‘Star Wars’ Debate: The logic behind Obi-Wan and Anakin’s Mustafar battle
By Brittany Cruz
“It’s over, Anakin! I have the high ground.” Obi-Wan Kenobi’s final warning to his Sith-fallen apprentice has long been a point of laughter and scrutiny among fans since the release of 2005’s “Revenge of the Sith.”
Audiences watched as Anakin Skywalker’s humanity gave way to the rise of Darth Vader on the lava planet of Mustafar, and it all came to fruition by Obi-Wan standing on top of a slightly inclined hill. It may not sound suspenseful or be the satisfying conclusion fans had hoped to see, but it does make sense.
For one thing, there is an obvious metaphorical meaning behind the words. Obi-Wan is implying that he has the higher moral standards, something he has shown time and again through his actions and in his loyalty to the Jedi Order.
Obi-Wan dedicated years of his life to training Anakin and believed him to be the prophesized Chosen One, all while honing his own connection with the Force. He sought to maintain peace within the galaxy only to watch Anakin destroy everything in one fell swoop by committing treason and killing defenseless younglings in cold blood.
Despite all that, Obi-Wan showed mercy and refused to act without Anakin forcing his hand. He remained faithful to his core beliefs, solidifying them when he made the decision to stand his ground at the expense of losing one of his dearest friends.
From an ethical perspective, Obi-Wan’s words ring true. However, there is a logical argument to be made: If Obi-Wan had the high ground, why didn’t Anakin just jump onto a different part of the hill? It is not like there was a lack of available space.
Everything boils down to arrogance and next-level stubbornness. That’s right, Darth Vader, a Dark Lord of the Sith, was defeated by his inability to use common sense.
Anyone in their right mind would have simply moved to the side a few feet before jumping, but that’s just it: Anakin wasn’t in his right mind. He had succumbed to his fears, blinded by rage and drowning in confusion as his whole world spun out of control.
He thought his pregnant wife, Padme Amidala, betrayed him, and he blamed Obi-Wan for his failures. By putting the blame on everyone else, he justified his actions and played right into the hands of Emperor Palpatine.
Anakin’s misplaced confidence in his abilities was apparent when he offered his own warning in response: “You underestimate my power.” At this point, Anakin had lost all sense of rationality, and any ounce of logic caved to the rage fueling him.
In his mind, Obi-Wan’s words were not a warning but a challenge. Anakin interpreted the situation as having his competence questioned, which is why he didn’t budge an inch before launching himself at his old master. Anything less than going straight for the kill would have meant weakness in Anakin’s eyes.
In a foolish display of dominance, he chose to attack head-on rather than find his footing on solid ground first. As was evident when Obi-Wan did not bat an eyelash at the desperate maneuver, knowing all the fancy tricks in the Jedi handbook cannot make up the difference of time and experience.
The rest is history as the whole ordeal ends with a badly burned Anakin screaming, “I hate you.”
Every moment of this drawn-out standoff is a visual representation of the disparity between the Light Side and Dark Side. Anakin’s refusal to acknowledge his disadvantage was a product of his inflated ego and clouded judgment. So, yes, while Obi-Wan’s warning of having “the high ground” may not seem like much of a threat, Anakin’s influence in the equation makes all the difference.