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Old 09-09-2019, 01:08 PM
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Question about Obi Wan "Ben" Kenobi from the movie "Star Wars" (1977)


[***CONTAINS SPOILERS***]

In the 1977 space-opera movie Star Wars, the heroes are escaping from somewhere having rescued Princess Leia. Jedi master Obi Wan "Ben" Kenobi lags behind the others and is confronted by the movie's evil antagonist Darth Vader. It appears that Kenobi decides to sacrifice himself, Captain Oates-style, in order that the other heroes are not delayed in their escape. Kenobi therefore lets Darth Vader "kill" him, although Kenobi seems to use one weird old Jedi trick whereby he vanishes when Darth Vader strikes him with his sword-like "lightsaber".

It is a common movie trope that if the movie's hero has a teacher/mentor, then the teacher/mentor will die, most likely killed by the movie's antagonist, in order to drive the plot and allow the movie's hero to become the master. From a story-writing perspective, Kenobi's vanishing act means that the heroes can make their escape without ignominiously abandoning Kenobi's body to the enemy.

So, my question is, in the in-movie universe, what did Kenobi do when he vanished? What happened to his body? Are there any benefits/disadvantages to a Jedi "dying" in this manner? Is this something all Jedi can do? Do other Jedi do this in other Star Wars movies? (I've only seen the original trilogy).
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:19 PM
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Spoilers from the Prequel trilogy:

The Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (who was Kenobi's master early in his career), through meditation or research or whatever study/practice advanced Jedi can do, discovered/invented a way to "survive" after dying, through the Force. But he hadn't fully explored it, and when he died, his essence, or spirit, or soul, or mind, was able to "survive" his death, but his body lingered as it normally would. Qui-Gon Jinn's spirit/essence/mind/whatever was able to communicate with the Jedi Master Yoda, and teach him about this method of surviving death. Yoda communicated this to Kenobi, and Kenobi also may have communed with the spirit of Jinn off-screen. In any case, Jinn's method of surviving through the Force was "perfected" by Yoda and/or Kenobi, off screen, and this final method involved the physical body vanishing. Somehow, in the afterlife, their ghosts taught this ability to Anakin Skywalker's (Darth Vader) "ghost" such that Anakin was also able to "survive" his death. Yoda and Kenobi's "ghosts" also had the ability to appear, physically (at least to other Jedi, like Luke Skywalker)... and in the sequel trilogy, even to use the Force to interact with the living world.

There may be more to this in the Expanded Universe and other non-movie materials, but this is what I recall from the movies.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 09-09-2019 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:29 PM
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Doesn’t Yoda do the same thing? Vanish after he dies in RotJ?

That once led me to believe, based off the small sample size and seeing the OT movies alone, that it’s just this thing Jedi do when they die. But then that goes out the window in the prequel trilogy where we have a much greater sample size for dead/dying Jedi.

And the new trilogy further muddies the waters at the end of TLJ.

So, taking in all the films released to date and nothing else, maybe it’s a special thing certain Jedis do just before dying as if it requires an exceptional level of skill or preparation, almost like achieving enlightenment before death, and takes them to an alternate plane prior to (not after) bodily death. But that’s just speculation. There is no in-movie explanation that fully squares Jedi behavior at or just before death with what we see in the OT, and the further the films delve into just what exactly force-users can do, the more the universe seems to go flying off the rails. It was better when it was just mind control tricks, ESP, and telekinesis with some force-lighting thrown in for effect at the end.

ETA: I do recall the scene iiandyiiii mentions from the PT, in which Yoda tells Kenobi that QGJ learned this new trick, but I took it only to refer to communing with force ghosts, nothing to do with the vanishing act.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 09-09-2019 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL v2.0 View Post
There is no in-movie explanation that fully squares Jedi behavior at or just before death with what we see in the OT, and the further the films delve into just what exactly force-users can do, the more the universe seems to go flying off the rails.
They explain it in Revenge of the Sith:

Quote:
YODA: (continuing) Master Kenobi, wait a moment. In your solitude on Tatooine, training I have for you.

OBI-WAN: Training??

YODA: An old friend has learned the path to immortality.

