Hey! Hallie here!
The first half of the six-episode ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series is now out and it’s so much more than I expected it to be. I’m over the moon that Ewan McGregor’s back in the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi and he’s making me fall in love with the character all over agin. I’m also so excited to see Star Wars fans putting aside past criticisms to give Hayden Christensen the warm welcome he should have received back in the prequel days. So far, this show is full of very welcome surprises, lovely character dynamics, and amazing writing. I do have a few gripes, though. One of them not being aimed at the show, but instead aimed at the toxic part of the Star Wars fandom that remains just as successful at making new and old fans alike ashamed of the fandom’s reputation. I’m going to talk about all of it below, but as this is a review there will be MAJOR SPOILERS ahead. Seriously, the marketing for this show did its best to keep one specific character a secret, and if you want those secrets to remain hidden from you I wouldn’t go any further.
First up, let’s get another “humans being horrible to one another” story out of the way. Ever since the trailer dropped, fans have been attacking Inquisitor Reva and by extension Moses Ingram, the actress who plays her. Why? Many fanboys would tell you that it’s because Reva’s annoying. But they really didn’t have that excuse back when we only had trailers. No, all the criticism is very clearly because she’s a Black woman. Some have been comparing her to Joffrey from ‘Game of Thrones’ despite the fact that she’s done nothing that can at all be compared to what Joffrey did in that show. Others have been questioning her status as part of the Inquisitors for no discernible reason. All of it is an overreaction that’s clearly targeted at something other than the character. The Star Wars social media accounts themselves had to put out posts telling people to stop attacking Ingram and fully calling out the behavior as racist. Those posts came along with the information that Ingram was warned by Lucasfilm that she would get this kind of reaction because Star Wars fans have been so racist in the past. Ingram herself also shared some of the death threats she’s been receiving. After all of this was revealed, Ewan McGregor recorded a message for Star Wars fans telling them that racists aren’t welcome in the fandom. As he should. But guess what? That isn’t all. Because Vivien Lyra Blair has also been viciously attacked for being too outspoken and annoying to be Leia. As if Leia was never headstrong or stubborn. As if Leia didn’t muscle a blaster away from someone who was trying to rescue her, found her own escape route, and yelled at her rescuers for doing a shoddy job. Attacking a little girl is another level of low, but Star Wars fans always seem to find new depths to sink to. It needs to stop.
What I Liked:
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Now that that’s over with, let’s talk about the star of the show! Obi-Wan is broken man at the start of this series. He works a mundane job where he has to steal in order to get enough food, but he doesn’t help the other workers who are suffering even though he wants to. He can’t draw attention to himself. The Inquisitors are too good at hunting down and killing Jedi, and they’re getting way too close to Luke for Obi-Wan to risk much of anything. So he lives in a cave, refuses to use the force, and doesn’t talk to anyone except for a Jawa and Owen. And Owen doesn’t let Obi-Wan talk to him most of the time. There’s a very real helplessness that surrounds Obi-Wan, paired with the guilt he carries for the way Anakin turned out. It’s devastating to watch. Fortunately for him, Bail Organa shoves him back into action when Leia is kidnapped, refusing to take no for an answer. Once Obi-Wan starts the Leia rescue mission we start to see more of the man we knew. With or without the force, he’s dangerous in close quarters. His fight scenes in episode two are a delight to watch, especially when he uses witty moves like incapacitating his opponents with drugs. Once he finds Leia he’s very strict with her, but he quickly realizes that his behavior comes across as antagonistic to a little girl who doesn’t know him. Seeing him actively attempt to be gentler with her feels like his kindness coming through once more, and the way he’s slowly warming to her quick thinking and independence is a highlight of the entire series. I couldn’t hide my smile when he finally decided to use the force in order to save Leia’s life. And when Darth Vader arrives in episode three, he’s willing to lay his life on the line for her escape. I loved the battle with Vader too, not just because we got to see Obi-Wan use his lightsaber, but also because we got an accurate look at how rusty his skills have become. It was painful to watch, but necessary to establish. I look forward to a full-fledged fight between these two soon.
