The Obi-Wan Kenobi Finale Echoes The Best Scene In Star Wars: Rebels

This post contains spoilers for the finale of "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

The live-action "Star Wars" shows on Disney+ have gone a long way to bring years of animated stories to larger audiences, reintroducing fan-favorite characters and imagery, and sometimes rehashing story beats and replicating moments beat-for-beat.

Though it sometimes feels a bit redundant — Boba's arc in "The Book of Boba Fett" echoes some of the character's inner conflict in "The Clone Wars;" the upcoming "Ahsoka" show seems to be a live-action sequel to her animated adventures — there are also opportunities to deepen both the animated and live-action realms. What once felt like two completely separate worlds now actually feels like a cohesive universe. 

Case in point: the finale to "Obi-Wan Kenobi" comes straight out of a pivotal scene from "Star Wars: Rebels."

Battle of the Heroes

For five episodes, we've followed Obi-Wan as he's felt the weight of the world on his shoulders, bearing the guilt and responsibility of the fall of the Republic, the Jedi, and his best friend. He failed to defeat Anakin, leaving him badly wounded and burning alive on Mustafar, and then he utterly failed to even be a good sparring partner to Darth Vader in episode 3. 

Unsurprisingly, things start going Darth's way when master and apprentice meet again in the season finale. Indeed, Vader even gains the high ground (finally!) after he quite literally breaks the ground from under Obi-Wan, showing himself worthy of his reputation as the Emperor's Fist.

But when Obi-Wan stops fighting to avenge his former student, but to protect Luke and Leia, he finds new strength that evens the match. This allows him to beat the living crap out of the support system on Vader's armor and even slash off his helmet, revealing the man inside the machine.

This is straight out "Star Wars: Rebels," specifically its season 2 finale, titled "Twilight of the Apprentice." In that episode, we see the long-awaited face-off between Vader and Ahsoka, a chance for the former to kill another connection to Anakin Skywalker's life, and to prove to his former master, his current one, and even himself that he is no longer the boy from Tatooine, but a true Lord of the Sith. For Ahsoka, however, this is a chance to confirm what she fears the most: that the vile leader of the Inquisitors is none other than her former master and friend.

Duel of the Fates

Their fight is absolutely worth the hype (and this episode also includes Maul fighting the Inquisitors!), with the show's redesign for the lightsabers making the duel feel like a samurai standoff. After an epic show of skill where Ahsoka proves to be just as powerful as the man formerly known as Anakin, she manages to slash off the right side of Vader's helmet. While Ahsoka was certain her master was dead and gone, and she was willing to kill Vader to get revenge, everything changes once Vader screams out "Ahsoka!" Not in that deep, machine-like voice, but in the familiar voice of Matt Lanter — who voiced Anakin all throughout "The Clone Wars." 

Sure, it makes no sense for us to see Anakin's face pre-lava, complete with facial hair, but hearing Lanter's voice while seeing Anakin with Sith-yellow eyes hits like a ton of bricks. For Ahsoka, seeing the man she once knew right in front of her, with the weight of knowing she could have been with him and saved him from falling to the dark side, is too much. She promises not to abandon Anakin this time. Of course, Vader has other plans, telling Ahsoka "then you will die" if she stays. This is the moment Anakin truly dies in Ahsoka's eyes.

Not only is the mask-slashing moment replicated in "Obi-Wan Kenobi," but Vader even repeats the "then you will die" line. In another bit of what George Lucas would call poetic rhyming, Kenobi greets Vader by repeating a line from the last of the prequel movies: "I will do what I must."

The helmet-slashing works well in both shows because "Kenobi" doesn't repeat it for the sake of repeating it, but as an example of the cycular nature of "Star Wars." Plus it just looks cool, and sometimes that's enough.

From a certain point of view

While the fight worked in "Rebels" because it was the emotional first meeting between Vader and Ahsoka, "Kenobi" already gave us that first meeting in episode 3. Instead, the scene built off five and a half episodes of Obi-Wan feeling guilty for Anakin's fate and responsible for the fate of the galaxy after he failed to stop Anakin (even though their duel took place after Anakin already killed the younglings and after Order 66 killed most Jedi). Indeed, the scene works because, like Ahsoka, Obi-Wan believed his former padawan was dead and gone — until he saw his face.

Upon seeing his face, Obi-Wan breaks into tears, apologizing to the man he left for dead on Mustafar, with Ewan McGregor delivering one phenomenal performance with a simple "I'm sorry, Anakin" as he tries to appeal to the man beneath the armor.

But Vader won't have it. As James Earl Jones' voice dissipates in favor of Hayden Christensen's, the Sith Lord seemingly absolves Obi-Wan of his guilt, saying he did not kill Anakin Skywalker. Instead, as Christensen's voice once again morphs into the robotic and threatening sounds of James Earl Jones, and the blue reflection of Kenobi's lightsaber on Vader disappear in favor of his bright blood red lightsaber, Vader tells the old Jedi that he killed Anakin. We even see a smirk from Anakin as he says so, a moment of cheerful pride in what he considers an achievement.

This is the moment where Vader fully kills Anakin in the eyes of Obi-Wan, where he becomes more machine than man. After this, there is no return for the once bright-eyed kid from Tatooine. Not until one farm boy sees things differently, and forever changes the galaxy.

"Obi-Wan Kenobi" is streaming on Disney+.