obi-Wan.

Also, the goal of many Soresu practitioners was to prolong the fight, the idea being to cause the enemy to become fatigued or frustrated as they attempted to keep up their offense.[4] However, this tactic ran the risk of fatiguing the user if said user was to face an adversary who could maintain an aggressive but cautious offense.[15] - Wookieepedia on Form III

  • "Arrogance is the downfall to all Jedi" -Yoda
    – Virusboy
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 0:14
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    Hmm...speak like that, Yoda does not
    – MAF
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 4:19
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    Upvoted purely for unintentionally hilarious screenshot of a near high-five. Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 15:00
  • @DrRDizzle It reminds me of that scene from Titanic.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 15:04

Obi-Wan Kenobi is a Master Jedi*

He is a diplomat first and foremost but he is also one of the greatest strategists the Jedi order had at the time period. Despite his preference for diplomacy, Master Kenobi was known as one of the greatest swordsmen the order had ever seen, and the definitive master of Form III (Soresu) lightsaber combat. In his early years, Kenobi had become very skilled with Form IV: (Ataru), but later abandoned it because of its lack of defense that resulted in the death of his master, Qui-Gon Jinn. Kenobi also knew elements of the Form VIII (Sokan).

Along with Kenobi's lightsaber mastery, he was very advanced in the art of mind trick and force persuasion. He had learned from the spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn the ability to become a Force ghost, something he later used to guide and counsel Luke Skywalker

Knowing all this it is not hard to presume that Obi manoeuvred Anakin to a no win position where he then could apprehend him. In the movie he doesn't want to kill Anakin. Kenobi pleads with Anakin to stop, but Anakin is too far gone to the rage and his only goal is to kill Kenobi. All other objectives are a distant secondary.

That is why he cant see past the next move he has to make. Obi Wan is detached, fights defensively as that is his preferred mode of attack. He waits, bides his time and watches for a mistake. At the end Anakin has put himself in a bad position but because of his rage and single minded desire to kill Obi-Wan he fails to plan ahead and that is why he looses.

  • Most of that is compilation from other sites, wiki pages and cannon sources.
  • Are we talking about the same Obi-wan who got his butt kicked by Dooku in a saber fight (even with the help of Anakin), who is actually in turn bested by Anakin? Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 9:29
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    well if you are just going to find counter points then i dont understand why you asked the question in the first place. I do understand that Anakin is better in your mind and that you are disapointed why he didnt win. Facts are that Anakin did loose and I tried explaining why and how.
    – Cherubel
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 10:40
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    @CagdasOzgenc There is no other explanation than what Cherubel gave. Anakin IS better than Obi-Wan, but not thinking straight can cause you to make mistakes that would give your opponent the upper hand Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 10:50
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    @CagdasOzgenc BUT HE DID. DEAL WITH IT Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 11:05
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    @CagdasOzgenc Unlike what role-playing games have conditioned us to believe over the last few decades, combat skill is not a numerical statistic on an ordinal scale, with the one with the Higher Stat being victorious. In that particular fight, in those circumstances, Obi-wan had the upper hand. Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 16:57

Obi-wan pleads Anakin not to jump. His exact words are somewhat like these "Do not try Anakin! I have the higher ground." Means he was pretty sure he would win if Anakin made that jump. Also, let us assume Anakin tried to jump to the side. But by that time Obi-wan would also have reached there and delivered an equally fatal blow. After all, he is a Jedi Master too and he is the one who mentored Anakin.

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    Doesn't make any sense. That robot he is standing on can be lead to a safe landing zone. Or he could have killed Obi-wan just with his mind like he buckled that entire room. You can also see Palpatine's skills in Clone Wars animation series, where he killed two guards without even being in the room. Clearly Anakin had similar skills. This duel was the biggest BS in Star Wars series. Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 8:42
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    Blinded by arrogance; in his mind he was jumping to a safe zone.
    – Jaciq
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 9:04
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    I always assumed that this was Anakins "Death by Obi-wan", that there was a large part of him (behind the rage) that wanted to die. Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 9:13
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    @CagdasOzgenc: Hinted at? Other than by this act, no, not that I've seen. Anakin is at an emotional nadir, he's lost everything, the Jedi Order, his friends, even himself (he's aware of what he's done, killing all the young jedi), he's hurt and bullied Padame. He's in dreadful torment. I always read that scene as part of him knowing that Obi-wan will cut him down. He attacks anyway because it'll put an end to his pain. Just the way I read it, doesn't mean I'm right :p Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 10:01
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    @CagdasOzgenc: If you think the powers shown in the Clone Wars (you cited evidence twice in your comments here) demonstrate something that shouldn't happen in RotS then shouldn't your beef be with Clone Wars and not the movie which was released first? Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 15:16

Dooku was a sith, not a master of Form 3, and not overtaken with the rage, (hence his brown eyes). Many circumstances go into battle, and Obi-Wan had all the aspects in his favor to fight an angry Anakin.


Obiwan jumped to high ground because he was facing defeat you can tell by the look on his face before he jumps

It was very evenly matched but dont forget obiwan jumped of that platform for a reason and he was fortunate to gain the high ground in fact

  • I'm not clear how this answers the question; they were unquestionably evenly-matched, but the question is asking how that's possible when Anakin is just, like, so great you guys. Was this perhaps intended as a comment on another answer? Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 15:12

had that fight been in arena style, anakin would have won easily, he was the aggressor throughout the fight and was backing up obi-wan the whole time. anakin just made one stupid mistake. a fight i would have loved to see would be anakin vs mace windu.


Anakin lost because he was still using the Jedi Lightsaber he created while still being a lightside force user. Had he been using a darkside force meditated lightsaber Anakin would have beaten Obi Wan. Anakin was then at a disadvantage using the blue saber and Obi Wan could possibly be advantaged by the Jedi weapon and could possibly predict Anakins movements.

  • Can you provide evidence for this? Why would changing the colour of the lightsaber mean that a person is better or worse at predicting another's movements?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 14:21
  • Color is irrelavant. The crystal/lightsaber construction (to my understanding) requires days of force meditation. Anakin created it under the lightside of force meditation. So someone with the understanding of the lightside would be more in tune with it. One reason it came to Rey instead of Kylo in TFA. If Obi Wan was in yune wiyh the lightside of the force he could foresee the lightsabers force properties and thus the lightsaber Anakin was using was actually working against him. Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 15:22

Anakin Skywalker had a "habit" of losing his light saber. "This weapon is your life!" Obi-wan would tell Anakin. This was made fact in previous Star Wars films. At the end of the fight on Mustufar, Anakin made his leap to confront Obi-wan and he lost his light saber. Anakin's legs and left arm was severed from Obi-wan's light saber slash but his right arm was intact.

  • But why does this explain how Obi-wan defeated Anakin? Anakin had his light saber for the battle.
    – Skooba
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 13:01
  • I'm not really sure I understand where you're going with this. Anakin had his light saber right up until the moment when he made a reckless jump from low ground and got cut down by Obi Wan. The mistake was in the jump
    – Au101
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 13:12
  • You're correct Anakin should not have jumped. The fight was a stand off, no one won. This is basic knowledge with both sith and jedi when there is a stand off, get out of there and fight another day. Bad judgement!
    – mmcubb
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 16:34

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