A rather tired trope that Lucasfilm has been using for years fills in the gaps in and around the prequel and original Star Wars trilogies. That said, in addition to a new trilogy set beyond Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi project led by Ewan McGregor was still arguably the most sought after Star Wars project for over a decade. The foreplay may have been mostly a stony endeavor, but if nothing else, Revenge of the Sith blocked the landing and proved to be an appropriately grand Shakespearean-like tragedy that fits the “science fiction space” subgenre the franchise came up with.
In the first two episodes reviewed by Digital Trends, Lucasfilm and Disney + ‘s Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series begins with a gloomy, melancholy look at the Star Wars universe struggling in a post-Order 66 galaxy, showing fans the latest iteration of McGregor’s respected Jedi Master, who deserves one final sequel. With a new kind of threat imposed on him and a charming supportive character that will surely please stubborn fans, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a triumphant return of a beloved character thanks to a compelling story and outstanding performances by the cast.
Note: The rest of this story contains spoilers for the first two episodes of Lucasfilm Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The galaxy is in one of the worst states it has ever been, with the opening moments of the first episode showing a well-choreographed battle scene featuring a Jedi Master defending clone soldiers from her cubs.
A decade later, we see a tired and half-defeated Obi-Wan Kenobi in exile and continue to blame himself for failing his former protégé without preventing him from crossing to the Dark Side. Ever since Ewan McGregor’s concept of portraying a tired and battle-hardened Obi-Wan was revealed years ago, most fans had a good idea of what he would look like and act like. It’s safe to say, after two episodes in, that McGregor hasn’t missed a beat since his days in the Clone Wars and he elevates that perfect vision of the franchise icon from the collective fan consciousness.
The way these episodes, namely Part Iare written and directed also feel a bit reminiscent of the noir interpretation of James Mangold Wolverine in the exceptional Logan: An eminent hero, who was once part of a group of “knights in shining armor,” who supported a noble cause, is now reduced to being beaten a loner, hunted down, and fled. But even with such a sad scenario and premise, the heartwarming nuances of the heroic father / brother figure of 10 years ago flow through – as Obi-Wan’s kindness should.
It’s another testament to how seamless McGregor’s acting skills fit into this character and further cement – as sacrilegious as it might sound to some veteran fans – his repetition as the definitive Obi-Wan Kenobi, while also linking the points between his and the sage of Alec Guinness. version first seen in New Hope. Something that was also great to see affected was the character’s PTSD, as he is plagued by the past and his perceived failure in raising Anakin Skywalker.
These episodes suggest that director Deborah Chow and writer Joby Harold could keep their promise to make this a story that explores the emotional depths of his titular character at a darker point in his life, balanced with an unmistakably Star Wars and Kenobi brand of faithful endurance.
A unique kind of threat
Since most of the general audience knows where the story will ultimately take place, it always took some persuasion to do so. the interests of Obi-Wan Kenobi feel real. In Anakin’s own words, Obi-Wan has the wisdom of Grandmaster Yoda and the strength of Mace Windu, so there aren’t many who match him in ability.
This story will always have to give him some credible handicap to make the tension sincere, and the first two episodes don’t waste time to sense the presence of the Inquisitorius. Rupert Friend does an excellent job of conveying the great Inquisitor’s ominous and impressive sense of danger, but special praise goes to Moses Ingram’s treatment of the original Reva character, aka the Third Sister.
Ingram portrays this new villain with such barely limited aggression that it becomes a thrill to see her throw her weight around a room. None of these villains – except a certain black-armored-clad, one-man army – would pose a threat to someone like Kenobi under normal circumstances, but the combination of being limited in his use of the Force and his lightsaber with the cunning and cunning of Reva. ruthlessness makes the perfect cocktail for central conflict.
The Inquisitors are a great threat, but using Reva as a wild card from this set of Jedi hunters could be a great way to advance the conflict until the inevitable “revenge of the century” rolls around.
The only thing that could be questioned – unless it was shown otherwise – is whether having the Grand Inquisitor killed this early will pay off in the long run. Having Reva take the spot from inside the Inquisitors and even kill the leader is a mark for these villains, but seeing the internal feud between the two play a little longer before bubbling in a coup may have been a better angle.
Comic book fans will know that the Great Inquisitor is still alive (ia), but it’s unclear how much the show will pay attention to that, if at all.
Aside from just wanting as much content as possible as soon as possible, the two-episode premiere looks like a good call, as Part I feels like a decently slower introduction while Part II increased the adventurous pace. Most exciting, perhaps, is the fact that the second episode finally takes viewers beyond the dunes of Tatooine. For such a vast galaxy, it feels like too much of Lucasfilm’s toy box ends up being Tatooine or some variation of it.
The decoration and cinematography well highlight the neon nightlife of the Hong Kong Daiyu. Also, it made a great backdrop for a “hunter-versus-hunt” episode. But aside from the emotions, the addition of young Princess Leia as an extra dose of personality was refreshing.
Actress Vivian Lyra Blair presents a stunning portrayal that feels like a perfect representation of what Carrie Fisher originally brought to the screen in the original trilogy. She captures that same wit and determination that was the essence of the hereditary character, and seeing her dynamic with Obi-Wan was a pleasure. It’s a relationship that is greatly missed due to its importance to the Skywalker Saga, and it also provides a welcome context and a more emotional weight for New Hope.
It’s an overall strong start to Obi-Wan Kenobishowing that the remaining four episodes could have the legs to give the titular Jedi Master a proper victory lap.
Obi-Wan Kenobithe first two episodes are now streaming. The remaining four will air weekly, with the series finale arriving on June 22nd.