TV Review - Lucasflim's Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi Episodes 1 & 2 (SPOILER-FREE)

Between darkness and light, hope survives.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is a 2022 science fiction action adventure miniseries directed by Deborah Chow, created by Jody Harold, produced by Lucasfilm, and distributed by Disney Platform Distribution. The show stars Ewan McGregor and Rupert Friend. This is the third Star Wars Disney+ show, although the fourth season of a Star Wars Disney+ show. It acts as a sequel to Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and a prequel to both Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.


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"Anakin..." - Obi-Wan Kenobi

Plot


Ten years after the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Galactic Empire, Obi-Wan Kenobi has gone into hiding. As he watches over a young Luke Skywalker, he is hunted by the Sith Inquistorius, leading him down a path that leads directly to his oldest friend turned archenemy.


The Sweet


I think Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the better galactic adventures we've gotten from Disney. This was one of my most anticipated shows of the year. I was so excited to see Ewan McGregor return to this role and see Darth Vader in at the peak of the Empire.


And, while I didn't love these first two episodes, I really, really dug them. Normally, when I'm this excited for something and then I don't love it, I consider that a disappointment. I still think I will love Obi-Wan Kenobi. It feels like these first two episodes were establishment episodes. They have their own little story arc that plays out in a fun way, but it does feel burdened with a lot of setup. We get a major tease at the end of episode two, and it feels like the show is going to hit the ground running next week with episode three.


Ewan McGregor proves time and time again that he is one of my favorite actors. I've always thought he was the highlight of the prequels, and he just takes his performance as Obi-Wan to another level here. We get this older, sadder version of the character. Behind his eyes, there is so much guilt and loss and depression. He just looks tired. And that was incredible. With all of that sadness, though, there's a little bit of a transition phase. You can tell he's transitioning into Ben Kenobi. He's moving from the prequel character to the Alec Guiness character. McGregor is just absolutely destroying this role. I love him so much.


While I can't say too much about this next part without spoiling anything, there is a major character that they hid from all the marketing. This character is another highlight of the show. They are charming and funny and add so much to the show. I love the bait and switch that the marketing gave us. It was extremely smart.


The tone of the show is also really bleak and sad. It truly feels like the dark times. At the end of Revenge of the Sith, there's just this intense feeling of dread and despair, and that feeling carries over into this series. I love the way that they establish tone and use Obi-Wan's character to add to that heavy feeling of loss and guilt.


The direction of the show is also pretty good. Deborah Chow hasn't exactly re-captured the magic of the original trilogy, which is something I'll get into in a sec, but she brings this melancholy style to the Star Wars galaxy that feels so authentic and heart-breaking. There are also some powerful shots and edits. That last moment in episode two was jaw-droppingly amazing (Yes, I made up a word there).


The Sour


On the negative side, however, it stills feels like the show hasn't quite gotten it yet. "It" is the wondrous feeling of Star Wars. Now, to be fair, it feels like most Star Wars projects don't capture that feeling. Episode six of The Book of Boba Fett did. And episode sixteen of The Mandalorian did. And both Rogue One and The Force Awakens had elements of the Star Wars magic. But nothing since Return of the Jedi has had that powerful feeling of being swept up on an adventure in a galaxy far, far away. That's the main thing I was looking for here. And I am definitely a little disappointed that they didn't hit the sweet spot. Hopefully we get it in the next four episodes. But I don't know. It feels like Disney hasn't really been able to knock it out of the park with Star Wars so far.


Another thing: they seemingly kill off a major character in episode two. I don't know if s/he is actually dead, but if s/he is, that's lame. Now, I'm not one to whine about the breaking of the Star Wars canon, but this is a character that I was really excited to see in this series. S/he was awesome in episode one. And I would be really disappointed if s/he didn't return in this show.


Obi-Wan Kenobi feels so strange sometimes, too. I really did like the show. It's exciting and fun. But there are moments that just pull me out of it. There are some performances and some lines of dialogue that feel directly out of Attack of the Clones. There are some scenes that felt like they just used the first take and didn't bother to try and perfect the scene. It just didn't feel like oiled it all that well. It's a good machine, but there's rusty parts here and there that need some oil.


Final Thoughts


Overall, I'm happy with what we got. I'm hoping it does improve over the next few episodes, and I bet it will. We've still got a lot more time with Obi-Wan, and he's still got a showdown with Darth Vader that we have to see, so I really do think this show can get awesome.


Fun Factor: 8/10

Acting: 7.5/10

Story: 8/10 Characters: 7.5/10

Quality: 7/10


"Obi-Wan Kenobi"

"Part I"

"Part II"


Created by Jody Harold


Rated TV-14 for sci-fi violence and action, disturbing themes and images, thematic elements


Released on May 27, 2022


Episode runtime: 45 minutes


Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

Moses Ingram as The Third Sister / Inquisitor Reva

Rupert Friend as The Grand Inquisitor

Jimmy Smits as Senator Bail Organa

Kumail Nanjiani as Haja Estree

Benny Safdie as Nari

Joel Edgerton as Owen Lars

Sung Kang as The Fifth Brother

Grant Feely as Luke Skywalker

Flea as Vect Nokru

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader