Familiar faces return in the climactic Obi-Wan Kenobi finale
Warning: This story contains spoilers for the finale of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
After six episodes, the much-hyped Disney+ series has come to a close, wrapping up the latest chapter in the ever-growing Star Wars saga. Over the last few weeks, the show has not only given new depth to existing stories, but it's also carved out memorable new ones — and introduced a few surprises along the way. (Shoutout to Vivien Lyra Blair, who's proved to be the tiny MVP of the series as young Leia.)
But ever since Kenobi was first announced, there's one thing that fans have hoped for most: a climactic lightsaber showdown between McGregor's Obi-Wan and Christensen's Vader. And the final episode delivered, with McGregor and Christensen facing off in a reprise of their iconic Mustafar duel from 2005's Revenge of the Sith.
McGregor and Christensen reunited in earlier episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, but Vader easily overpowered his former master, who's spent the last decade closing himself off to the Force. In the finale, however, the two men are both at their full strength, and it's a gorgeous, thrilling duel, following the two former allies as they whirl around each other in a fury, lit only by the red and blue of their lightsabers. Ultimately, Vader proves that he's learned his lesson from Mustafar. At one point, he overpowers Kenobi and uses the Force to rip the ground out from beneath his feet, sending his opponent tumbling below. For a while, it looks like it's over: Anakin is now the one with the high ground.
Ultimately, however, the teacher triumphs over his one-time student. After hurling rocks back at his former apprentice, Obi-Wan ends things by slicing Vader's mask in half, revealing the scarred face of his friend-turned-foe. McGregor addresses him not as Vader but as Anakin, but Christensen spits back, "Anakin is gone. I am what remains." Vader's mask malfunctions, and we hear his voice flicker between Christensen and James Earl Jones, as he says, "I am not your failure, Obi-Wan. You didn't kill Anakin Skywalker. I did — the same way I will destroy you."
In the end, Obi-Wan leaves Vader broken and defeated, much as he did all those years ago on Mustafar. But the episode still has a few surprises in store. Back at Vader's castle, the injured Sith lord meets with his other master: Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine, appearing via hologram. Vader is eager to pursue Kenobi again, but the Emperor chastises him in McDiarmid's familiar drawl, saying, "I wonder if your thoughts are clear on this, Lord Vader. Perhaps your feelings for your old master have left you weakened." It's enough to subdue Vader, and it's proof that despite Vader's growing power, he's still subservient to the Emperor. It's also a welcome return for McDiarmid, who's played Palpatine for almost 40 years, stretching from Return of the Jedi and the prequels up through 2019's The Rise of Skywalker.
As for Kenobi, he also gets to reunite with a former master. After racing back to Tatooine to help rescue Luke Skywalker from Reva (Moses Ingram), he finally gets to meet the boy he's been protecting, greeting the young Luke with his trademark "Hello there." As Obi-Wan walks away, he's greeted by a familiar face: the Force ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn, played by a returning Liam Neeson.
The long-dead Jedi master greets his former Padawan with a smile, teasing him and saying, "Well, took you long enough." When Obi-Wan retorts that he was beginning to think Qui-Gon would never show up, Qui-Gon replies, "I was always here, Obi-Wan. You just were not ready to see."
It's a moving reunion between Neeson and McGregor, who haven't appeared together since 1999's The Phantom Menace. Over the last 20+ years, Neeson has occasionally popped up in the wider Star Wars universe, lending his voice to episodes of The Clone Wars. He's also set to return for the upcoming animated series Tales of the Jedi. But the Obi-Wan Kenobi finale is the first time he's appeared on screen as Qui-Gon Jinn in more than two decades, and the result is an emotional homecoming for the wise Jedi and his one-time Padawan.
Listen to interviews with Obi-Wan Kenobi stars Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Moses Ingram, Kumail Nanjiani, Rupert Friend, and more on EW's new Star Wars podcast, Dagobah Dispatch.
Ewan McGregor returns to Tatooine to fill in the gaps of what happened to the Jedi Master between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.