There was some question about how soon Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) would face off on Obi-Wan Kenobi once each discovered the continued existence of the other, and director Deborah Chow wasted no time in having them come face to face (or rather face-to-helmet) after Obi-Wan's plans to get Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) back to Alderaan went awry in the third episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Their first rematch since their epic duel on Mustafar happened on yet another mining planet, this time on the mid-rim planet of Mapuzo, where Obi-Wan and Leia arrived after fleeing Daiyu. But while the earlier Revenge of the Sith battle showed two trained fighters at the height of their powers, this one showed Obi-Wan has not been keeping up with his lightsaber forms… which is the problem with burying your lightsaber in the desert!
Lucasfilm Ltd. Ewan McGregor in 'Obi-Wan Kenobi.'
But before the pair's big confrontation, Obi-Wan already found himself in danger. Surrounded by stormtroopers on the lookout for a rogue Jedi, Obi-Wan and Leia escaped with the help of an Imperial double agent named Tala (Played by the great Indira Varma of Game of Thrones fame). Tala took them to a safe house where Obi-Wan saw evidence that he was not the only Jedi she's helped. "Quinlon was here?" he asked, a small Easter egg for fans of The Clone Wars Jedi Quinlon Vos. (Could he show up later, played by O'Shea Jackson?) Tala informed Kenobi that there were safe houses across the galaxy. The bravery of this burgeoning rebellion impacted Obi-Wan deeply and McGregor communicated this beautifully without saying a word.
And then… it happened.
As Tala prepared to take Obi-Wan and Leia to Mapuzo's spaceport, Obi-Wan felt a presence he hadn't felt for a long time, which could only mean one thing. His former apprentice had arrived, along with Reva (Moses Ingram) and the other Inquisitors. In a scene reminiscent of his final destructive Rogue One rampage, Vader (who is voiced once again by the inimitable James Earl Jones) began torturing the people of Mapuzo via a series of choking and dragging moves as a way to lure his former Jedi Master out, and Obi-Wan took the bait, telling Tala to take Leia ahead to the spaceport without him. (Leia didn't realize that the very man they were fleeing was the father she was wondering about earlier in the episode. As long as Obi-Wan can help it, she still won't know that for a very long time.)
Lucasfilm Ltd. Darth Vader in 'Obi-Wan Kenobi.'
As Tala and Leia escaped through the tunnels, Reva was on their tail, hoping a Kenobi capture would lead to her promotion to the newly-opened job of Grand Inquisitor. (Though it seemed like Rupert Friend was playing the same Grand Inquisitor as Jason Isaacs on Star Wars Rebels — which takes place approximately 4 years after Obi-Wan Kenobi — his sudden death leads one to wonder if they are perhaps different Pau'ans who held the same title? Then again, the character's backstory Friend gave EW matches the one from Rebels, so who knows.)
BUT BACK TO THE BATTLE! In a truly thrilling moment, Obi-Wan finally met his apprentice, who is now more machine than man, and asks in horror, "What have you become?"
"I am what you have made me," Vader snarls in response. "You should have killed me when you had the chance."
Their lightsabers clash, but it's obvious that while Vader has only grown in power, Obi-Wan… not so much. Frankly, the Jedi master looked completely terrified, a fascinating choice for his character at this point in time, showing just how broken he's become. And things went from bad to worse as Obi-Wan then got Force-dragged through a fire, with Vader trying to administer the same punishment inflicted on him back on Mustafar.
Thankfully, at Leia's urging that she was alright on her own (she wasn't), Tala arrived just in time to save Obi-Wan from immolation. That's the semi-good news. The bad news is that Reva now appears to have precocious little Leia in her clutches. Will Leia now meet her real father for the first time? And will he have any sense of who she truly is?
The big battle between Obi-Wan and Vader is one that many fans assumed would not take place until the final installment of the six-episode limited series. Now that the friends-turned-foes have clashed in half that time, one can't help but wonder if there is another re-rematch on the horizon. And if this time Obi-Wan will be up to the task.
Listen to interviews with Obi-Wan Kenobi stars Ewan McGregor, Kumail Nanjiani, Rupert Friend and more on EW's new Star Wars podcast, Dagobah Dispatch.
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