We learn in The Empire Strikes Back that Kenobi had lied to Luke in A New Hope about Darth Vader, telling him Vader killed his father rather than the truth that Vader is actually his father.

Why the lie?


1 Answer 1


The real answer is more mundane than you think. It's simply because at the time of writing Star Wars, the writers did not yet have Vader being Anakin Skywalker, Luke's Father. That was not decided until the second draft of Empire Strikes Back. The same thing happens to the Luke/Leia being siblings, and likely the Obi-Wan and Anakin being master and apprentice.

You can't lie about what you don't know yet.

Of course, if we considered in-Universe Canon, retroactive continuity, the answer is psychological. Ben considered Anakin, the person he knew, as figuratively dead, when Anakin made a complete 180 in personality and his evil actions (gave in to the Dark Side). Vader was not the man he knew anymore. A bit more in depth, Ben considered himself dead too. Obi-Wan died when Anakin forced Obi-Wan to kill Anakin, figuratively speaking. Hence dropping the Jedi name. There's also a bit where Ben might not 100% know Anakin survived.

  • While I like your answer, I think this answers the question of "Why didn't the writers of A New Hope make Obi Wan say that Vader was Luke's father?" Instead, knowing what we know about canon, what can we say about Obi Wan's motivations in A New Hope?
    – John
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 20:37
  • 1
    @John trying to speculate on retconned material hurts my head :) but I'll add a quick blurb about the retconned in-Universe motivation
    – cde
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 20:41
  • Oh I totally agree! Good luck :)
    – John
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 20:42
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    The standard response from within the film (ignoring the reality of the later plot development) is that OWK considered that the move to the Dark Side killed Anakin (in a metaphorical sense, perhaps, but so strong a metaphor to OWK that it may as well have been solid fact). To Kenobi, the Anakin that he knew was gone. He had 'died' at the point of going over to the Dark Side.
    – user27684
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 20:54
  • Nice answer. I'd always assumed that was the real reason, but I'd not read confirmation of it.
    – userLTK
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 3:19

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