Jul 21, 2014

Why do Obi Wan and Vader fight so slowly in A New Hope than compared to Revenge of the Sith?

obi wan fights vader on the Death Star

Why do Obi Wan and Vader fight so slowly in A New Hope than compared to how they do in Revenge of the Sith?

Well, it's not because they are old!

This are two ways to answer this question.

The first relates to the effort of movie making.

The second is about the story telling.

In terms of movie making, Star Wars was produced in 1976 and featured an elderly Alec Guiness clashing swords with a muscle man in a big heavy black suit. No one expected the energetic acrobatics of Errol Flynn.

This was a sword fight using 'light swords' and on screen special effects that never ever been done before. No one ever knew Star Wars was going to become the biggest film in history.

No one knew it was going to be one of the most examined and discussed films in history.

If George Lucas had, he would have made it better. But he didn't and indeed, he swapped some points with Steven Spielberg!

There was simply no way that the sword fight between Darth and Kenobi was going to be as epic as what was eventually realised in Revenge of the Sith.

But in terms of story telling, this is where things get interesting. What you witnessed was not a sword battle between a Sith Lord and a famous Jedi Knight, it was a conversation (watch it here).

Forget about Revenge of the Sith for a moment, what we were presented with was two foes that had fought some 20 years earlier where one left the other for dead.

And now, Vader is one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy.

He could have killed Kenobi in an instant but he chose to play it out a bit, maybe so he could figure out what Obi Wan was up to (he already had a plan though to let the Millennium Falcon escape).

One could argue that Obi Wan toys with Vader somewhat as well. He certainly insults him with his sneering use of the word Darth. This repartee fine for Kenobi, he was trying to give Luke a chance to escape the Death Star. He also knew that his death would be a significant event.

The telling point is not this rope-a-dope of sorts, but Kenobi's line "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." that was important.

We didn't know how it was important but we were given enough to know that with this knowledge, Kenobi was not afraid to die.

He knew he was able to help Luke in another, more important way - and that came to be when Luke was doing the trench run on the Death Star and was able to give guidance.

It was a noble sacrifice and it set the path for Luke to become a Jedi and bring down the Emperor (Obi Wan had no idea Vader was still to actually fulfill The Prophecy).

vader kenobi battle
From my point of view the Jedi are evil...
By the time Revenge of the Sith came along, moving making had come a long long way.

Blockbusters were now giant spectacles filled with epic action and featured vast amounts of CGI animation.

George Lucas was able to take the current state of CGI and use it to make his duel between two heroes one of the fastest flowing there had ever been.

He needed to as well for it was the climax of the prequel trilogy and the moment every one had wanted to see since it was learned that Vader fell to the dark side. It had to be epic, anything less would have been a failure.

Extra for experts: Check out this theory about light sabers being used in the Star Wars movies.

Want to read some more sweet things about Darth Vader? 

7 tragic things about Darth Vader.
Why did Darth Vader turn to the dark side of The Force? (if you were living under a rock).
10 Darth Vader quotes that show he was the worst Sith Lord ever (but possibly the greatest Jedi)

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