Season 1 of Obi-Wan Kenobi is finished far too soon, with its final episode entry, Part VI. If this entire series has been a meditation on grief and loss, the finale was a deep reflection on the power of hope. This was the magnum opus of a series that has distilled the very best of the Star Wars franchise. Everything about this finale is a fitting tribute to these stories and characters, that continues to captivate in a tangible way.
From the beginning of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen have used this series as a venue to showcase how talented they’ve always been. Christensen, in particular, has proven definitively his ability to embody both Anakin and Darth Vader. For the mockery he endured as an actor in this role, his performance here is a resounding response to critics that he always had immense talent.
Fans always knew Anakin still existed within the depths of Darth Vader. It’s heartbreaking to consider the pain and suffering that he ultimately inflicted upon himself. And yet, this character made his choice. When faced with immense grief and loss, he chose to turn inward, and live his life torturing himself for the life that could have been. What an easy trap this is to fall into for us all. This is the core of what makes Darth Vader such a rich character. His flaws are all too human.
By contrast, fans have watched Obi-Wan’s journey go a different way. So much of the storytelling in this series has relied upon Ewan McGregor, who has taken fans on an epic journey with his beloved character. When faced with the same immense grief and loss as his former Padawan, he has chosen life. This finale showed that he has reached the acceptance phase of his grief. Make no mistake, the journey will still be a long one. Indeed, there are dark days ahead for his character to process everything and everyone he’s lost. And yet, it’s clear that he has released himself from the darkness that accompanies grief, that destroys so much in its wake.
The finale also served as a perfect venue to set the stage for everything that makes Leia Organa the heart and soul of the Star Wars universe. A spectacular performance by Vivien Lyra Blair anchored this character in what she has always represented: boundless, audacious hope. Star Wars begins and ends with Leia. It’s a wise choice to show her at the beginning of her journey. Clearly, she is a product of many parents who showed her limitless love, which she always carried with her. This is Leia’s legacy, and Obi-Wan Kenobi did right by it.
Reva (Moses Ingram) was a triumph in a finale filled with phenomenal character arcs. It was a relief that the show opted to have her live another day, rather than kill her off. There are so many more stories that could be explored with this character. Her internal conflict, of asking if she has become the very thing she is fighting against, is the perfect culmination for this character. Ingram has proven herself again and again, though she never should have been expected to. Instead, too many folks calling themselves fans have missed out on an incredible character and story to keep their blatant racism intact. They can gladly show themselves the door. Leave us real fans to appreciate an incredible character when we see one.
Finally, in addition to expanding upon, and re-contextualizing the prequel trilogy, Obi-Wan Kenobi succeeds in making the original Star Wars trilogy even more meaningful. The community that came together to protect Luke and Leia as children is nothing less than inspiring. They didn’t save a galaxy far far away on their own. They had guides and mentors who paved the way, and who ensured they would be able to get to where they were always meant to be.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is the best form of fan service. It manages to seamlessly weave call-backs to stories we’ve already seen, and introduce us to new depths in characters we already love. More than saying beloved lines, and seeing beloved characters return, the series felt like a celebration of the most poignant variety. Deborah Chow has proven many times over why she should continue to be entrusted with these stories. Her intimate understanding of what makes these characters great served the series well from the beginning. Obi-Wan Kenobi is a re-watchable, heartwarming entry into the Star Wars universe. Hopefully, this is only the beginning of more to come.
Obi-Wan Kenobi Season 1 is now available to stream on Disney+.