Look, I come to Star Wars for the fan service, so I expect tons of fan service. But, stupidly, Disney has been signaling their intentions to move away from the Skywalker Saga. And as hard as they have tried (with the sequel trilogy) to pull away fans from the original legacy characters by introducing so-called fresh new characters like Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Rose, Snoke, and Kylo Ren with very little success. So it is safe to say that they have massively failed to accomplish their goals.
As a result, we are still neck-deep into the Skywalker saga. The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Kenobi are all set in the Skywalker timeline. And also, the upcoming series, Andor and Ahsoka are both set in the Skywalker timeline. So by the looks of it all, moving away from the original saga isn’t happening yet, which is a damn good thing.
When Kenobi, the series, was announced, I was beyond excited, and boy, this show delivers the goods. Kenobi season 1 (I hope there is more) is the show I have dreamed of for years.
Warning: This blog post contains spoilers.
The show opens with a quick recap of Episode III and Order 66 and with the killing of younglings in the Jedi Temple. We also get a reminder of Yoda and Obi-Wan’s conversation at the end of Episode III about going to exile and continuing their Jedi training and learning how to commune with the Force ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). This was a powerful opening.
With that in mind, the show picks up a few years after the events of Episode III but before Episode IV (A New Hope). Our favorite old hermit Ben Kenobi is hiding out in Tatooine, keeping a close eye on young Luke and making a living slicing up weird, dragon-looking fishes at a slaughterhouse. Ben feels crappy, like a failure; he is miserable and disconnected from the Force.
In the first few episodes, we get to see a depressed Obi-Wan. He even struggles to summon the Force and seems cut off from his skills and powers. The whole idea is about Obi-wan finding his way back into the Force and getting him to light up his lightsaber again.
Unexpectedly, we get to see a Leia childhood origins story and spend some time in Alderaan. It was cool seeing Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers show up as baddie awkwardly chasing Leia around in a forest of Alderaan. Young Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) does a charming job channeling the essence of Princess Leia Organa and seeing Jimmy Smits return as Bail Organa was very rewarding.
I liked the addition of the Imperial Inquisitors and the Third Sister Reva (Moses Ingram). Her backstory was very compelling. Reva needed more development, so I’m pretty sure we will see Reva again in another series, or maybe she’ll get her own show. I wanted to see a little more of The Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend); I also hope we see more of him in future shows.
The rest of the cast is excellent; Kumail Nanjiani as this fake Jedi conman added a nice comedic touch. Kawlan Roken (O’Shea Jackson Jr) was another solid addition. But the character of Tala (Indira Varma) as a former imperial officer working for the rebellion was exceptional. And there are tons of Clone Wars references throughout the series, so you gotta pay close attention.
Seeing more from the Lars was cool. Joel Edgerton (Owen Lars) and Bonnie Piesse (Beru Lars) stepped back into these roles beautifully. The back and forth between uncle Owen and Ben is one of the top scenes from the entire series.
The most remarkable thing was the return of Hayden Christenson, playing Anakin again, putting on the Vader suit, and embodying Darth Vader for most of the show. The level of awesomeness from seeing more of Vader is immeasurable. We get to see more of Vader’s castle in Mustafar. Most significantly, we get to see more of Vader doing impressive stuff throughout the show, like holding a ship in midair and ripping it apart — And Vader fighting Reva without a lightsaber were highlights for me. This is the version of Vader I always wanted to see, and I finally got a taste of it.
Ewan McGregor walks back into this series seamlessly; it was fun watching him return to Star Wars. The training flashback sequence between Anakin and Obi-Wan was excellent. It reminded me of Highlander: Endgame when Connor is training Duncan, and they get caught up in a similar sword-fighting maneuver. The piece of dialogue when Ben meets Luke is genius. Qui-Gon showing up was the culmination of two decades of expectations. But I wanted more from their exchange; the whole thing felt somewhat anticlimactic.
The series as a whole is a lead-up to the most epic rematch in motion picture history. Vader and Obi-wan deliver the most thrilling lightsaber rematch years in the making. The smash helmet scene was perfect; Slashing Vader’s mask and revealing Anakin’s face was genius. Their dialogue clarified why Ben told Luke in A New Hope that Vader betrayed and murdered Anakin.
Nevertheless, this isn’t a perfect show. There are some inconsistencies here and there, like when people get stabbed with a lightsaber and survive. This was supposed to be a mortal wound in the past, and apparently, it is no longer the case, which is pretty hard to explain away to the casual fan. Reva’s revenge plan to kill Luke was also an example of weird and inconsistent storytelling.
All in all, who cares if the stakes are low here — We know Vader, Ben, Leia, Luke, Uncle Owen, and Aunt Beru make it to the original trilogy, so we know they will be okay. This show’s main aim is to fill in the blanks between Episode III and Episode IV and to tie up some loose ends. Simple as that.
In conclusion, Kenobi is full of magical moments for fanboys like me. It was far more enjoyable than all the sequel trilogy movies, especially more enjoyable than The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. Kudos to Debra Chow; she has done a fantastic job. Happily, Disney seems to be figuring out how to deliver some of the best Star Wars content ever.
Five out of Five Popcorns 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿
KENOBI (2022). Streaming on DISNEY +