Obi-Wan Kenobi finale has a huge Darth Vader problem
To quote Haja Estree, “That was underwhelming.”
The constant tease of a possible Darth Vader appearance has always been among the biggest draws of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ever since Lucasfilm’s top brass revealed Hayden Christensen’s involvement during the Disney Investor’s Day presentation in December 2020, the promise of a rematch between Vader and Kenobi has set hearts aflutter the world over. Now that we’ve seen all but one episodes of the series... is that all there is? Is the “rematch” that was promised only that weird fire encounter from all the way back in Episode 3? Here’s what we know for sure.
At the end of Episode 5, Reva took a saber to the gut courtesy of Lord Vader, but that doesn’t stop her from stumbling upon the hologram message left by Bail Organa. This will liekly send her to Tatooine and force a final confrontation with Obi-Wan. But will Darth Vader be there?
It doesn’t make airtight sense — if Darth Vader knew about Luke, why would he let him grow up and ultimately join the Rebellion? It would be far easier to simply eliminate him. In the comics, he commissions a number of bounty hunters to find a young Luke, which also wouldn’t parse with him knowing a mere 10 years after Order 66.
So... is that a wrap on Vader for Obi-Wan Kenobi? It’s hard to envision a situation where returns to his home planet on Tatooine, so if he has any more appearances, it’ll probably be in a flashback or looming from his ship, which is an underwhelming prospect.
The confrontation between Vader and Obi-Wan in the middle of the season was certainly fiery — in both senses of the word. But the encounter lacked the gravitas a long-awaited fight between the former master and apprentice demands. If anything is worth a series finale emphasis, it’s this fight.
Then there’s the issue of Reva. If Obi-Wan’s final enemy is Reva, not Vader, the conversations they had in Episode 5 undercut their rivalry. They no longer completely at odds — both want to see Vader fall. So why would they fight each other? Even if Reva uses Luke to claw her way back into the good graces of the Inquisitors, she has a grudge against Vader and therefore against the Empire as a whole. Her loyalties are murky, which is not something you want in a Star Wars supervillain.
Obi-Wan Kenobi seems to have painted itself into a corner. There’s no obvious way to bring back Vader without making the ending non-canonical, but the ending won’t be satisfying without him. It’s going to take some truly Herculean threading of the needle to pull off a decent finale. May the Force be with them.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is now streaming on Disney+.