REVIEW: Obi-Wan Kenobi Gives Star Wars Fans Exactly What They Wanted
After years of planning, rewrites, waiting, and anticipating, Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi has finally dropped on Disney+. It's no secret that production on the newest series from the galaxy far, far away took longer than expected. Because of that, the hype has been real as the May 27 release date drew ever nearer, and fans could hardly wait. Apparently, the bigwigs at Disney couldn't wait either. So, to everyone's delight, the series' first two episodes dropped a few hours early, giving fans an early glimpse at a series that delivers exactly what they've asked for.
Starring Ewan McGregor as the legendary Obi-Wan Kenobi and Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader, the series is set midway between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Without a fully formed Rebel Alliance, it's a time of great darkness and a lack of hope that calls for individual solidarity. The question is: How will Obi-Wan handle the darkness that's hunting him with a vengeance?
While most fans were eagerly anticipating the series, others began watching with some healthy reservations. The Mandalorian set the precedent for Star Wars television, and it set an incredibly high benchmark over its first two seasons. Accordingly, fans went into The Book of Boba Fett with high expectations. Much of that series wasn't bad, and there were a lot of great moments. However, there was a portion of the fandom that was displeased with how Boba Fett's nostalgic character was handled.
With that in mind, some fans were worried about Obi-Wan's small screen debut, but that sense of worry was complexly unnecessary. Director Deborah Chow didn't let fans down, and the first two episodes of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi are genuinely impressive. The two available episodes deliver exactly what fans wanted, and more importantly, they feel just like Star Wars. The innate struggle between good and evil is very prevalent, despite the few twists that place unexpected characters on interesting sides of the equation.
Part 1 opens on Tatooine. As expected, Ewan McGregor does an outstanding job of portraying the "broken" and "faithless" Jedi master. It had been 10 years since the damning duel with his former apprentice, and he was settled into the monotony of a routine life. The pacing of the first episode is kind of slow, but that's exactly the point. Obi-Wan was leading a wearisome life, filled with guilt and regret. A full decade after Order 66, he still hadn't come to terms with his own shortcomings. In fact, when an old friend comes pleading for a favor, Obi-Wan initially declines. The former Jedi master simply doesn't trust himself.
In a noticeable improvement from The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi doesn't get bogged down by a slow-developing plot. By the time Part 1 ends, everything is set in motion. The second installment is also cameo-filled, action-packed, and visually on point. The episode leaves Tatooine and sees Obi-Wan forced out of his exile to complete a dangerous mission. Unfortunately for him, though, he steps right into a trap.
While the plot, dialogue, and general feel of the first two episodes were on point, there was one particular issue -- and it's not a new issue. Ever since Obi-Wan Kenobi's first trailer came out, fans have been slightly displeased with the look of The Grand Inquisitor and The Fifth Brother. Ultimately, they looked like human actors in make-up rather than alien species. Given Star Wars' typical attention to detail, that one aspect comes up short. Even still, that is easy to overlook with everything else that the series did right. So, there's no worry that fans will be back next week for the third installment.
Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi Part I and II are streaming now on Disney+.