The conversation near the beginning of A New Hope (1977) — where Obi-Wan Kenobi explains the legend of all things metaphysical to Luke Skywalker — is one of the most integral in Star Wars mythology, a turning-point that provides the catalyst for Luke to become an iconic Jedi Knight.
But a huge part of Obi-Wan's story is, as we later find out, a huge lie: Darth Vader didn't kill Luke's father, he is his father, but Obi-Wan neglects to mention this crucial fact. Later in Return of the Jedi (1983), Luke is visited by Obi-Wan's Force spirit, and when he asks him why he lied, Obi-Wan explains as follows:
"Your father... was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be the Jedi Anakin Skywalker and 'became' Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So, what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Obi-Wan's explanation appears to be based on a metaphorical interpretation of his infamous fib, with the dark side "killing" the old Anakin and turning him into #DarthVader. And in many ways this is true, but there could be a different point of view on Obi-Wan's certain point of view.
'Aftermath: Empire's End' Gives Obi-Wan A Religious Motivation To Lie
In the recently released #StarWars novel, Aftermath: Empire's End, author Chuck Wendig included a passage from the Journal of the Whills. For those unfamiliar, the journal is a guidebook to all things related to the Force. It was originally planned as a plot device by George Lucas in A New Hope, but was only confirmed as canon in the novelization of The Force Awakens, which opens with a passage from the journal.
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The passage included in Aftermath: Empire's End — which focuses on events in the Star Wars timeline between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens — makes clear allusions to Obi-Wan's explanation to Luke. It states:
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.
In addition, Obi-Wan has a direct link to the Journal of the Whills. It was included in early drafts of A New Hope, but didn't make the final cut. In Revenge of the Sith, the original screenplay depicted Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn learning the skill to eternal consciousness — the key to becoming a Force spirit — from a Shaman of the Whills.
Fast forward to The Clone Wars, and Qui-Gon teaches Yoda the skill to eternal consciousness. And, although the Shaman of the Whills isn't explicitly stated, their significance is later confirmed by The Force Awakens novelization. Putting the pieces together, and considering Qui-Gon was Obi-Wan's #Jedi master, it makes sense that Obi-Wan recited passages from the journal during his spiritual journey.
Does This Change 'A New Hope'?
The passage is an admirable retrospective reference to the influence the Journal of the Whills had on the Jedi, and the religious connotations definitely enhance the understanding of why Obi-Wan lied to #LukeSkywalker. But it doesn't change Obi-Wan's motivation.
In the situation, it made sense for Obi-Wan to hide the truth. Things wouldn't have gone to plan had he said: "Oh, your father? We used to be friends, but then he turned a bit evil so I used my lightsaber to chop off his arms and legs and left him dying in molten lava and didn't think he'd survive and go on to become the force he is, to be honest. Used to be a nice guy, though."
#ObiWan needed to lie in that moment, he needed to protect Luke from the truth until he was mature enough to handle it. Instead, what this passage does tell us is that Obi-Wan struggled with the deception, but found solace in the passage, helping him to understand his actions were for the greater good.
Was Obi-Wan right to lie to Luke about his father?