Ewan McGregor steps back into the saddle–er, into the robe–for the new Lucasfilm limited series, Obi-Wan Kenobi, on Disney+.
The following is light on spoilers but as is my custom for a show or movie of this nature, I’m using the artwork to separate the rest of my review.
While it’s been 17 years in real life, it’s only been ten years since Revenge of the Sith. There was a time when I didn’t think of any this would be possible. All these years where Ewan McGregor hinted at wanting to play the Jedi Master again. And then Solo happened and it was basically the end of anthology movies as we know it. The nice thing about Disney+ is that we don’t have to worry about the box office. It’s being billed as a limited series so my guess is that this could be the end of McGregor’s time as the Jedi Master. If this is the case, I tip my cap to Ewan because it’s been quite the ride. But still, I would love to see Obi-Wan Kenobi go on another adventure!
Here’s what we know about Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) at this point in time: he refers to himself as Ben. He’s no longer using his lightsaber and in fact, both sabers are buried in the sand. When a Jedi, Nari (Benny Safdie), on the run comes to him for help, Kenobi tells him to forget it all. Bury the saber and just let the past live in the past. It is not what one expects of Kenobi because he’s a broken man. With Inquisitors, led by the Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend), going after the Jedi, it is best to just stay on the down low.
While the audience knows that Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) is alive, Kenobi thinks he is dead. The same goes for Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton), who really wants nothing to do with the Jedi at this point. Can you blame him at all? It doesn’t stop Kenobi from looking after a young Luke Skywalker, much to Owen’s dismay. We already knew that Owen wasn’t much of a Kenobi fan and even resents the idea of Kenobi training Luke Skywalker sooner than later.
What I love about the first two episodes is just getting to see Obi-Wan Kenobi in action again. The only reason he’s in this mess is because Reva/Third Sister (Moses Ingram) is using Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair) to get to him as bait. Would it be Star Wars without Luke and Leia having some sort of involvement. Probably not. At least, not in certain parts of the galaxy! I can’t wait to see how things play out over the next month. The fight between Kenobi and Vader will almost certainly be one for the ages. We’ve been waiting a long time for it and it’s got to pave the way for Star Wars: A New Hope. Where things stand right now, it’s hard to believe that this guy once fought in the Clone Wars. He no longer has any faith. Order 66 really did a number on him.
It wouldn’t be Star Wars without some comic relief. I won’t spoil it but you’ll see the moments when they happen. I know I had some fun while watching!
Deborah Chow does a solid job in directing the first two episodes. She’s really fit for the Star Wars universe. If her work on The Mandalorian wasn’t proof enough, this certainly is. Directing a limited series of this nature is basically like directing a feature film, albeit probably two features. Cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung is a newcomer to the universe but the lighting and lensing is perfect for what a Star Wars series should be.
John Williams returns to score the series theme while Natalie Holt takes over scoring duties. I love that we get another John Williams tune in the Star Wars saga. He is one of the greatest composers of all time and his work truly speaks for itself.
Should you rewatch the prequels heading into the series? I mean, that’s up to you. If anything, you should watch Revenge of the Sith just to see Anakin’s downfall. I mean, the film’s events have an impact on the series storytelling from the nightmares right down to the main plot. At one point, Kenobi tells Leia that she reminds him of Padme (Natalie Portman). Hands down, this is going to be one of the most emotional moments by the end. Padme was a real leader and a dear friend and one can only assume how much hurt that he still feels for her loss. The only thing about Leia’s inclusion in the series is proving a tie to the events in 1977’s Star Wars. However, the series does a solid job of recapping the prequel trilogy. Speaking of the prequels, Temuera Morrison cameos as a veteran down-on-his-luck Clone Trooper.
If there’s anything that’s disappointing about the first two episodes of the series, it’s the lack of Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn. Yoda told Obi-Wan to communicate with the late Jedi Master before they departed to exile on Dagobah and Tatooine, respectively. If the two episodes are any indication, Kenobi has been in touch. Neeson does not appear in the credits and if his voice was heard, my air conditioning unit cancelled it out. Of course, I reserve full judgement until after the series finale in mid-to-late June.
Watching Obi-Wan Kenobi is like getting to see old friends again and going on a new adventure.
SHOWRUNNER/DIRECTOR: Deborah Chow
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Deborah Chow, Ewan McGregor, Joby Harold
CAST: Ewan McGregor, Vivien Lyra Blair, Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell, Benny Safdie, with Jimmy Smits and Hayden Christensen
Disney launched the first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi on May 27, 2022. Weekly episodes will follow on Wednesdays. Grade: 4/5
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