The Star Wars universe continues to expand with Disney+’s latest offering Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ewan McGregor returns in the title role almost 20 years since he played the former Jedi master in Revenge of the Sith. The new limited series offers to fill in the gap between the prequel film and A New Hope as it explores Kenobi as he isolates himself from the rest of the galaxy to keep an eye on a young Luke Skywalker before destiny calls for him. Much like what was shown in the two-episode premiere, Obi-Wan Kenobi brings the franchise into a new direction as the series sheds new light on some familiar characters. The show balances some epic sci-fi battles with some personal stories behind the galaxy’s most legendary heroes and villains.
Picking up 10 years after Revenge of the Sith, we find Obi-Wan Kenobi in the outskirts of Tattoine as he continues to keep tabs on the young Luke Skywalker while examining his own failures as a Jedi after losing his Padawan Anakin to the dark side. He tries to keep himself out of sight from the Galactic Empire as they send in Inquisitors to hunt and kill any remaining Jedi across the galaxy. The opening starts with Order 66 as the show transitions from the dangerous times of the Clone Wars to an era of loss and obscurity. Despite that, there are those like the Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) and Reva/Third Sister (Moses Ingram) who make sure that there are no Jedi left to bring hope back into the galaxy. Obi-Wan quickly finds himself out of hiding from a trap Reva sets him up for, putting the former Jedi into danger once more.
It’s in the first two episodes that wastes no time as the story sets itself up with familiar faces from the Star Wars lore. Other than Tattoine, we also travel to the crime-ridden planet of Daiyu, where most of the action takes place with Obi-Wan. What led him here is he ends up on a rescue mission to save a young Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair), who gets introduced into the series. With these turn of events, it’ll soon lead our hero to the discovery of his fallen brother Anakin, who has taken the mantle of Darth Vader. What we got here is a game between these two as Obi-Wan tries to stay out of sight while Reva does her best to capture him offering a bounty on his head to every hunter in the cosmos.
McGregor easily saddles back into the role that turned him into one of the most recognizable actors in the industry and does it with ease. Even though so much time has passed since the Scottish actor played Obi-Wan, it works in his favor to play this former Jedi going through this tough phase in his life as he tries to leave the life he once had. We see so much baggage that he carries in him as he struggles with PTSD from Revenge of the Sith and ultimately losing someone he thought of as a brother. The new series feels like a great addition to the prequel films and uses that trilogy to tell a fresh story in that cannon. It will be good to see how his relationship with Leia will play out since we never saw these characters ever share a scene onscreen and this version of her feels like a breath of fresh air.
Obi-Wan Kenobi has its work cut out for it as it relies a lot on the history of Star Wars and nostalgia but it can only go so far. While having fan service can have its advantages, the series might need to take a different direction to bring some new stories to tell. What the first two episodes have done is show what we’ve already known about our beloved characters and we certainly know how this all ends if we are well-versed in the history of Star Wars. Perhaps the most intriguing part of the series is Reva’s journey as she shares a mysterious connection with Obi-Wan. She certainly is being set up as a threat to the former Jedi master, so it’ll be interesting to see how this conflict would eventually culminate in a confrontation between these two. Of course, that won’t rival what’s to come with the return of Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader and how these two former comrades will come face-to-face.
So far, Obi-Wan Kenobi brings enough promise to craft a potentially good story revolving around one of Star Wars’ well-known characters. With some great performances led by the incredible McGregor, the show offers great things to come for long-time fans. The first two episodes give a strong start to the series that weighs heavily on emotions than action. This will thread a path that one of the last Jedi must follow to seek redemption and revitalize the hope that was once lost in the galaxy. Despite not knowing where the series will go from here, Obi-Wan Kenobi has proven that there is still life left in the Star Wars universe and we are all in on the ride.