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Why Obi-Wan Doesn't Know Anakin Survived Before The Obi-Wan Kenobi Series

Disney+'s "Obi-Wan Kenobi" is a smash hit with fans. But there's still one major question from the debut that keeps lingering in fans' minds: Why didn't Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) know that Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) survived their lightsaber duel on Mustafar in "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith" when the show begins? 

In "Obi-Wan Kenobi," the legendary Jedi Master apparently has no idea about Anakin Skywalker's transformation into Darth Vader. At the end of Part II, Obi-Wan is informed by Third Sister Reva (Moses Ingram) that Lord Vader is looking for him, which sparks a feeling inside the titular hero. "You didn't know," Reva says while stalking Obi-Wan. "He's alive ...Anakin Skywalker is alive — and he's been looking for you for a long time." 

While the scene epically kicks things off for the rest of the series, it has ultimately left people scratching their heads and unsure if it was actually canon to say that Obi-Wan didn't know Vader's true identity during the 10-year time gap between "Revenge of the Sith" and "Obi-Wan Kenobi." Twitter user @DavidoAtkins said, "Obi-Wan should absolutely know that Anakin didn't die and became Vader. He would have felt it and known." Another user @locksmithPrime tweeted, "Let me understand. Obi-Wan did not know, after 10 years, that Anakin/Vader was alive? Or did he now know Vader was Anakin? Or was Vader in hiding for 10 years? I am confused." Luckily for fans, writer Joby Harold has decided to clear things up a bit in a recent interview.

Several factors led to Obi-Wan's obliviousness

According to Joby Harold, the decision to not have Obi-Wan Kenobi know about Anakin Skywalker's machine-like transformation and eventual rise as Darth Vader was something the writers thought about very carefully. "That was something I discovered along the way," Harold explained to TheWrap. "And sort of had to confirm with [creative executive Pablo Hidalgo] and really think, 'Hold on a second, what does he actually know? Does he know the moniker Vader? What would that mean? Can he associate the two? What was he cognizant of? How isolated is he? Where's Vader at that time? Where's his reputation and how well known is he?' and all those pieces of the puzzle."

As reported by TheWrap, Pablo Hidalgo is one of Lucasfilm's leading experts on "Star Wars" canon and is credited as a story advisor on "Obi-Wan Kenobi." According to him, it's fully acceptable to believe that Obi-Wan wouldn't know about Anakin's survival on Mustafar. In addition to his isolation, word likely never got out about Vader's true identity unless it was told to or felt by Force-sensitive characters close to him, like Reva. Obi-Wan may have been aware that Anakin fell to the Dark Side and became a Sith known as Darth Vader. But in his mind, the former Jedi was seemingly killed on Mustafar. For all we know, Anakin could have purposely been keeping his Force energy under wraps from Obi-Wan as a way to later surprise him (a la "I am your father"). 

"It all comes down to, is it viable within canon to play that card? Which it was," Harold told TheWrap. "It made the story active, especially for the viewer that isn't as familiar with canon as we all are."