To bring back Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen to reprise their roles as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader in a show where John Williams himself composed the theme only for it to become a distant memory a few weeks after its release… is truly remarkable. This was my most anticipated show for Disney+, I was beyond ecstatic for this and yet I never even tuned in once during its six-week run. I only binged it after as not only was I busy but no one made it out like it was a must-see event. There are so many other shows that took over the internet by storm week by week this year. Look at ‘Euphoria’, ‘The Boys’ and ‘Stranger Things’. Even if you weren’t tuned in, you knew exactly what was going on this season because all of Twitter was talking about it. It genuinely baffles me how a show with this much going for it faded away like this. That is… until I sat down and saw it for myself.
major spoilers for the limited series, ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ are featured in this review.
‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ manages to justify it’s existence so much to the point that it feels crucial to this saga. How it goes about executing this story is another thing. To get it out of the way, this show isn’t bad, at least not till the finale. It has a lot going for it. Ewan McGregor is back as Obi-Wan and it’s incredible, he delivers both great hair and a great performance. Darth Vader returns yet again and he is perhaps the most menacing he’s been in a while, my mind still cannot comprehend how Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones are both playing him at the same time. It is very much pleasing the ‘Star Wars’ fan inside me. Seeing a young Leia roam around the galaxy with Obi-Wan was something I didn’t know I needed, Vivien Lyra Blair did a wonderful job! We also got a great villain in Moses Ingram’s Reva who was definitely a highlight until the finale when they decide to use her because the plot needs her to stick around a bit more. There is a lot to like about this show, in fact I actually loved how they explored Obi-Wan’s immense guilt and trauma from the events of Episode III. I also loved how they brought in Vader for this, he was truly menacing and they gave him some of his greatest moments in this show. They did a great job bringing Anakin out of Vader with his actions and dialogue at times, this still isn’t the Vader from Episode IV, he hasn’t moved on yet, neither of them has. Yet, the most I got out of Obi-Wan and Vader’s interactions was through their dialogue as the action fails this show and it’s characters quite a few times.
This show makes a lot of choices, some of them are fantastic like the ones I just mentioned. Other times they are just baffling. The use of shaky cam in this show is actually insane. It is the climactic fight between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader, it’s the final episode, the moment everyone has been waiting for… so why can’t I actually see what’s going on? It’s poorly filmed and frustratingly unoriginal, these are two of the most iconic characters of all time, we know they’re going to make it out alive so why not put them in situations that briefly suspend that knowledge? Darth Vader setting Obi-Wan on fire as payback was brutal and brilliant, that was what this battle lacked. Obviously, Obi-Wan was going to survive the debris impact, there was rarely any tension present in this scene even moreso when you remember how they kept cutting back to Reva hunting down Luke for absolutely no fucking reason. I loved Reva but why the hell was she still alive in the finale? Why does this franchise insist on including Luke in every single ‘Star Wars’ project that’s come out on Disney+? You’re telling me that in ten years, Mark Hamill’s Luke is going to forget that a Jedi with a bright red lightsaber hunted him down one night? Leia already knew who Obi-Wan was so her involvement makes sense, it’s decisions like these that bog the show down an unnecessary amount.
The reason why I love ‘The Mandalorian’ so much is because it feels disconnected from the movies, or at least it did, it was a simple story set in the ‘Star Wars’ universe which was explored and captured magnificently well. ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’s connection to the movies is obviously crucial and with it being a limited series, time needs to be distributed in a smart way. With the number of characters in here, I feel like it was a bit messy. Kenobi, Leia and Vader were obviously treated with a respectable amount but I feel that Indira Varma’s Tala was underwritten just like a Rogue One character and Kumail Nanjiani was completely misused, his character was honestly annoying which is a shame because he would’ve fit in quite nicely had he be given a proper role. The entire Owen and Beru plotline in the finale was actually laughable, it was so funny to me I’m sorry. Overall, for a show centred around Obi-Wan, we didn’t really get too much of that in the finale. It leaves room for a second season because of course it does. It wasn’t really a satisfying ending as I felt that the final interaction between him and Vader could’ve had a much bigger punch. I loved their dialogue, it was easily the most emotional the show got and I wish we got more of that.
Maybe just maybe it’s the nostalgia talking but ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ delivers just enough on it’s ambitious promise that it is actually worth checking out. It fills in the gaps for Kenobi and Vader during Episode III and IV in a mostly satisfying way and it explored elements of both their characters that I would argue are crucial to them. The cast is great, seeing Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen back and being embraced is such a nice feeling. Moses Ingram and Vivien Lyra Blair were also a true delight to watch. The sets looked great, especially in ‘Part II’, the music was fantastic throughout and the script… well it was questionable at times. It could’ve been better but at least I finished it, I can’t say the same for ‘The Book of Boba Fett’. ‘Star Wars’ is indeed in a very weird place right now.
All Episodes of ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ are now streaming on Disney+.