OBI-WAN: Who?

YODA: One who has returned from the netherworld of the Force to train me . . . your old Master, Qui-Gon Jinn.

OBI-WAN: Qui-Gon? But, how could he accomplish this?

YODA: The secret of the Ancient Order of the Whills, he studied. How to commune with him. I will teach you.

OBI-WAN: I will be able to talk with him?

YODA: How to join the Force, he will train you. Your consciousness you will retain, when one with the Force. Even your physical self, perhaps.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:36 PM
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Well there it is! A line of dialogue. Which, as clunky as it seems, is more than what we get for an explanation in most cases of new/inconsistent force abilities.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:34 PM
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Jedi Masters are like Lawful Good liches. Through meditation & other jedi stuff they eventually disincorporate and become what we think of as disembodied spirits. Unlike ghosts, however, the disincorporated jedi are fully aware of the material world and can interact with it using the same mental and telekinetic abilities common in lesser jedi. The Master you interact with is a mental trick, an illusion implanted in your weaker mind by the will of the master. Masters, being formless, are immune to normal physical attacks which, let's be honest, plays a huge role in their being calm and collected under dangerous conditions. It also helps that they have no fear of death because they sloughed their bodies long ago. Can't "kill" 'em.

So Obi Wan the old hermit, as Luke believed him to be, wasn't actually there. His spirit, the will of a swarm of Midi-chlorians, was present. And we all know Anakin/Vader was overflowing with Midi-chlorians but sorely lacking the discipline and vision necessary to be a Jedi Master--his mind was considerably less than Obi Wan's, even though his gross power was greater. He had no clue he was fighting an illusion. Classic sorcerer's jape.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL v2.0 View Post
Well there it is! A line of dialogue. Which, as clunky as it seems, is more than what we get for an explanation in most cases of new/inconsistent force abilities.
I believe that Liam Neeson was supposed to appear to Yoda as a ghost, but Neeson had a bad motorcycle accident and was not available. Something like that, so they had the lame explanation line instead.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:42 PM
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Couldn't they have used footage from other Laims Neesons films? "I have a unique set of skills..."
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:55 PM
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It took a little bit to find the article that proposed this theory, but you have to remember that the only rule to being a force ghost is to die in front of Luke. All this stuff about the light and dark side is just misdirection. The disappearing body is just part of Luke's power.

Yoda says Qui Gon returned to him but we never see that ghost, we only have Yoda's word for it and Yoda is a less then reliable witness. If he were to say Dagobah was wet, I'd still step outside to make sure.

Facts:
The only ghosts we meet are those of Kenobi, Anakin, and Yoda.
All three maneuvered events so that Luke could see them die.
Jedi not seen to die by Luke do not appear as ghosts.

Go here for the real truth! The Luke Side of the Force
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Old 09-10-2019, 12:30 AM
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Thanks for the replies. It makes sense now.

So, as I understand it, it was the Midi-chlorians in Kenobi's body that Kenobi's mind had found a way to connect with - through studying ancient knowledge - and, in that moment with Vader, the Midi-chlorians sublimated Kenobi's own living cells - that they were living in a symbiotic relationship with - and so Kenobi basically vaporized into energy that then dissipated into the underlying pool of Force energy.
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walken After Midnight View Post
In the 1977 space-opera movie Star Wars
I find it interesting how you talk about Star Wars as though we may not have heard of it.
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txtumbleweed View Post
Facts:
The only ghosts we meet are those of Kenobi, Anakin, and Yoda.
All three maneuvered events so that Luke could see them die.
Jedi not seen to die by Luke do not appear as ghosts.
So... does he (Luke) eat their souls?
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:40 AM
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I find it interesting how you talk about Star Wars as though we may not have heard of it.
Its clear he's a time traveller from around 1978. Notice how he refers to it as Star Wars and not A New Hope.
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by GuanoLad View Post
I find it interesting how you talk about Star Wars as though we may not have heard of it.
I hadn't. I gather it's some kind of science fiction movie...?
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:55 AM
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I hadn't. I gather it's some kind of science fiction movie...?
I heard it was a Western...
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuanoLad View Post
I find it interesting how you talk about Star Wars as though we may not have heard of it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
I hadn't. I gather it's some kind of science fiction movie...?
Quote:
Originally Posted by digs View Post
I heard it was a Western...
Evidently it's a musical? Some kind of opera, anyway.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:42 AM
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I initially thought it was about Hollywood stars fighting amongst themselves, like between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Not sure where I got that idea, but my 8-year self told the family I had no interest in seeing it in the summer of 1977. Fortunately everyone was able to convince me to go see it, telling me that I would love it (since I was also a fan at that young age of Star Trek re-runs and Space: 1999). They were right.

