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Why did Obi-Wan say don’t try it?

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s famous line “Don’t try it” from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith has become one of the most memorable quotes from the prequel trilogy. When Obi-Wan confronts his former apprentice Anakin Skywalker, who has turned to the dark side and become Darth Vader, on the volcanic planet Mustafar, he warns Anakin not to attack him. This leads to Anakin arrogantly attempting to jump over Obi-Wan to attack him, only for Obi-Wan to sever Anakin’s legs and remaining organic arm with his lightsaber. Obi-Wan’s warning and Anakin’s failure to heed it underscores the Jedi Master’s wisdom and the fallen Jedi’s hubris. But why exactly did Obi-Wan tell him “Don’t try it?”

Obi-Wan Was Warning Anakin Not To Fight Him

The most straightforward explanation is that Obi-Wan was telling Anakin not to attempt to duel him or he would be defeated. Throughout the Star Wars saga, Obi-Wan repeatedly warns Anakin and other characters against rash or unwise actions, only to be ignored to disastrous results. As a Jedi Master on the Council, Obi-Wan had attained great wisdom and mastery of lightsaber combat, certainly surpassing Anakin’s skills at this point despite the younger man’s greater raw strength in the Force. Obi-Wan likely recognized that Anakin’s arrogance and succumbing to the dark side had made him reckless and dangerous, but also unfocused compared to a disciplined Jedi Master. Hence, attacking Obi-Wan outright would end badly for the newly christened Darth Vader.

Obi-Wan Had The High Ground

Specifically, Obi-Wan also knew he had a tactical advantage by gaining the literal high ground during the fight. He stood atop the black sandy bank of a lava river while Anakin was down on the molten lava shore. Attacking an opponent on higher ground is notoriously difficult and unwise in swordplay, giving the high ground defender the ability to use gravity and their position to easily deflect or repel any offense from below. Throughout the intense duel between the former master and apprentice, Obi-Wan had deliberately maneuvered himself to claim the high ground advantage. When Anakin angrily leapt at him anyway, Obi-Wan knew he could easily defend himself and counterattack against the unwise move.

Obi-Wan Wanted To Spare Anakin

While Obi-Wan certainly could have killed Anakin outright, some speculate he was still hoping to bring Anakin back to the light. Despite their fierce duel, Obi-Wan repeatedly pleads with Anakin to surrender, regrets meeting him again under these circumstances, and even apologizes after defeating him. Obi-Wan likely did not want to kill his former padawan and friend if he did not absolutely have to. His warning not to continue attacking him could have been a final chance for Anakin to stand down and prevent his own demise. Of course, Anakin refuses and continues his attack anyway, forcing Obi-Wan to incapacitate him completely.

Anakin Was Too Arrogant To Heed The Warning

Just as importantly as Obi-Wan’s reasons for uttering his warning is why Anakin did not listen to his former master’s words. By the time of their fateful duel on Mustafar, Anakin Skywalker had become arrogant and drunk with power as Darth Vader, newly turned to the dark side. He angrily boasted that he had become more powerful than Obi-Wan could ever imagine upon joining the Sith. Consequently, he severely underestimated his former teacher and overestimated his own abilities augmented by the dark side. Anakin’s pride and rage prevented him from being cautious and recognizing that Obi-Wan still surpassed him in skill and discipline despite his weaker connection to the Force itself.

The Dark Side Clouded Anakin’s Judgement

Succumbing to the dark side of the Force also inevitably clouded Anakin’s judgement and strategic thinking. Whereas Jedi like Obi-Wan remained calm and acted with wisdom, dark side users like Anakin were fueled by passion and emotion. In his anger, hatred, and vengeance, Anakin recklessly charged into the duel and subsequent attacks against Obi-Wan. The dark side cannot completely destroy a Force user’s intelligence, but it does lead them to act rashly and arrogantly, overriding caution and discipline. Anakin’s blind fury literally caused him to leap to disastrous results against the collected Obi-Wan.

Anakin Craved More Power

In his conversation with Obi-Wan earlier in the episode, Anakin already revealed that his turn to the dark side was spurred by his desire for greater power, thinking the dark side was stronger. Even Darth Sidious had promised him he could become more powerful than any Jedi. In his arrogance, Anakin thought even Obi-Wan would be no match for his might as a Sith. He likely could not imagine his former master could defeat him now that he had embraced the dark side fully. Anakin’s craving for power led him to overconfidence and reject any notion that Obi-Wan could still defeat him in single combat. This rapidly proved to be a severe miscalculation.


Obi-Wan Kenobi’s warning to Anakin Skywalker not to continue their furious duel highlights the wisdom vs recklessness between these former friends turned enemies. Obi-Wan recognized that Anakin’s aggressive attacks would be unwise and easily anticipated against a disciplined Jedi Master ready for them. Anakin’s prideful arrogance as a new Sith, clouded judgement from the dark side, and craving for greater power led him to arrogantly disregard Obi-Wan’s advice. His foolish attempt to jump over Obi-Wan led to swift dismemberment, reinforcing Obi-Wan’s foresight. This iconic exchange and duel proves a wise warrior should never underestimate an experienced former teacher.

