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The Ending Of Obi-Wan Kenobi Part III Explained

Though it may seem hard to believe, we've already reached the halfway point in "Obi-Wan Kenobi," and as such it should come as no surprise that Part III marks a major turning point for the former Jedi master. Part III picks up mere moments after the jaw-dropping ending of Part II, wherein Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) discovered that Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) had not perished after their duel on Mustafar, but had survived to become the ruthless Sith lord Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones).

In Part III, Obi-Wan and Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) escape to an Empire-occupied mining planet called Mapuzo, where a probe droid quickly manages to identify Obi-Wan, alerting Vader to his presence. Though it seemed inevitable that we might see a duel between the Sith lord and his former master at some point in the series, nobody could have expected that Vader would take matters into his own hands this quickly. Vader and his Inquisitors arrive on Mapuzo in record time, and — in a scene reminiscent of the "hallway massacre" from "Rogue One" — Vader begins brutally executing the innocent townspeople in order to draw his old master out of hiding. Vader's plan succeeds, and in the episode's climactic final moments, Obi Wan is forced to flee into the desert with the cybernetic Sith lord hot on his heels.

Obi-Wan's fear comes back to haunt him

Earlier in the episode, Leia asked Obi-Wan what it felt like to use the force. "Have you ever been afraid of the dark?" Obi-Wan responded. "How does it feel when you turn on the light?" Obi-Wan compares the feeling of the force to the safety of the light when you're surrounded by darkness -– and this metaphor is put to great effect as Obi-Wan finds himself in a pitch-black desert, being chased by the malevolent Darth Vader. As we watch the normally well-composed Obi-Wan stumble through the darkness, constantly looking over his shoulder, it becomes clear that he is absolutely terrified of what his former padawan has become. When the Sith lord calls out "You cannot run, Obi-Wan," the Jedi ignites his lightsaber for the first time in the series –- purely out of fear. Mirroring his earlier metaphor about the force, Obi-Wan uses his lightsaber as a light in the dark, searching the night for danger and spinning around wildly as he tries to get a good look at his foe.

When Vader does eventually emerge from the darkness, Obi-Wan confronts him, saying "What have you become?" to which Vader responds, "I am what you made me." Throughout the series Obi-Wan has been shown to feel immense guilt over what happened to Anakin, and blames himself for his padawan's descent into the dark side of the force. This exchange begs the question — does he fear to face Darth Vader because of the Sith's power? Or because he is a reminder of Obi-Wan's own failures? The answer, perhaps, is a bit of both, since the ensuing duel between Obi-Wan and Vader showcases just how powerful the Sith lord has become since their last encounter.

Vader gets his revenge for Mustafar

After their brief exchange, Obi-Wan tries yet again to flee, but Vader catches up to him with relative ease. The two begin dueling on the outskirts of a mining facility, their lightsabers the only two sources of light in the entire desert. As the duel unfolds, it becomes immediately clear that Obi-Wan's sword skills have all but vanished during his exile, while Vader's own abilities have only become stronger. Using only a single hand, Vader effortlessly drives Obi-Wan backwards into a quarry, goading his former master about how weak he has become.

Whether it is due to his immense fear or his lack of training, Obi-Wan is shown to be completely overmatched in this fight, and as the two step into a clearing Vader begins force-choking the former Jedi -– disarming him in the process. It rapidly becomes clear that Vader doesn't just want to kill Obi-Wan, he wants to make him suffer in exactly the same way that he did on Mustafar. Vader knocks over a container of flammable ore and ignites it with his lightsaber, setting the desert ablaze, before dropping the incapacited Obi-Wan into the fire. Vader uses the force to hold Obi-Wan down within the flames, cruelly recreating the final moments of their own duel, when Obi-Wan left Anakin to burn beside a pit of lava. As Obi-Wan screams in agony, Vader tells him that his pain has only just begun, implying that he has much more extensive plans on how best to torture his former master.

Fortunately, we don't end up learning what Vader's plans might have involved, as moments later Obi-Wan is rescued by Tala (Indira Varma), an Imperial officer who had assisted him previously.

Obi-Wan is saved... but Leia isn't so lucky.

Prior to Vader's arrival on the planet, Obi-Wan and Leia were actually working with Tala in order to escape, since she has connections to a secret network of freedom fighters known as "The Path." When Vader began rampaging through the town they were hiding in, Obi-Wan instructed Tala to bring Leia to the escape ship while he distracted the Sith lord and his Inquisitors. Tala brings Leia to the very end of the secret escape tunnel before turning back to help Obi-Wan, and arrives at the quarry just in time to shoot a container filled with more explosive ore. The ensuing explosion creates a wall of fire that separates Darth Vader from Obi-Wan, and the burned Jedi is quickly rescued by Tala and a loader droid named NED-B. Although Obi-Wan manages yet another miraculous escape, Leia is not so fortunate. After Tala leaves her, the young princess makes her way to the end of the tunnel to find the Third Sister, Reva (Moses Ingram) waiting for her. 

Thus, the episode ends with Obi-Wan defeated and grievously wounded, and Leia captured by a fanatical Sith Inquisitor. The ending of Part III serves as a perfect midpoint to the series, and almost seems to parallel the midpoint of the original trilogy itself, "The Empire Strikes Back." Our hero loses in spectacular fashion, and is now forced to regroup and retrain himself in order to face off against the oppressive strength of the Empire. In any case, we hope that the next duel between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi sees the former Jedi master at full strength, as this first battle was entirely one-sided.