‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Review: “Obi-Wan Kenobi” is a gripping Star Wars series!

Vivien Lyra Blair and Ewan McGregor star as a broken Jedi in an action-packed new adventure on Disney+. Obi-Wan Kenobi cast members Ewan McGregor and John Boyega star in a new Disney Plus series.

For decades, Star Wars fans have wondered how Luke Skywalker evaded capture while hiding in his father’s former home. Obi-Wan Kenobi, a new miniseries on Disney Plus, will answer this question. Can a minor continuity error be stretched out to create a full-length television series that is worth your time?

How Can A Story Be Interesting When You Already Know The Outcome?

Fortunately, the answer appears to be yes based on the first two episodes — both of which are available to stream on Disney Plus today and will be followed by new instalments every Wednesday. New Obi-Wan Kenobi series has great cast and creators who know how to use familiar elements — and crucially, how to hold some back — in a story that is primarily character-driven. Obi-Wan Kenobi (the show) has all the makings of an exciting new series. For those who have been affected by the recent school shooting in Texas, the first episode opens with a scene of children being attacked. 

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Let’s face it, this series could have gone either way. One of the most interesting characters in the entire Star Wars series features Proper Movie Star Ewan McGregor wielding a beard and a lightsaber. But it’s built from the best and the worst of Star Wars (the original film) more than any recent Star Wars show (the overblown, computer-effects-blighted prequel trilogy). Boba Fett: Book of Boba Fett is the second stodgy Star Wars mainstay story to tarnish The Mandalorian’s reputation. With a team that includes Hossein Amini (who wrote McMafia, Drive, and more), Andrew Stanton, Stuart Beattie (who wrote Pirates of the Caribbean), Hannah Friedman (who is also working on Willow for Disney), and Joby Harold, the showrunner, the series is in good hands. Between them, the show’s creators uncover the riveting human drama at the core of the narrative.

That's Obi-Wan Kenobi
That’s Obi-Wan Kenobi

So It’s An Amusement Park With Laser Swords And Rocket Ships?

When his entire civilization was plunged into darkness because of the death of his surrogate son, Obi-Wan — now known simply as “Ben” — was left broken and scarred by his war experiences. This man is broken, and he is left with nothing but a child to console himself with. This makes him a compelling character in and of himself. It’s a moving journey to watch Ewan McGregor take this beloved character down to a shell in this cleverly crafted story. The agony Obi-Wan feels in episodes 1 and 2 as he contemplates a call to adventure and a shocking revelation about his personal life makes me believe this series will finally allow McGregor to shake off the Alec Guinness comparisons (who originally played Obi-Wan in A New Hope). The Bridge on the River Kwai, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Lawrence of Arabia, and Doctor Zhivago star Alec Guinness will always be a cinematic giant. On the other hand, he was asked to play an energetic and slightly crazy space wizard in 1977. As a result, Conor McGregor is able to portray the utter devastation etched into this man’s soul.

Star Wars fans will love the addition of Moses Ingram's chilling Moses Ingram as ruthless Imperial baddie Reva.
Star Wars fans will love the addition of Moses Ingram’s chilling Moses Ingram as ruthless Imperial baddie Reva.

Another clever decision by the authors is to make the antagonists more than just cardboard cutouts. Inquisitors in black are a group of fascist zealots, but they’re not above a little petty workplace drama. Like the Jedi master and trainee relationship, the Grand Inquisitor and his impatient underling are divided by their moon-faced demeanour. While Moses Ingram’s Moses Ingram chillingly plays a cruel functionary of a wicked state, the unhappy and ambitious Reva is just relatable enough to be compelling.

There are some topical topics even in a cosmic shoot ’em up. An oily diplomat who laughs off enslavement and munches canapés says, “The Empire is finally lining some pockets,” as he proceeds to use Star Wars as a metaphor for the subtlety of evil. As their parents’ intolerance is repeated by their children, Obi-Wan worries about the legacy he’s leaving for the next generation. A lot of fun is had in the early episodes between Ewan McGregor and vivacious Vivien Lyra Blair as the story is built up along the lines of The Mandalorian, when our rugged hero takes in Baby Yoda. When it comes to the Obi-Wan series, it brings to mind the 1994 Luc Besson hitman movie Leon: The Professional, rather than the samurai classic Lone Wolf and Cub. This is no accident, given that Natalie Portman starred in Leon just a few years before she was cast as the central figure in the Star Wars prequels. It’s a case of mother and daughter.

To What Do You Refer When You Say “Prequel To A Prequel”?

So tell me, what is the point of this show? Being set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, it can be considered a prequel and prequel to another prequel. It’s an in-between-quel, if you will. When it comes to 2022, there are a few anomalies in the Star Wars universe: It’s hard to see where this series is going if there aren’t more movies in the works to pick up the pieces left behind. Every new Star Wars series is being crammed into the same few decades of galactic history that we’ve already seen many times before through Disney’s Star Wars stewardship. Obi-journey Wan’s is particularly affected by this repetition and familiarity, as Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope already fit together seamlessly.

As a result, the subject our new series addresses is one that has dogged the Star Wars universe since its inception. For how long can the same territory be covered by Star Wars? Even though this galaxy is in the furthest reaches of the universe, it never seems to grow. However, Obi-Wan and his team are aware of the fact that “Ben” on Tatooine isn’t going to last long, and so they immediately set out on a new adventure. The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett both took place on the same desert planet, and the later show truly struggled because of it. While you might assume Obi-Wan to be on a quest to protect Luke, he is instead sent on a mission to do something else that allows for a satisfying galaxy-spanning adventure.

Despite the fact that Tatooine’s familiarity is a plus to the story, the new place it leaps to looks a little familiar. It seems like one of those Marvel TV series like Daredevil, where everyone fights each other on rooftops at night and you can’t see a thing, in episode 2. It’s still a compelling series, despite the fact that you know who can and can’t die in advance. In a galaxy full of blaster wars and bounty hunter droids and imperial bullies, Star Wars fans will find a lot to enjoy here, including a dramatic cameo by Obi-Wan Kenobi that halts the Jedi Master in his tracks. Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kumail Nanjiani, who is clearly enjoying the time of his life, are just some of the new characters we’ll be introduced to.

As it turns out, even when you think Obi-Wan Kenobi is a broken man, the Jedi Master still has a few surprises in store. We have yet to see the entire series, but this latest instalment demonstrates that there is still hope for Star Wars. The remaining episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi will be released on Wednesdays, beginning on June 1st with episode 3 — see the whole release schedule for Obi-Wan Kenobi here. Meanwhile, we’ve got a comprehensive summary and deep dive into episode 1 and episode 2’s easter eggs, character arcs, and cameos.