Series Review: Obi-Wan Kenobi – Season 1 (2022)

“The time of the Jedi is over,” proclaims a wary Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) as he stands in a rocky valley on nightfallen Tatooine. The man with whom he speaks is another Jedi; both men are among the few survivors of Order 66, the Jedi eradication command carried out some 10 years prior. In the years since, Obi-Wan has taken on the name Ben and gone into hiding, surviving only because of the careful steps he takes to keep a low profile. Even as he declares the war over and lost, Obi-Wan sorrowfully refuses to help his fellow force-user, who is in danger of capture and execution. Instead, he advises the man to walk into the desert and bury his lightsaber in the ground.

Who has been put in charge of picking off the few remaining Jedi? A group of force-sensitive hunters called the Inquisitors, it turns out. As the Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) explains to a bar owner suspected of providing illegal sanctuary, “The Jedi hunt themselves… their compassion leaves a trail.” But there is conflict even within the ranks of the Inquisitors. Referred to as Third Sister, Reva (Moses Ingram) is consistently impulsive and obsessive in her quest to find Kenobi – thought by many to be dead – even going so far as hiring bounty hunters to specifically hunt him down. This brings her plenty of criticism from the other Inquisitors, but also catches the attention of none other than Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones reprise their roles as the body and voice of Vader, respectively).

If nothing else, this new Disney Plus miniseries serves to fill some gaps and plot holes in the Star Wars timeline. Such gaps include the fact that Leia Organa knew to send a distress signal to Obi-Wan upon being captured by the Empire in the original 1977 film, or how Obi-Wan knew Anakin/Vader had survived his abandonment on Mustafar, calling him “more machine now than man” in Return of the Jedi (1983). These may seem like irrelevant details, but for fans hungry for timeline tidiness, such as myself, it’s a relief to finally have these minutiae addressed and fixed.

But lucky for us, the positives don’t stop there! Whereas I found my fair share of issues with the series as a whole, I generally found it to be a welcome addition to the Star Wars canon – something becoming increasingly fleeting of late. The Obi-Wan we get in this series is a shell of his adventurous and optimistic former self. Having watched the Jedi order get torn down in a mass genocide and being forced to leave his best friend for dead, he is understandably traumatized.

As I previously highlighted, we also get a pretty good idea how he has survived in hiding for this long – by not only declaring the Jedi dead, but also by practically renouncing their compassionate and helpful ways. Needless to say, Ewan McGregor was born to portray this character. When he is inevitably brought out of the shadows, by necessity and no choice of his own, Obi-Wan truly feels like a fish out of water. Something any and all Star Wars nerds will be happy to know is that his adventures will ultimately bring him face to face with Vader once again, and accounts for some of the best content this franchise has ever seen.

Despite these golden little nuggets the series tosses into the gaping jaws of willing fans, it’s not without its issues. In general, the runtime could be significantly reduced by removing a small fortune of unimportant scenes; it’s no surprise that the series evolved out of an initially planned addition to the “A Star Wars Story” group of films that includes Rogue One and Solo. Additionally, I feel like the Reva character is sorely mis-utilized; this is a character with a unique and intriguing story at her core, the impact of which is undermined by lazy writing and unreasonable villain motivations.

But the pros certainly outweigh the cons; I found myself grinning with childlike giddiness more than groaning in frustration. Like Rogue One and Solo before it, the Obi-Wan series helps to bridge the 20-year gap between the original trilogy and the prequels, and in a way that utilized my nostalgia for both. Despite its flaws, the series serves to further expand the vast Star Wars universe, while simultaneously deepening the characters we know and love.

Overall rating: 6/10

Published by Jeremy Bader

Aspiring writer, film and music lover, drummer.

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