Director: Deborah Chow
Story by: Stuart Beattie and Hossein Amini
Teleplay by: Joby Harold (episodes 1 & 2), Hossein Amini and Stuart Beattie (Episode 1)
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rupert Friend, Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Benny Safdie, Bonnie Piesse, Simone Kessel, Vivien Lyra Blair, Kumail Nanjiani, and Jimmy Smits
Obi-Wan Kenobi is probably the most anticipated addition to the Star Wars universe in recent years. It’s a true continuation of the prequel trilogy, that fills in some gaps between Episode III and IV. Set ten years after Order 66 was issued in Revenge of the Sith, we find Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in hiding on Tatooine, looking out for Luke Skywalker who was left with his uncle and aunt. He’s a recluse, working a dead-end job and making barely enough credits to get by. At the same time another Jedi is spotted on the planet and the Inquisitors are out to find him.
The first two episodes of Kenobi are absolutely fantastic. The show is pure Star Wars from start to finish. It feels like one of the comics, set between the main films and adding to the characters and overarching story, but in live action. McGregor is simply phenomenal, fitting back into Obi-Wan with ease. This version of Kenobi is older, weighed down by what happened in the prequel films. He’s ready to give up on the world, telling someone that the Jedi are over.
There’s a moment early on, when the Inquisitors are hunting a different Jedi, where one says that they are unable to stand by while others are hurt, that their compassion will lead them to be found. Yet later, when Kenobi is in a crowd, facing the same Inquisitors, he doesn’t stand to anyone’s defence. He’s someone who is losing his way but is brought back on track with a mission from an old friend that kicks the main plot into action.
There isn’t a missed beat in the first two episodes, with the story moving quickly and plenty of lore and nods to the wider universe to keep the die-hard fans rewatching and theorising. The length is around ninety minutes when the episodes are combined, but truly feels like no time has passed and knowing there’s only four episodes left already is a little sad, as they will most likely speed past as well.
Amongst old characters returning like Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa, there is also Vivien Lyra Blair, who plays a ten-year-old Leia, and does a really good job. At points she feels like both Anakin and Padme, and also shows hints at what’s to come with her character. She feels completely authentic to the Leia we all know, and when so many of the books and comics feel just slightly off, that’s a really great thing. Kumail Nanjiani also makes an appearance as Haja Estre, a conman pretending to be a Jedi, and as always is a great addition to the cast.
Kenobi is by far the strongest of the live-action Star Wars series so far, and if the first two episodes is anything to go by the rest of the series is going to be great, especially with an appearance from Anakin Skywalker himself, Hayden Christensen, coming in the next few weeks.
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Wow, I’m not sure we watched the same show.
I’ve seen some negative reviews and I can completely understand the criticisms, but I really enjoyed it and none of them bothered me.
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