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The Symbolism Of Darth Vader's Mask Is Clearer Than Ever After Obi-Wan Kenobi Part VI

Obi-Wan Kenobi Part VI is finally here, providing fans with yet another climactic showdown between the eponymous Jedi master (played by Ewan McGregor) and his former apprentice, Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones, and played by Hayden Christensen). 

Earlier in the series, we watched as Vader utterly humiliated a terrified and out-of-practice Obi-Wan in a desert quarry. However, in this latest matchup, Obi-Wan is finally starting to look like himself again — holding his own against the immense power of the Sith lord. Even after he's been buried alive by an immense pile of rubble, Obi-Wan does not give up: flinging the stones down on Vader like a meteor shower and turning the tide of battle. Their duel ends when Obi-Wan leaps into the air and slashes across Darth Vader's mask, revealing the burnt face of Anakin Skywalker beneath. 

While this may not be the first time that we've seen the face beneath Vader's mask, this symbolism behind this reveal is actually pretty significant, and ties into the two previous times that we've seen Vader unmasked within the series.

Vader's mask is removed bit by bit, before finally being removed fully by Luke

Throughout the entire franchise, only the three most important people in Anakin Skywalker's life have been able to unmask him: Obi-Wan Kenobi in "Obi-Wan Kenobi" Part VI, Ashoka Tano (voiced by Ashley Eckstein) in "Star Wars Rebels," and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in "Return of the Jedi." 

As pointed out by @clonehumor on Twitter, Vader's mask is actually taken off one piece at a time throughout these three separate occasions. "Obi-Wan broke the right side of Vader's mask, and Ashoka broke the left side of his mask," the user explained. "But only Luke was able to fully unmask Vader and bring back Anakin."

Indeed, in each of these instances, the person unmasking Vader is attempting to break through his icy facade and reach the former Jedi beneath. Ashoka promises not to leave him to his fate, as she had in the past, and Obi-Wan tearfully apologizes for all that he did to Anakin. Both times, Vader rejects their attempts to reconcile with him. In the end, it was only Luke who was ever able to truly break through his father's mask, and finally redeem the fallen Jedi. This small detail in "Obi-Wan Kenobi" Part VI adds yet another extra layer to Vader's complicated redemption arc, deepening the entire arc of his already epic story, and it also caps off one of the most climactic battles in the entire "Star Wars" franchise.