Star Wars, on many levels, exists in series of parallels and couplets—a cycle of the rise and defeat of darkness, the fall and rebirth of light, an echo of a story told over and over across generations of families and civilizations. “It’s like poetry, they rhyme,” George Lucas says in the Phantom Menace documentary The Beginning, a statement that may be a meme now but remains one of the truest things ever said about the galaxy far, far away.
But what happens when Star Wars’ preponderance for poetry starts to feel like robbing parts of itself for reference’s sake?
It’s a thought that crossed my mind watching this week’s sixth and final (at least, for now) episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi. After a brief match at the series’ halfway point, the long-awaited duel between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan roared to life on an unknown, rocky world, and with it, a series of connections strewn from across the Star Wars saga. Obi-Wan and Anakin mirror their opening statements here to the words they traded before fighting on Mustafar, their blades clash with parallels of both that fight and their eventual duel in A New Hope. Even the Star Wars sequels get some nods, as Obi-Wan summons the Force to fling a barrage of rocks at Vader, levitating them in a moment evocative of Rey clearing the path to her friends in The Last Jedi. But the fight’s most interesting rhyme is saved for its dramatic climax. In a moment of clarity and even anger, having just wailed on his opponent with a series of lightsaber strikes and pommel blows, a determined Obi-Wan leaps at Vader, carving a gash that melts open the Dark Lord’s mask… revealing the man beneath the layers of machine.
Star Wars fans will of course know that this isn’t the…