The Star Wars prequels have been experiencing a well-deserved renaissance, and Obi-Wan Kenobi is the perfect series to celebrate them. Seeing Ewan McGregor back in the saddle as his iconic character does the heart good. He’s older, wiser, and just ten years removed from losing his entire life.
To say that Obi-Wan Kenobi is bittersweet is an understatement. The first two episodes do such a brilliant job of balancing moments of fan service while giving space for a beloved character to grieve what’s been lost. The pacing allows viewers to really take in what’s happening. The recap of the Star Wars prequel trilogy is sure to remind fans to go re-watch them if they haven’t already. The callbacks to this series begin at the outset of the newest Star Wars entry.
The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi are a meditation on grief and loss, and it’s heartbreaking. Gone are the days of seeing the titular character get into epic battles with his mentee. He goes to work, returns to his cave, and repeats day after day. We’ve seen this character at the height of influence in the Star Wars universe. Here, he’s perfectly ordinary in his exile. In a way, it makes the character even more relatable and empathetic.
Reva (Moses Ingram) is probably the best Star Wars villain that’s been introduced in a long time. Ingram herself gives such a phenomenal performance in the first two episodes alone. This character’s ambition is clear, and it informs every action we see her take. She’s relentless in her quest to destroy the Jedi. It’s clear from the beginning that she’s more than a match for Obi-Wan, as powerful as he might be. The Star Wars universe has always contained themes of religious extremism. It’s great to see the franchise going back to its roots with this character in particular.
I don’t think it’s possible to discuss the inaugural episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi without mentioning the tiny phenom that is Leia, played here by Vivien Blair. Her personality shines through so beautifully. The parallels between this young version of the iconic character, with Carrie Fisher’s portrayal, are crystal clear. It’s also important that the show acknowledges Leia’s story was always just as important as Luke’s. Also, seeing Obi-Wan as a father figure to the child of his former mentor is sure to make fan hearts swell.
Relatedly, can we talk about the powerhouse that is Jimmy Smits? Seriously, this man gets more perfect with age. How does he do it? Seeing him reprise his role as Bail Organa, this time as Leia’s father is perfection. Of course, we all know what fate awaits him. In the meantime, seeing the Organas as a family unit is such an important part of Star Wars storytelling.
Kumail Nanjiani is now an official part of the Star Wars universe, and it’s what he deserves. This is how you insert a well-known comedic actor into a franchise. It’s never played for cheesy laughs or eye-roll-inducing heavy-handedness. Instead, it’s an organic way to bring some much-needed comic relief. It’s too bad fans had to suffer through the misplaced introduction of a certain alien lifeform in the prequels. Nanjiani’s role is proof that Star Wars can in fact be funny when it wants to be.
Finally, in a franchise known for its incredible music, Obi-Wan Kenobi takes the iconic score to new heights. John Williams is an absolute legend, and he continues his legacy in this series. The imagery that his music conjures truly transports fans to another world. I for one could listen to this score all day.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is off to a strong start. This is exactly the redemption arc that the prequel trilogy desperately needs. The story has been set, and beloved characters keep coming back in new ways. Star Wars TV series have a legacy of being well-received and adding to the world that was built by the original movies. Obi-Wan Kenobi’s time is now.
New episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi air Fridays on Disney+.