WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Obi-Wan Kenobi.
From the moment he entered the picture, Darth Vader has been a captivating presence in Obi-Wan Kenobi. That’s been par for the course for Disney thus far, as we have been lucky to see Vader in his prime in Rogue One, Jedi: Fallen Order and even more so in Kenobi.
Yet, there is something distinctly different about his aura in Kenobi. Rather than dispatching a nameless corridor of Rebels or snuffing out the last links of the Jedi Order, this time, Vader has a personal investment to his foe, or, lost friend.
This individual motive, brilliantly highlighted with that training montage from Episode V, has been the lifeblood behind Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, Vader has made a number of unique moves throughout that raise the question of just what exactly he is pursuing and whether it will be satisfied in next week’s finale.
Part III delivers our first real look at Hayden Christensen in action. It becomes immediately clear that he is out for revenge against Kenobi, aiming to replicate the same pain that he suffered after being left for dead on Mustafar. And he hands Kenobi just that, easily defeating him in combat and setting him ablaze in a pit of fire on Jabuzo.
Many have taken to the Internet to suggest that if it was really killing Kenobi that Vader was after, he simply could have brushed away the fire that followed to thwart his escape. And that is true. However, Vader is not just looking to kill Kenobi. He wants to make him suffer. This was just the first part of that.
One thing we have to come to learn about Vader, though, is that he is as impatient as he was as a padawan. Thus, in Part V, his temper begins to boil over as the journey to finding Kenobi proves more challenging than expected. Him ripping a transport ship into smithereens shows just that.
Part V also introduces a fundamental shift in who is leading the charge, too. Initially, Vader left pursuing Kenobi to Reva and the Inquisitors as he would for any other Jedi in the galaxy. She then betrayed that trust and revealed her desire for revenge by trying to defeat him on Jabiim.
After defeating Reva, Vader mentions that he knew about her origins all along, as a youngling at the Jedi Temple. Thus, “killing” her represents him finishing off another part of his past. He is still trying to abandon any evidence of his life as Anakin Skywalker, even ten years after the fact.
Kenobi remains the last step in doing that. This is not about Leia or Luke, as Vader does not even know he has children at this point in the timeline. This is not about proving himself to the Emperor. This is about Kenobi. Vader was unsatisfied with their reunion. Now, seeing that Obi-Wan is still as capable as he remembers, he wants to prove he is stronger than his master, this time, for good.
How will that pan out knowing there’s another meeting looming in A New Hope? Hard to say. Yet it’s clear that Obi-Wan Kenobi has been building toward one final fight that will give Vader what he wants, or perhaps, reveal another motive, too.
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