The Reason Anakin And Obi-Wan's Duel Is A Perfect Masterpiece
Do You Agree?
Comic Book Resources recently posted about how, in the annals of the Star Wars saga, the Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi duel was such a genius masterpiece, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts about this as well. From the time before George Lucas brought the story of the rise and eventual fall of galactic legend turned dark villain Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader), we learned some important things throughout the original Star Wars trilogy about the man who would become the evil Sith Lord and servant to the even more malevolent Sith Lord Darth Sidious (aka Emperor Palpatine).
What did we learn? Well, to recap, in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, upon their first meeting, wizened Jedi Knight Obi Wan Kenobi first tells a young Luke Skywalker that Luke's father had once been a Jedi Knight who had been murdered by a pupil of Obi-Wan's known as Darth Vader, introduced earlier in the film as the story's main antagonist. In Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, in a (then) surprising twist, we learn that Darth Vader is actually Luke Skywalker's father, prompting Obi-Wan to have to clarify his previous statements that he made "from a certain point of view" in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. In that movie, Obi-Wan and Yoda confirm that Darth Vader is indeed Luke Skywalker's father, and Obi-Wan further reveals that Darth Vader was once a man known as Anakin Skywalker. As he further reveals, Anakin was once a powerful young Jedi Knight who tragically became "seduced by the dark side of the force" and subsequently betrayed and murdered other Jedi, going on to serve the Galactic Empire under the thrall of his master, Emperor Palpatine. It was with this knowledge that Luke resolved to seek another encounter with Vader and attempt to turn him back to the light side of the Force. After Vader's final duel with Luke and seeing Palpatine attempting to kill Luke for refusing to succumb to the dark side, Vader betrayed and killed Palpatine, becoming, in essence, Anakin Skywalker again before dying and passing into the Force.
With all of this setup, as well as the announcement that George Lucas would be expanding the Star Wars saga into the historical time period prior to the original trilogy, it was clear to everybody that we would finally get to see Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi at their prime, as well as finally seeing how Palpatine "seduced" Anakin into joining him, how the Galactic Empire was formed, and, most notably, how Anakin would become, in Obi-Wan's famous words, "more machine than man, twisted and evil". It was expected that Lucas would pull out all of the stops to give us an amazing and no-holds barred final showdown between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Although feelings about the prequel trilogy in general have been considerably mixed, Lucas undeniably delivered with the inevitable duel between the two characters in the climax of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. There are so many positive things to say about it: John Williams' epic new musical composition "The Battle of the Heroes" that plays throughout the duel, the stunt and choreography work that went into creating the amazing duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan on the volcanic planet Mustafar (which was visually impressive in and of itself), and the surprise (at least to me at the time) intercutting between the Anakin and Obi-Wan duel and Yoda's parallel duel with Darth Sidious on Coruscant.
In their article, Comic Book Resources also discussed the more detailed dynamics of Anakin and Obi-Wan's competing styles of lightsaber dueling, with Anakin's fast and aggressive fighting style (Form V) against Obi-Wan's more defensive style (Form III) and how the contest between them was basically so well-matched that the fate of the galaxy could have turned based on which of them got exhausted first. CBR also noted that Obi-Wan almost certainly learned from his previous encounter with the Sith Lord Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. In that film, it was actually Obi-Wan's opponent, Darth Maul, who had the "high ground" there, but, through Obi-Wan's use of the Force and, likely, the element of surprise (judging by the shocked look on Darth Maul's face), Obi-Wan ultimately won that duel, slicing Darth Maul in half and sending his body tumbling down a reactor shaft (but, as we learn later, not to his death). The good folks at How It Should Have Ended had a hilarious take on that scene that imagines an entirely different outcome for Obi-Wan that is worth viewing, if only for a good laugh.
Obi-Wan's victory over Anakin during their fateful duel finally comes when Anakin, consumed with hate and anger of the dark side freely flowing through him, makes the rash move of lunging from a platform onto a nearby lava bank in order to get at a calmer and more composed Obi-Wan, despite Obi-Wan's attempts to warn the more headstrong Anakin against making such a move. Anakin's impulsive move ultimately provides Obi-Wan with an opening to dismember several of Anakin's limbs and leaves Anakin laying helplessly near lava river. This further results in Anakin's body gruesomely catching fire while Obi-Wan abandons Anakin to his fate, which, at the time, Obi-Wan thought would be his death. However, as we all know, the final chapter of Anakin Skywalker's tragic story, had not yet been written.
Written By Mara Butler
Syndicated From Culture Slate