The Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series has been one of the best additions to the Star Wars franchise in recent years. It’s pure Star Wars, exciting and an absolute joy to watch. It’s not been a perfect series, but then none of the franchise is perfect, with, some poor moments, but it’s still by far the best live-action series in the franchise so far.
With any addition to a long-running series, especially when it’s set between two existing films, there’s always a worry that it’s going to feel a little pointless. You know certain things going in, like Obi-Wan is going to survive everything, Dark Vader isn’t going to find out about his children, and so on. A lot of the comics feel like this, where nothing really changes and everything’s the same at the beginning and end. Despite this, the Obi-Wan Kenobi series feels like a genuine addition to the franchise. There’s a deeper understanding of the characters, and how the pieces are set up for A New Hope. It’s not an essential part of the franchise, but it’s far from filler.
Seeing Ewan McGregor back as Obi-Wan has been a pure joy. He’s one of the best characters of the franchise and McGregor has never been better. It’s great to see a new side of him as well, especially from the period the film is set. Hayden Christensen is also back, both in and out of the Darth Vader suit. Vader is brilliant in this series, showing how obsessed he is with finding Obi-Wan, and how ruthless and sinister he’s become.
There are some newcomers as well to the franchise, with Moses Ingram as Reva, one of the Inquisitors who are hunting the last remaining Jedi. She’s a brilliant character, and the series is almost as much hers as it is Kenobi’s. There’s a darkness in her past that is revealed all the way through. At its heart Star Wars has always been a story of redemption, and her story arc fits that perfectly. Vivien Lyra Blair is also beyond excellent as the young Princess Leia, you can absolutely see Anakin and Padme in her, as well as the usual characteristics that we’d expect from Leia.
The characters, new and old, are all fantastic and the show, even at its lowest points, never feels like it’s coming close to being boring. The action is great, and the actual lightsaber duels are fantastic, with that last one going down as one of the best in the entire franchise.
Like all of the Disney Plus shows, there are parts of this that kind of feel a little ‘made-for-TV’. The scope isn’t always there in the settings, and the fights feel a little rushed compared to the films. It’s a minor issue, and one that you forget about quite early on, but with the series coming to cinemas soon that’s going to show a lot more. It still looks polished and high budget, you’re just always aware it’s a show and not a film.
A bigger issue is that the fourth episode is really pointless and feels like filler. Not a lot really happens in it and will probably get worse with each re-watch. There are also a couple of moments throughout that feel like poor choices, the chase with Leia in episode one is probably the worst offender. The grown men struggling to capture her, even though she’s not moving fast, is laughable. As it doesn’t change the plot, and they catch her pretty quickly, it’s easy to look over. In episode four, there’s a moment when Obi-Wan hides from some Stormtroopers, even though they must have seen him, there’s no way they didn’t. It’s a little jarring when things like that happen, but everything else about the series is so good that it’s easy to overlook.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is a really strong show, and the good far outweighs the bad. For anyone else who grew up with the prequel trilogy, this was made for us. Seeing McGregor, and others, back is just fantastic. There’s a lot of talk about whether there will be a season two, and while it is open for that possibility, there’s no real need for it. Then again, there probably wasn’t a real need for this season but it ended up being fantastic anyway, so bring on season two.
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