Warning: This article will contain spoilers from Obi-Wan Kenobi Parts I and II
After years of speculation, confirmation, and anticipation a Star Wars legend returned to the small screen this week. Coming off the heels of an energized Lucasfilm Studio Showcase panel at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, Obi-Wan Kenobi premiered its first two episodes on Disney+ three hours early to the joy of many fans. The series has notably brought back fan-favorites Ewan McGregor as the titular character and Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader. What could have easily floundered under the intense pressure of fan demand in this new era of pop culture soared to new heights for Star Wars television and will hopefully be a sign to come for the rest of the series. Let’s dive into the review!
Part I opens with a touching recap of the prequel trilogy, followed by a flashback scene showcasing yet another perspective of Order 66, infamously seen first in Revenge of the Sith and expanded upon in various forms of Star Wars media. While yet to be confirmed, I have a sneaking suspicion that one of those children featured was the younger version of our antagonist Reva, played by Moses Ingram.
From there we are introduced to our hero, who is not the man he was when we left him in Episode III. He is broken, fearful and full of regret. He hides in the face of adversity and will not intervene, going as far to neglect another exiled Jedi (Benny Safdie) who shows up on his doorstep. Only upon the kidnapping of young Princess Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair) and the pleas of returning hero Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) does Obi-Wan feel compelled to complete one last quest.
In Part II, Kenobi is whisked away to the city-planet Daiyu, which bears similar resemblance to Coruscant from the Star Wars prequels. Here he is faced with new challenges and antagonists, including bounty hunters, Imperial Inquisitors, and even a clever conman played by Kumail Nanjiani. Upon rescuing Leia, the two have an endearing and sometimes comical exchange and chase through the city, culminating with a confrontation with Reva. It is here that the stakes are raised as she reveals to Obi-Wan that Anakin Skywalker still lives, and he is on the hunt for him.
I found these first two episodes to be really impressive. As I mentioned above, this series had so many expectations that it would be almost impossible to deliver on all of them. That being said, the first two episodes do a great job setting up the world and bringing the audience back to a place of comfort with characters that they love, while simultaneously offering them something new and exciting to latch onto.
Audiences knew very little about the plot of the series going in, and that was certainly for the best. Seeing a young Princess Leia, played perfectly again by Vivien Lyra Blair, was unexpected but a great addition to the series. The scenes on Alderaan finally offer audiences the imagery they have awaited since 1977. It is only fitting that 45 years later we return to that world, literally and figuratively.
Ewan McGregor once again shines as Obi-Wan Kenobi, a role you can tell he pours everything into. His blend of his own performance and that of Alec Guinness’ original portrayal stood out as a clear highlight for me early on. His back and forth with Joel Edgerton’s Owen Lars is a great translation and continuation of their previously established relationship in A New Hope and the Star Wars comic series from Marvel.
Moses Ingram as Reva is a character I am still trying to get behind, but I look forward to seeing her develop further throughout the next four episodes. While Darth Vader’s presence looms, I expect her character to continue to be fully developed throughout. Speaking of our dark side users, Obi-Wan Kenobi is the first live-action appearance of the Inquisitorius, an organization of dark-sided Jedi hunters who debuted in the animated series Star Wars Rebels. While their appearance and personalities differ from their animated counterparts, actors Rupert Friend and Sung Kang bring their own interesting takes to the Grand Inquisitor and the Fifth Brother, respectively.
I truly cannot begin to describe how surreal it was to see these episodes play out after waiting for years to see this come to fruition. I could not be more impressed with the level of detail and care that went into the series from every stage of production. There is clear love, appreciation, and respect for the prequel-era of Star Wars and the saga as a whole.
Overall I am blown away by the quality of Obi-Wan Kenobi in all aspects. Having the unified direction of Deborah Chow really brings the whole series together. Between this and the Andor teaser trailer, Star Wars is in good hands for the foreseeable future.
What did you think of this episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi? How did you feel about the story so far? Let us know in the comments below and on our social media pages!