How much George Lucas planned out the original Star Wars trilogy is still a hot topic of debate. Much of this centers on how sure he was while making A New Hope that Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker. In a key scene on Tatooine, Obi-Wan tells Luke that Darth Vader “betrayed and murdered your father”, either because he didn’t want to drop the truth bomb that Luke’s father is one of the most feared and powerful men in the galaxy or simply because Lucas hadn’t decided how the story would go.
That lie went on to have major consequences, with Luke’s discovery of his true heritage sending him into a spiral of guilt and anger. Obi-Wan was the natural target of this and during his appearance as a Force Ghost in Return of the Jedi he attempted to clarify that he was right “from a certain point of view”. I guess technically that’s true, but from another ‘point of view’ he lied right to Luke’s face.
This excuse has always felt a bit flimsy, but there’s a little-seen cut moment from the laserdisc release that adds more clarity. After Obi-Wan gives his reasons, Yoda explains that “Obi-Wan would have told you long ago had I let him. Now a great weakness you carry. Fear for you, I do”. This takes the heat off Obi-Wan, revealing that he’d wanted to tell Luke the truth all along, but obeyed Yoda out of respect for the Jedi Master.
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Of course, this only passes the buck to Yoda. However, his residual guilt for this choice may explain why Yoda chose to train Luke despite his Skywalker lineage and him being far older than a regular Padawan. Yoda’s line about Luke’s “weakness” is also telling, particularly as he goes out of his way to make him confront his fears in that memorable hallucinatory cave sequence.
All this means it’s a bit of a head-scratcher that this short moment was cut at all, as it adds some interesting motivation to Luke, Obi-Wan, and Yoda. Then again, we may find out more when Obi-Wan airs next year on Disney Plus, which is sure to shine a light on all kinds of secret Star Wars knowledge.