Last edited by robby; 09-10-2019 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:52 AM
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Also remember that what you look like as a force ghost is subject to change. Different viewers have reported the appearance of a ghost very differently, even when describing the same event. Much like relying on eyewitnesses to determine who shot first can be very unreliable.

Last edited by muldoonthief; 09-10-2019 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:56 AM
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I'm still reeling from
Quote:
Darth Vader strikes him with his sword-like "lightsaber".
__________________
"When they discover the centre of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it." : Bernard Bailey
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YODA
How to join the Force, he will train you. Your consciousness you will retain, when one with the Force. Even your physical self, perhaps.
So wait, does this leave the door open to Luke waltzing back in with his meat body and everything in the next movie?
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:07 AM
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Evidently it's a musical?
Star Wars: The Musical is a brilliant idea! Has it been done yet?

"Oh my God! I was wrong! He was my father all along.
You've finally made a Sith lord out of me..."
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:22 AM
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Great. Now I have Sidius building Vader and singing, "In just seven days I can make you a maaaaaaa-ha-han!"
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Y'all are just too damned serious. Lighten up.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:29 AM
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Or Leia saying to Vader of Han Solo, frozen in carbonite, "He vosh my boyfriend!"
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:03 AM
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I, for one, appreciate the OP making it clear just what movie was being discussed, and explaining the details of the plot. You can't count on everyone having seen these obscure little art films, you know.
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Old 09-10-2019, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walken After Midnight View Post
Star Wars: The Musical is a brilliant idea! Has it been done yet?
Well, there is footage of Carrie Fischer in costume as Princess Leia singing about Love Day, so...
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Old 09-12-2019, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
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Star Wars: The Musical is a brilliant idea! Has it been done yet?
In various ways, that thought has occurred to people.

Weird Al wrote a couple entries ("Y-O-D-A, Yoda" and "The Saga Begins") that you can pretty easily find on the web. For a slightly more modern song, there's also a great video of Anakin singing a version of Frozen's "Let It Go"

I also recommend "Bad Lip Reading: Star Wars" videos for some catchy tunes that are musical takes on, uh, not exactly accurate Star Wars dialogue.

I'm sure there's a very long list after that.
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Old 09-12-2019, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walken After Midnight View Post
Star Wars: The Musical is a brilliant idea! Has it been done yet?

"Oh my God! I was wrong! He was my father all along.
You've finally made a Sith lord out of me..."
You owe it to yourself to check out this whole album:

Princess Leia's Stolen Death Star Plans
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Old 09-12-2019, 03:58 PM
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You owe it to yourself to check out this whole album:

Princess Leia's Stolen Death Star Plans
I knew the tune that would use from the title alone. Yay me!
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Old 09-12-2019, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
In various ways, that thought has occurred to people.

Weird Al wrote a couple entries ("Y-O-D-A, Yoda" and "The Saga Begins") that you can pretty easily find on the web. For a slightly more modern song, there's also a great video of Anakin singing a version of Frozen's "Let It Go"

I also recommend "Bad Lip Reading: Star Wars" videos for some catchy tunes that are musical takes on, uh, not exactly accurate Star Wars dialogue.

I'm sure there's a very long list after that.
In 1978, Mad Magazine did a Star Wars musical parody. I'm not easily finding the complete thing online, but here's a sample panel:

https://66.media.tumblr.com/758ef45b...cf6o1_1280.jpg

(And, I agree, Bad Lip Reading's SW songs are awesome, especially Hostiles on the Hill and Seagulls! (Stop It Now))
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