Title: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Release Date: 2022
Creator/Head Writer/Showrunner: Deborah Chow
Production Company: Lucasfilm
The Star Wars franchise has a way of defying my expectations for good or for ill. There are some things I eagerly anticipated seeing that ended up being rather bad (The Phantom Menace, The Rise of Skywalker). Then there are things that I originally questioned why they needed to be made that turned out to be among the best Star Wars works ever (Rogue One, The Mandalorian).
When I heard there would be a show about Obi-Wan Kenobi set between Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars, I didn’t really think that there was any good story to be told during that time. Then the news that Hayden Christensen was cast to return as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, I wondered what the point was since he’d be behind a mask and voiced by James Earl Jones. Well, all of my questions were answered to my satisfaction and beyond in this series that really delves into some of the most compelling characters in the Star Wars universe.
For all the flaws of the prequels, it did have some talented actors with Ewan McGregor among this best. This show allows McGregor to flourish as he portrays the Jedi master dealing with guilt and isolation as he’s separated himself from the Force while watching over they young Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely). Christensen, who was criminally underserved by the poor scripts in the prequel, gets to show off his acting chops as well. Newcomer Moses Ingram appears as Reva Sevander, a Force-sensitive Inquisitor working for the Empire to hunt down Jedi, also does a great job.
Of course, the best part of this series was a huge surprise and I’m going to hide it below the trailer in case you’ve read this far but don’t want to see spoilers.
The death of Carrie Fisher threw a monkey wrench into The Rise of Skywalker which should have been a celebration of Leia Organa. While we’ll always miss Fisher, we are blessed with Vivien Lyra Blair who stepped into the role as the 10-year-old Princess. She shows herself to be the bold leader in the making with all of the older Leia’s caustic humor. Young Leia proves to be the catalyst of the series as her abduction prompts Bail (Jimmy Smits) and Breha Organa (Simone Kessell) to plead with Obi-Wan to find her. The adventures help Obi-Wan grapple with his past while encountering the nascent Rebel alliance.
Like the best of Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi has some great action sequences, including Obi-Wan facing off with Darth Vader in multiple episodes. But it doesn’t allow action to deter from the heart of Star Wars which is the great characters. Additional returning characters include Bonnie Piesse as Beru Whitesun Lars, Joel Edgerton as Owen Lars:, and Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn. New characters include Kumail Nanjiani (of Eternals fame) as Haja Estre and Indira Varma as Tala Durith, both of whom help Obi-Wan and play a part in the emerging rebellion. While the show does feel a bit rushed at some parts (and a bit padded at others) overall it’s an excellent addition to Star Wars lore.
And now I’m worried that there’s going to be a second season when I really can’t think of another good story that could be told. I hope to be proven wrong again.