Leia Organa: Leia is my favorite Star Wars character of all time and I was giddy when I realized that Leia is the secondary main character of this series. From her first moments on screen she’s a complete delight. She’s too adventurous to like senator training, but as Bail tells her, that only makes her a better candidate. She also refuses to take abuse and, as such, dresses down her cousin in one sentence with a burn to rival Anakin’s. SO Leia. But she also refuses to apologize and can be frustrating to her parents because of her disregard for decorum. These flaws make sense not just for Leia, but for a little girl who’s constantly reminded by everyone that her parents aren’t her “real” parents and that she isn’t a “real” Organa. Her struggles make it obvious why she decides to run away from the formal event she’s been roped into, even though it results in her kidnapping. We all already know that kidnapping Leia never ends well for anyone, though. In fact, she ends up ambushing Obi-Wan when he arrives to her cell to rescue her. She initially doesn’t trust Obi-Wan and granted, doesn’t have much reason to. But as he grows closer to her, she begins to see a more genuine man behind the stern mask and puts her faith in him. Once she does, she becomes an asset to her own rescue. Her quick lies are just as entertaining as her refusal to remain passive in high-risk situations. Especially when she randomly threw out something as genius as her mother’s recent passing when Obi-Wan called her by the wrong name. Which also led to a heartbreaking conversation about Padme that only emphasized her confusion about her family. As the episodes go on she seems more and more ready to embrace the Organa name. She even tearfully tells Obi-Wan that she shouldn’t have run away in episode three. But we’ll see if she’s in need of rescue again now that she’s facing a force user.
Reva: We don’t know much about Reva yet, but she’s a badass. We know she has a strange obsession with Obi-Wan, which is a mystery I can’t wait for the show to unravel. We also know that she’s the only Inquisitor to get anything done. Instead of strutting around and handing out vague threats, Reva sets traps and takes action whenever she sees the opportunity. Sometimes she’s reckless and a bit brutal, not that any other Dark Side user can’t say the same. But often, she’s the only one who can come anywhere close to finding the Jedi the Inquisitors are supposed to be hunting. I mean, she had the foresight to hunt down one of Obi-Wan’s old friend’s daughters in order to lure him out, almost successfully captured him twice, and now single-handedly found the tunnels the Rebellion had been using to smuggle Jedi off-world. She also captured Leia on her own. Reva never leaves a stone unturned and never leaves a lead to run cold. She’s not all knowing, but she is intelligent enough to never let her enemy get a step in front of her. Regardless of the way the other Inquisitors look down on her, she deserves to be the leader of the Inquisitors.
What I Dislike:
The Inquisitors: This shouldn’t be surprising after all the praise I gave Reva. I really liked the concept of the Inquisitors in ‘Star Wars: Rebels’. They felt dangerous, unhinged, and abnormally intelligent. The Inquisitors are a special task force that operate outside of any laws or rules, and because of that I never knew what to expect when one showed up in ‘Rebels’ to terrorize the heroes. In this show, they’re useless. All they do is give haughty speeches, glare at people, and get angry at Reva for actually doing something productive. Often times they’ll talk about how superior they are to Reva, but then never do anything to make themselves of any value to the Empire. It was really satisfying to see Reva stab the Grand Inquisitor in episode one even though he obviously can’t be dead.
Those are my thoughts on ‘Obi-Wan’ Kenobi so far! I’m really liking this series. It manages to be very tense even though our two main characters have some serious plot armor. Its main characters and main villain are connected in a way I find extremely satisfying to watch. More than any other Star Wars series so far it feels like a movie. Which makes sense given that it was initially planned as a movie. I can’t wait to see more of Hayden Christensen and I really can’t wait to see Obi-Wan’s confidence grow to the point that it’s at in the original trilogy. And hell yes to more little Leia!
Don’t so anything fun until I get back!