Released: 25th May 2022
Director: Deborah Chow
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Rupert Friend, Moses Ingram, Vivien Lyra Blair, Hayden Christensen, Sung Kang
*Spoilers below, read at your own risk*
Sometimes the things you want most in life are the things you’re better off without and our latest trip to a galaxy far, far away is a perfect example of that.
If you’d ask someone 10 years ago what was one Star Wars thing they’d love to see then they’d have probably mentioned a post Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan Kenobi show starring Ewan McGregor. Then all of our dreams would come true when it was announced that a six part series was in development for Disney+ with our titular hero (McGregor) and even better with the fascinating return of Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader also announced too.
The Kenobi show had an appealing concept in that we would finally get to see a broken Obi-Wan hidden away on Tatooine dealing with the trauma of his apprentice Anakin Skywalker turning to the dark side. There were so many scenarios that I was acting out in my head that I just couldn’t wait to watch unfold on screen and I knew that we were in for something truly special.
Whatever the show entailed, it couldn’t be worse than The Book of Boba Fett could it?
It saddens me to say it but Obi-Wan Kenobi offers another tiresome attempt at trying to explore some of Star Wars most popular characters. If you thought TBOBF was uninspiring then Kenobi gives that a run for its money and falls short of what we all expected.
Let’s start off with Ewan McGregor who does a stellar job at picking up his lightsaber and putting on his Jedi robes once again. However, there’s something about McGregor’s interaction with others that just seems off for me, maybe it’s the way it’s written or the way he delivered some of his lines but at times it felt like watching/hearing a different character. You could argue that the Obi-Wan we see here is very much a changed man following the horrifying encounter and duel he had with Anakin on Mustafar all those years prior.
The show struggles most with its writing and makes a lot of terrible mistakes that can’t be recovered. Take the character of Reva (Moses Ingram) for example, the Third Sister and one of the Inquisitors tasked with hunting down the remaining Jedi who are scattered across the galaxy. Reva is hellbent on finding Kenobi throughout the series but comes across quite irritating in trying to achieve her goal and at the end of the day the less time we so of her the better. Now all the hate Moses Ingram has been receiving is shameful and should never happen, she is a very talented performer that has been unfairly piled on by people online. If anyone deserves the criticism then it’s the five (yes five!) writers who assembled such a troublesome plot.
One of the major hooks for the show was the appearance of Darth Vader who would be coming face to face with his former master in an epic showdown that promised to be better than anything we’ve ever seen before. Up until now Disney have done a fine job in portraying Vader as such a ghastly figure and you fear for those around him anytime he appears on screen. In Kenobi however, like with Obi-Wan something just seems off with him and whilst it was great to see Hayden Christensen come back and get all the love, was there really any point in it? It could have been anyone in the suit and we wouldn’t have known, bringing Christensen back seemed an attempt at drawing fans back and if you expected clone wars flashbacks then you’ll be left disappointed. Apart from one small scene set during the time period of Attack of the Clones, he’s full on Vader in all the glory of terrible CGI.
Speaking of the special effects I wondered if the show was made on a limited budget as the vast majority of the time it felt like watching a fan-film, some of the effects in the surrounding areas looked extremely cheap and almost like I was watching a cutscene from a PS3 game.
The story builds up to a fateful encounter with Obi-Wan and Vader halfway through when they finally meet each other and Obi-Wan, now knowing what his former apprentice has become, does everything he can to run away before finally facing him in the final episode. That big epic showdown I mentioned before? Yeah it’s just them using the Force and throwing rocks at each other and then playing out a scene we’ve already enjoyed in Star Wars: Rebels.
One of the highlights of the show is the appearance of a 10-year-old Princess Leia who is at the centre of the plot when Obi-Wan is called on a rescue mission for her after she’s kidnapped by this weird gang that don’t really have any backstory. Whilst the performance of Vivien Lyra Blair is entertaining I can’t help but look at the bigger picture of the Star Wars canon and wonder why Princess Leia doesn’t really speak as though she knows Obi-Wan in the original trilogy. A key part of Leia’s purpose in the show is her developing relationship with Kenobi and because of her he finds a new sense of faith in the Force that spurs him on to come to terms with facing Vader. They spend a lot of time together yet in terms of continuity that is never mentioned by Leia ever again, it just seems extremely strange.
Then we have Reva discover that Luke Skywalker has been living on Tatooine all this time and goes to kill him causing for a large standoff with her, Luke’s uncle Owen and aunt Beru. Again another thing that we’re just to assume is forgotten about by the time A New Hope comes around. Like “hey remember that time that woman came to the house and tried to kill me and I had to run away?” Nope no mention of it whatsoever like it didn’t happen.
In short Obi-Wan Kenobi tries to be bold but suffers from the lousy direction and writing that not even a couple of cameos can save. There are a number of problems but in the end its uneventful finale showed that it offered nothing but false hope in a show that could have been so much more. Delving in and changing Star Wars history is one thing but doing it without any real thought of everything that comes after is a writers downfall.