Other Notable Obi-Wan Kenobi Quotes

“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

One of Obi-Wan’s most famous lines using the Jedi mind trick against stormtroopers in A New Hope.

“Use the Force, Luke.”

Obi-Wan urging Luke Skywalker to trust in the Force and turn off his X-Wing’s targeting computer during the Death Star trench run.

“Strike me down and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

Obi-Wan preparing to sacrifice himself to Darth Vader in A New Hope to aid Luke and Leia’s escape.

“Hello there.”

A signature greeting of Obi-Wan’s that became a popular meme. Often said to General Grievous.

“He’s more machine now than man, twisted and evil.”

Obi-Wan lamenting Anakin’s transformation into the cyborg Darth Vader after their duel.

“I have failed you, Anakin. I have failed you.”

Obi-Wan regretting his inability to prevent Anakin’s fall to the dark side in Revenge of the Sith.

“When you were my Padawan, you owed me everything. Now we are equals. I am not your teacher any more. I am your brother.”

Obi-Wan acknowledging Anakin’s Jedi Knighthood before their fated duel on Mustafar.

“So what I told you was true… from a certain point of view.”

Obi-Wan justifying his earlier deception about Vader and Anakin to Luke in Return of the Jedi.

“I will do what I must.”

Obi-Wan stoically preparing to fight his former apprentice Anakin on Mustafar.

Key Facts About Obi-Wan Kenobi


  • Home planet: Stewjon
  • Species: Human
  • Born: 57 BBY
  • Died: 0 BBY on Death Star
  • Master: Qui-Gon Jinn
  • Apprentice: Anakin Skywalker
  • Portrayed by Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness

Powers and Abilities

  • Exceptional lightsaber duelist
  • Master of Soresu form of lightsaber combat
  • Highly skilled in the Force, especially mind tricks
  • Brilliant military strategist and diplomat
  • Piloting skills

Notable Roles

  • Jedi Master on High Council in Prequel Trilogy
  • Trainer and mentor to Anakin Skywalker
  • Exile on Tatooine watching over Luke in Original Trilogy
  • Sacrifice against Darth Vader in A New Hope
  • Force ghost guiding Luke as mentor

Comparison of Jedi Masters

Jedi Master Species Lightsaber Form Notable Apprentices
Yoda Unknown Ataru Count Dooku, Luke Skywalker
Mace Windu Human Vaapad (inventor) Depa Billaba
Obi-Wan Kenobi Human Soresu Anakin Skywalker
Qui-Gon Jinn Human Ataru Obi-Wan Kenobi, Xanatos
Luke Skywalker Human Djem So Ben Solo

This table compares key details about some of the most famous and powerful Jedi Masters in the Star Wars universe. It provides information on their species, preferred lightsaber combat form, and their most notable apprentices. This helps highlight their differences in abilities, specializations, and training lineage across the saga’s history.

Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader’s Journey to the Dark Side

Year Age Event
41 BBY 9 Discovered by Qui-Gon Jinn on Tatooine
32 BBY 18 Begins Jedi training under Obi-Wan Kenobi
22 BBY 28 Marries Padmé Amidala in secret
19 BBY 31 Becomes Darth Vader after turning to dark side
0 BBY 51 Kills Obi-Wan Kenobi aboard Death Star
4 ABY 55 Redemption and death; kills Palpatine

This table chronicles key events in Anakin Skywalker’s life and transformation into the Sith Lord Darth Vader. It shows his discovery by the Jedi, training under Obi-Wan Kenobi, secret marriage to Padmé Amidala, turn to the dark side, battles with Obi-Wan, and final redemption.

Lightsaber Duel Comparison

Duel Jedi Sith Winner
Death Star Obi-Wan Darth Vader Darth Vader
Cloud City Luke Skywalker Darth Vader Darth Vader
Death Star II Luke Skywalker Darth Vader Luke Skywalker
Naboo Palace Obi-Wan & Qui-Gon Darth Maul Obi-Wan
Mustafar Obi-Wan Darth Vader Obi-Wan

This table compares key lightsaber duels between Jedi and Sith in the Star Wars films. It shows the location or setting of the duel, the Jedi and Sith involved, and the eventual winner. This helps highlight famous duels like Luke vs. Vader and Obi-Wan vs. Anakin and how the Jedi and Sith fared in each confrontation.


In the end, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s warning for Anakin Skywalker not to continue attacking him represents an important pivotal moment in their storied relationship. Obi-Wan’s wisdom and discipline as a Jedi Master enabled him to see that Anakin’s reckless arrogance as the newly minted Sith Lord Darth Vader would lead him to disaster. Sadly, Anakin failed to heed the advice of his former mentor, leading to his downfall on Mustafar and then decades as Palpatine’s feared enforcer clad in black armor. This critical episode underscores one of the major themes of the entire Star Wars saga – caution and control as represented by the Jedi, versus recklessness and unchecked emotion embodied in the Sith.