REVIEW: ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ Episodes 1 & 2

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Obi-Wan Kenobi - But Why Tho

Obi-Wan Kenobi is a Disney+ Original Limited Series directed by Deborah Chow and executive produced by Joby Harold. Ten years after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) is living a meager existence on Tatooine while watching over Luke Skywalker. He has turned away from the Jedi code, haunted by his failure to save Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) from falling to the Dark Side. A series of events forces him to leave Tatooine, where he is pursued by the Inquisitors—mostly former Jedi who fell to the dark side and now hunt their own. One Inquisitor, the Third Sister Reva (Moses Ingram) seeks Obi-Wan for seemingly personal reasons.

Though general opinions on the Star Wars prequel trilogy range from disdain to genuine affection, one thing everyone can agree upon is that McGregor delivered one of the best performances throughout. In Obi-Wan Kenobi, he portrays the Jedi Master in a different light: haunted by failure and trying to leave the past behind. The streaks of grey in his hair and wrinkles around his eyes also give McGregor the world-weary visage you’d expect from Obi-Wan at this point in his life. Harold, working off a story by former showrunner Hossein Amini, fills the first two episodes with moments that will tug at the viewers’ heartstrings. He also crafts a story that has plenty of propulsive motion. Unlike The Book Of Boba Fett, every scene has a purpose and keeps the audience engaged.

Obi-Wan Kenobi also continues Star Wars tv’s trend of expanding upon the promise of the prequel trilogy. It continues to show how tragic the events of Revenge of the Sith were, opening in the middle of Order 66 and the fall of the Jedi Temple. Its premiere episode features a majority of scenes on Tatooine, where the course of Obi-Wan’s life was changed forever. And Obi-Wan even gets to put his detective skills from Attack of the Clones to use in the second episode. Though it’s only been two episodes, Harold joins a select group of writers including Charles Soule and Dave Filoni who’ve managed to find the good in nearly every aspect of Star Wars.

It also doesn’t hurt that McGregor is surrounded by a talented supporting cast. The standout of the ensemble is Ingram, whose Third Sister establishes herself as a formidable force. Certain scenes where she threatens the populace of Tatooine and leaps from rooftop to rooftop feel less like Star Wars and more like they’d be at home in a horror movie. Kumail Nanjiani appears as a ne’er do well swindler,  and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea cameos as a bounty hunter. There’s even an appearance from some Star Wars prequel alum. However, I’m not entirely sold on Rupert Friend as the Grand Inquisitor. He lacks the silky menace of Jason Issacs’ performance in Star Wars Rebels

Chow, who previously directed two episodes of The Mandalorian, steps into the director’s chair for the entirety of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Her action sequences are crisp, cleanly edited, and feel packed with adrenaline, whether it’s a shootout or the Inquisitors chasing down one of their Jedi targets. And most of these scenes show that Obi-Wan doesn’t necessarily need the Force or his lightsaber to do battle. The second issue also introduces a new planet, Daiyu, which Chow and cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung film in the vein of a cyberpunk film. Bright neon and shadows stretch as far as the eye can see, and the impressive collection of aliens and droids gives it that classic Star Wars flavor.

Obi-Wan Kenobi serves as a character study for the titular Jedi Master, giving Ewan McGregor the chance to flex his dramatic chops while exploring more of the Star Wars universe. Star Wars fans from every walk of life will find something to enjoy with this series, and I await future episodes, especially since Chow and Harold have teased a showdown between Obi-Wan and Vader.

The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi are available to stream on Disney+, with new episodes premiering on Wednesdays.


Obi-Wan Kenobi Episodes 1 & 2
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Obi-Wan Kenobi serves as a character study for the titular Jedi Master, giving Ewan McGregor the chance to flex his dramatic chops while exploring more of the Star Wars universe. Star Wars fans from every walk of life will find something to enjoy with this series