The Star Wars prequels answered one of the original trilogy’s greatest questions. In Revenge of the Sith‘s final moments, Yoda said Qui-Gon Jinn had learned the path to immortality. That revelation explained the existence of Force ghosts. The Clone Wars animated series then provided the specifics behind the process and why only a few Jedi ever returned from the netherworld of the Force. But with new information came a new question: how did Anakin Skywalker become a Force ghost when he knew nothing about them? Now we might finally have an answer thanks to Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+. Like Rey and Kylo Ren, the Jedi Master and his former Padawan formed a dyad.
Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s fourth episode began with Obi-Wan in a bacta tank healing from his burn wounds. But rather than just focus on the Jedi Master, the show intercut his watery submersion with that of Darth Vader’s own healing. And that wasn’t because the show didn’t trust us to see the similarities in their situations. The scene indicated that each man was feeling and reliving the same moments at the exact same time. When Obi-Wan remembered something or heard a voice, so did Vader. And when Obi-Wan felt pain from a memory Anakin physically reacted in the same way.
This wasn’t the first time the two connected across the vastness of space, either. In episode two the former Jedi Master briefly reconnected with the Force. Then, at the episode’s end, after learning his former Padawan still lived, Obi-Wan said “Anakin” out loud. When he did, far, far away on Mustafar, Darth Vader opened his eyes. He heard Obi-Wan call his name.
The two men are clearly sensing and even speaking to one another. But not even the most powerful Force users can communicate across great distances of space. If they could, more Jedi would have survived Order 66. Also, Obi-Wan and Yoda wouldn’t have needed to send out a warning signal to inform Jedi to stay away from the Temple. Force users usually can’t even communicate with one another across a single planet. If that were possible, countless Jedi adventures would have been much easier and they wouldn’t have needed comlinks. Otherwise Mace Windu could have called for Yoda’s help via the Force after Palpatine murdered the other Jedi trying to arrest him.
Of course, the franchise has two notable famous exceptions to that type of communication. Both featured some of the most powerful Force users ever. They also shared an intimate personal bond. On Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back, an injured Luke called out “Leia” and she heard him from the fleeing Millennium Falcon. The most famous example, though, which saw two people both communicate and physically interact across the galaxy, is that of Rey and Kylo Ren in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
The Rise of Skywalker revealed Rey and Kylo Ren, opposite yet equal in their powers, formed a dyad in the Force. Palpatine said that connection, which makes two people one with the Force, is “a power like life itself.” A dyad is so strong that the Emperor’s physical form grew stronger when consumed some of the pair’s life force. But Obi-Wan Kenobi suggests perhaps Palpatine was wrong about one aspect of Rey and Kylo Ren’s dyad. He believed it was the first in generations, when it was maybe only the first anyone recognized in generations. Obi-Wan and Anakin, who the Jedi Master called his brother, seemed to form a less powerful one. Same as twin siblings Luke and Leia.
There are canonical reasons why Rey and Kylo’s connection was stronger. In addition to being two sides of the same Force coin, Kylo inadvertently strengthened their bond when he tried to read Rey’s mind in The Force Awakens. Obi-Wan and Anakin never did that to one another, nor did Luke and Leia.
Rey and Ben Solo’s bloodlines likely played a major factor, too. The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary suggests there’s an unknown connection between Force dyads and the Sith Rule of Two. And we know each was the relative of one of the most powerful Sith Lords ever. Ben Solo was the grandson of Darth Vader, Rey the granddaughter of Sheev Palpatine. Even Luke and Leia didn’t have that type of ancestry. (Though the fact “The Chosen One,” Anakin Skywalker fathered by the Force itself, factors into all three dyads is telling.)
That’s why if Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker, even without knowing it, formed a dyad there is no longer any mystery about how Anakin become a Force ghost without training. Both members of a dyad are one with the Force. When Obi-Wan Kenobi became a Force ghost it assured that one day Anakin Skywalker would too. It didn’t matter that Anakin’s body didn’t disappear when he died, as Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Luke’s bodies did. When Anakin left the Living Force and became part of the Cosmic Force he was tied to Obi-Wan who had learned how to exist between both. Where one goes both go.
Obi-Wan Kenobi began one of Star Wars greatest mysteries when he let Darth Vader strike him down. It’s only fitting the Jedi Master’s own show is finally answering how Anakin Skywalker joined him forever in the Force.
Featured Image: Lucasfilm
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.