In the Star Wars movie A New Hope (1977), when Luke meets Obi-Wan in the first time, Obi-Wan takes luke to his home. Then Luke and Obi-Wan have the below conversation:

LUKE SKYWALKER - How did my father die?

BEN (Obi-Wan Kenobi) - A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. He betrayed and murdered your father. Now the Jedi are all but extinct. Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force.


BEN (Obi-Wan Kenobi) - Well, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field Created by all living things. It Surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.

As per the above conversation, what is the reason that Obi-Wan lied to Luke by telling him that Darth Vader killed his father although Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader are the same person?


6 Answers 6


Out of universe, it's simply that Lucas hadn't written (and most likely hadn't even thought up) that particular part of the story at the time.

In universe, Kenobi was driven to obfuscate by two things:

  1. he regretted his part in Anakin's downfall and couldn't own up to it to Luke

  2. he didn't want Luke to follow his father

  • It's not really that Lucas hadn't gotten to writing that part of the story; that part of the story didn't exist. Vader was retconned into being Luke's father to create a twist at the end of Empire Strikes Back (much as Leia was retconned into being Luke's sister in Return of the Jedi). Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 19:47
  • @jeffronicus huh? The story couldn't exist until Lycas wrote it, so what is it you're saying?
    – HorusKol
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 21:20
  • 3
    @jeffronicus You're both saying the same thing in a slightly different way. Lucas hadn't thought that far ahead when he wrote it. So both "Lucas hadn't written it" and "that part of the story didn't exist yet" are true. And the story could certainly exist in Lucas' head a long time before he wrote it.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 23:26
  • 8
    So what @jeffronicus is saying is true... from a certain point of view. Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 0:14
  • @HorusKol I'm pointing this out because people now tend to assume that Lucas had a grand "Skywalker Saga" outline and the movies fleshed that out. But in Star Wars (later known as "A New Hope") as written and executed Vader is not Luke's father. There's so little evidence of it in the story that we don't even get confirmation until Return of the Jedi when Luke is talking to Obi-Wan's force ghost. Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 15:47

Because in a certain way he wasn't lying as indicated in Return of the Jedi

Luke: Obi-Wan! Why didn't you tell me?

The ghost of Ben Kenobi approaches him through the swamp.

Luke: You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father.
Ben: You father was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I have told you was true... from a certain point of view.

Source: IMSDB > Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

In Obi-wan's view Anakin and Vader aren't the same person and Vader destroyed Anakin. this is also in a way expressed by Padme in Revenge of the Sith when she confronts him on Mustafar

Anakin: Don't you see, we don't have to run away anymore. I have brought peace to the Republic. I am more powerful than the Chancellor. I can overthrow him, and together you and I can rule the galaxy. Make things the way we want them to be.
Padme: I don't believe what I'm hearing . . . Obi-Wan was right. You've changed.
Anakin: I don't want to hear any more about Obi-Wan. The Jedi turned against me. Don't you turn against me.
Padme: I don't know you anymore. Anakin, you're breaking my heart. I'll never stop loving you, but you are going down a path I can't follow.

Source: IMSDB > Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

To Padme the person she was talking to wasn't the Anakin she knew

  • I think the question is more about why didn’t Obi Wan just say “your father became Darth Vader”. He seems to have had some reason for telling the “truth from that particular point of view” as opposed from a more straightforward perspective. Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 14:16

Because from the point of view of Obi-Wan, Vader and Anakin are two different people, and also because in the last episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi (the Disney+ series), Darth Vader himself told Obi-Wan:

You did not kill Anakin Skywalker. I did.

That was the moment Obi-Wan came to the realization that Anakin was dead. You can see that by the fact that before this sentence, Obi-Wan was calling him 'Anakin' and saying that he was sorry, and after Vader says this, Obi-Wan replies:

Then my friend is truly dead. Goodbye, Darth.

  • That could be, but your explanation comes decades after the '77 movie so it's probably written to stick to the existing story and not to justify it.
    – OldPadawan
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 6:09
  • 3
    @OldPadawan sure, that's why it was written, but as an in-universe [the universe as we now know it] explanation, this is perfect. Obi-wan says Vader killed Anakin because that's what Vader said!
    – AakashM
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 12:05
  • misunderstood (and still does...), my bad :/
    – OldPadawan
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 13:19

Revenge of the Sith:

Obi-Wan: And what of the boy?
Yoda: To Tatooine. To his family, send him.
Obi-Wan: I will take the child and watch over him.

A New Hope:

Luke: And if these new droids do work out, I want to transmit my application to the Academy this year.

Kenobi has been watching Luke all the boy's life, he knows Luke is intending to join the Empire to escape life on Tatooine. This will bring him into Vader's orbit, the last thing Kenobi wants, so he lies.


This is just my take on the Original Trilogy, but I think the reason why Obi-Wan lied to Luke in A New Hope, is because he didn't want Luke to go down the same path that Anakin went on; to avoid becoming a Sith. Thing is, rather than feed Luke bits and pieces about Anakin, he could've just come clean and told Luke what really happened and how he failed him as a teacher and that he was mostly responsible for Anakin's fall to the Dark Side. Not wait until Return of The Jedi, after Yoda dies of old age and THEN decides to spill the beans.


Even ignoring the fact that it wasn't written yet, Obi-Wan still has a good reason.

Obi-wan wanted Luke to fight against the Empire and The Dark Side. To this end, he might have considered it better to "Bend" the truth a little and tell Luke that Darth Vader killed his father rather than that Darth Vader was his father.

If Luke knew that Darth Vader was his father, Obi-Wan might have thought there would be a risk that Luke might (even over time) begin to feel a bit of family loyalty, and begin to sympathise with Vader a little. By telling him that he killed his father, there is no chance of this - quite the opposite.

Obi-Wan simply justified this dishonesty to himself, and later to Luke with the "...from a certain point of view" speech.

You must log in to answer this question.