Star Wars: A New Hope Was Supposed To Feature An Epic Force Duel

The script for Star Wars: A New Hope originally called for a force duel between Obi-wan Kenobi and Darth Vader.

By Mark McKee | Published

star wars force duel

It is hard to argue that the Star Wars franchise isn’t best known for its epic battle sequences involving the lightsabers; watching a Jedi and a Sith go toe-to-toe in a battle to the death with crimson and emerald-colored plasma blades is what dreams are made of. One thing that is difficult to ignore as a fan through the years is the technological and choreographical differences between the original trilogy and the newer installments. But according to the late Peter Mayhew’s Twitter account, the most famous battle between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the first Star Wars film was very different, including a force push and leaving Obi-Wan Kenobi alive. 

According to the late Chewbacca actor’s post, the lightsaber duel was the second half of a battle that gave a lot more context into the combat philosophies of the two warring factions of force users. One of the long-contested points among Star Wars loyalists is the force push and why it isn’t used more in battles; if you can lift your opponent and toss them into the vacuum of space, why waste time fencing with a laser sword? In the scene pulled from the original Star Wars: A New Hope script, the two force users engaged in a telekinetic showdown that saw Vader attempt a force push on Kenobi, and the older Jedi master resisted the force and fought back. 

The two then engaged in the lightsaber duel that fans saw (or at least saw a version of) in the final film, only with Kenobi escaping onto the Millenium Falcon carrying the tracker. 

Of course, there are numerous reasons why the Star Wars crew changed the battle sequence framework and removed the force duel, but the most likely scenario is that the technology of the time would have made the scene less believable. While the team was able to create some force-wielding in the lightsaber battles between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, a force push is a little more challenging to pull off. 

alec guinness
Alec Guinness as Obi-wan Kenobi in Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Beyond creating a lightsaber showdown that feels very bland and tame when compared to the newer Star Wars duels, removing the force push also created problems with the dialogue. When Darth Vader meets with his old mentor, he utters a now famous line referring to the weakening of his powers. While that line displays the extrasensory ability to feel another force-users presence and power levels, it would have made a lot more sense if he had just witnessed his inability to fight back telekinetically. 

A lot has changed in the Star Wars universe since A New Hope hit theaters and changed the world, but one thing that endures is the attention to detail fans still have. When some fans point to the tame duel as evidence that the two were older and not in their primes, others will point to the scene at the end of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and argue that Vader was absolutely in his prime. Either way, Star Wars eradicating the force duel changed the framework of the Star Wars Universe.