The Abandonment of Anakin Skywalker – Revenge of the Sith

I got the idea for this post from reading one of Imperial Talker’s excellent posts on the Sith cheating death, which I also talked about briefly here.

Anakin and Obi-Wan had forged a relationship and friendship, not unlike many other Jedi masters with their padawans (Ahsoka and Anakin come to mind here as well as Obi-Wan and Luke). A bond that is so strong, it rivaled all other bonds, even with the Force.

And I’ve mentioned this in other posts while traversing the complexity of relationships in the Star Wars universe:

“and the pure, uncomplicated love that rose up within him then felt like a promise from the Force itself”

Anyone who has ever been in a relationship that went sour (for whatever reason) might be able to understand the pain that Anakin felt when Obi-Wan referred to him as the brother he loved. Past tense. While this may not seem significant in this scene, it is definitely one of the catalysts in Anakin’s eventual transformation into Darth Vader.

Love turning to hatred is such an essential factor when you think about the Jedi and the Sith and how they view their faith. Does it, therefore, prove that Obi-Wan became a hypocrite by turning on his most beloved friend? Put aside the fact that Obi-Wan was fighting to the death with Anakin. He made the conscious decision to put Anakin into the past with his words:

Via Giphy

“You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you!”

If the Jedi are so forgiving, why couldn’t Obi-Wan forgive Anakin for what he did? Why did Obi-Wan leave Anakin to die? Anakin turning to the dark side of the force, while still a choice, could have been something Obi-Wan had the power to change.

Is it safe to say then, that Obi-Wan chose to abandon Anakin when he was at his most vulnerable? I think so. While this is not a way to point fingers of blame anywhere, it is an important consideration given that Obi-Wan loved Anakin as a brother.

I understand why Obi-Wan walked away. But why didn’t he at least try to help Anakin? Instead, he abandoned him and left him for dead. And the only one that came running to Anakin’s rescue was Darth Sidious. Obviously, for the plot to move forward, this scene was required. But it does pose some interesting questions about the Jedi and their meaning of “unconditional love”.

Perhaps if Obi-Wan had chosen to save Anakin instead of leaving him, this entire story could have been a completely different movie:
Image Credit

Let me know what you think about my post – if you have any answers to the questions in this article, let me know in the comments!

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13 thoughts on “The Abandonment of Anakin Skywalker – Revenge of the Sith

  1. The point you make about Obi-Wan forgiving Anakin is an interesting one. This is yet another topic that would lend itself to the upcoming Kenobi series, with Obi-Wan reflecting on not just forgiving Anakin but his own belief that “he ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader.” It very well could be that in the heat of the moment, given what had transpired and he saw Anakin do (kill younglings, choke Padme, declare his loyalty to Empire) he simply could not bring himself to forgive the man right then. He was too hurt to do so. But perhaps overtime he considered it, he wondered if perhaps Anakin was still alive deep within Vader. I’m not sure. The way Kenobi speaks about him in the Original Trilogy does not necessarily lend to this possibility but, then again, he need not come to the conclusion that Anakin is “in there somewhere” to engage and reflect on forgiveness.

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    1. Yes, exactly. Also, the fact that in his older years, visiting Shmi’s grave seemed like a way of asking for forgiveness for the burden he was unable to bear in keeping Anakin safe. And I think when he finally faced Anakin again as Darth Vader, he made one last sacrifice for his friend in letting the force take him so whatever was left of Anakin wouldn’t have to suffer in that moment. I think Obi-Wan held onto hope that one day, Anakin would still see the way back to the light and fulfill the prophecy as the Chosen One.

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  2. I do not think Obi-Wan went to Mustafar with any intention other than to defeat Anakin. This is reflected in his conversation with Yoda about who was going to face Palpatine and who was going to face Anakin. Obi-Wan practically begged Yoda to let him face Palpatine instead, so I think the two Jedi knew that Anakin was past the point of being turned back to the light.

    I like to think that on the journey to Mustafar, when Obi-Wan was hiding in that closet on Padme’s ship, he was meditating to prepare himself to face his padawan, his brother, his friend. Since Obi-Wan did love him so much, I think Obi-Wan had to mentally abandon Anakin before the ship even arrived. Otherwise, he would not have been able to commit to the battle. So, Anakin was lost to Obi-Wan before they even started to fight. With that in mind, when Obi-Wan finally defeated Anakin, I think he just didn’t have the heart to strike the killing blow. Was it cruel to leave him there? Yes, but walking away was probably the same to Obi-Wan as killing him anyway.

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    1. That’s such an interesting thing you mention there when Obi-Wan couldn’t commit to killing Anakin. I never even thought of that until now but in doing so and sparing Anakin’s life, he single-handedly helped to create one of the strongest Sith Lords to ever exist. And if Obi-Wan had killed Anakin, we wouldn’t have a story without Darth Vader. For the story’s sake, I guess that was going to happen anyway since George had already written everything at that point. But that’s such an important event in so many ways. And when Darth Vader finally faced Obi-Wan again, he couldn’t exact revenge on him for leaving him on Mustafar because Obi-Wan gave himself to the Force before he could. Oh, I could talk about this for hours πŸ˜€ Thanks for the comment πŸ™‚

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      1. Haha I could talk about it for hours also. Something else I just thought of, is that if Obi-Wan had killed Anakin, he would not have went on to eventually fulfill the prophesy of bringing balance to the force. So, yes, Obi-Wan did help create one of the strongest Sith Lords ever, but he also helped indirectly fulfill the prophesy by helping to create said Sith Lord… Hmmm…

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      2. It’s all leading up to Anakin fulfilling the prophecy one way or another. So Obi-Wan did have a direct part to play in Anakin turning (at the very end at least but Anakin was turning towards the dark way before that I think) creating Darth Vader but also in being able to become Anakin Skywalker again. So yeah, you’re right, no matter how you look at it, the good far outweighs the bad in this situation (even though Anakin killed children and countless others in the process). It sort of links back to one of my other posts about the light side and dark side πŸ™‚

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  3. I wholeheartedly agree. I think that Obi Wan chose not to kill and saw himself as sparing Anakin. In truth Obi Wan could have chosen to do something positive like save him. Instead he only spared himself a difficult decision.

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    1. Thanks for commenting! And yeah, I have since come to think that is exactly what Obi-Wan was doing in Mustafar although I still think that he carried a lot of guilt with him long afterwards with his trips to Shmi’s grave on Tatooine.

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