The Star Wars Skywalker saga charted almost the entire life of Anakin Skywalker, but how old were he and Obi-Wan Kenobi in both of their lightsaber duels? Obi-Wan and Anakin may have started out as master and apprentice, a relationship that eventually turned into a real friendship, but things soured as Anakin became increasingly dissatisfied with the Jedi Order and corrupted by the dark side. Anakin may have been the Chosen One, but that didn’t stop him and Obi-Wan engaging in a fateful duel on the lava planet of Mustafar, as seen in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
Many years later, the pair would meet again for a rematch in Star Wars: A New Hope. Now fully transformed into Darth Vader, the student proclaimed that he had become the master over his visibly much older opponent, and so it proved to be true. Vader ended up winning the fight, with Obi-Wan allowing himself to be killed in order to help Luke Skywalker. It brought to an end a great journey for the Jedi, but at what age did he die, and how old was his opponent?
Anakin is 9-years-old in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which takes place in 32BBY. The events of Revenge of the Sith are dated as happening in 19BBY in Star Wars canon, which means that Darth Vader was 22-years-old when he engaged in the duel that would change his life and body forever. Obi-Wan, by contrast, was several years older than his apprentice. According to Star Wars: Card Trader, Obi-Wan was born in 57BBY. That means in Revenge of the Sith he is 38-years-old, with a good 15-year advantage over his opponent, and he uses every bit of that experience to help him win. It’s a different story in A New Hope, when Obi-Wan is older and slower – given this is ground zero for the Star Wars timeline, taking place in 0BBY, it means Darth Vader is 41-years-old at this point, while Obi-Wan is 57 when he dies.
Their respective actors’ ages aren’t too off either. David Prowse, the actor who played Darth Vader in A New Hope, was 42-years-old at the time of release (voice actor James Earl Jones was 46), while Hayden Christensen played Anakin in Revenge of the Sith at 24. Obi-Wan actor Alec Guiness was 63-years-old when Star Wars released in 1977, while Ewan McGregor, who took on the role for the prequels, was 34 at the time of Revenge of the Sith‘s 2005 release. Ultimately, both characters died too young: Star Wars Legends previously established that humans could have a natural lifespan of 100-120 years, and longer if they were highly attuned to the Force, while canon re-adjusted this to be in line with real life expectancies, but still Obi-Wan was too young when he died.
That goes even more for Darth Vader, who passed away just 4-years after his old mentor in Return of the Jedi, at the age of 45. However, because of the ravages taken on his body on Mustafar and his many battles since, he was in far worse condition than his middle age would suggest. That’s why he’s played while unmasked in that film by Sebastian Shaw, who was 78 at the time of Return of the Jedi‘s release. Both Obi-Wan and Anakin died younger than they should have, but it’s also undeniable the imprint they left upon the Star Wars galaxy, which is made all the more impressive by the tender ages they did it at.
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