Obi-Wan Kenobi Suddenly Has a Religious Reason for Lying to Luke About Darth Vader

Image: Lucasfilm
Image: Lucasfilm

You know how Luke confronted Obi-Wan Kenobi for saying that Darth Vader killed his father when the truth was that Darth Vader was his father? And Obi-Wan says that everything he said was true “from a certain point of view”? Well, thanks to the newest Star Wars novel, that’s not just a pile of bantha poodoo—it’s part of a Force-worshipping religion.

Illustration for article titled Obi-Wan Kenobi Suddenly Has a Religious Reason for Lying to Luke About Darth Vader

In Aftermath: Empire’s End, Chuck Wendig introduces a passage from the Journal of the Whills, a book which describes the universe, the Force, and the Jedi. A previous passage was printed in The Force Awakens novelization, but this one is a lot more interesting.

The story of “Whills” as a device in Star Wars is long and convoluted, but it was included in an early draft of the first Star Wars as a record of galactic events from which the events of the movie were told. Later, a deleted scene from Revenge of the Sith, Qui-Gon explains how a “Shaman of the Whills” taught him how to project himself as a Force ghost, which Yoda and Obi-Wan then learned from him. You may also recognize them from Rogue One, where Chirrut Imwe was a member of the religious order known as “Guardians of the Whills,” one of those new, ever-expanding groups that aren’t Jedi or Sith, but still reveer the Force.

Anyway, Wendig added this passage to the Journal of the Whills in Empire’s End, where it’s read by members of the Church of the Force:

The truth in our soul

Is that nothing is true.

The question of life

Is what then do we do?

The burden is ours

To penance, we hew.

The Force binds us all

From a certain point of view.

This is hilarious, a lovely troll of one of the biggest understatements in Star Wars canon, and makes Obi-Wan’s infuriating “a certain point of view” bullshit explanation for lying to Luke part of a religious doctrine. Self-referential and meta? Yes. Amazing? Also yes.

Katharine is the Associate Director of Policy and Activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the former managing editor of io9. She writes about technology policy and pop culture.


Fred Smith

First off, that’s some horrible writing.

Second, Obi-Wan’s just met Luke when the kid asks, “How did my father die?” If he’d said, “Oh he’s not dead. He’s Darth Vader now,” how exactly would that have gone over?

When a kid starts to doubt the existence of Santa Claus, we ease the revelation for them with a dozen little white lies. When your co-worker’s breath stinks, tact requires strategic lying.

Obi-Wan’s response to that question, which again, comes from a kid who is meeting him for the first time, requires extreme care. We all know the narrative continuity issue didn’t exist at the time of the first film, but even with the left turn into filial shenanigans in the sequel, Obi-Wan’s answer to Luke’s query still holds as a sympathetic and reasonable statement.