Star Wars: ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Review

Screenshot of Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’. Copyright goes to Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Pictures.

Hey! Hallie here!

‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ just came to the end of its six-episode story and damn. This was really good. Not only was this a great character study of Obi-Wan and Leia, but it was an excellent celebration of the prequels whether you enjoyed them or not. Each episode found a way to take my breath away, and though this series had a few issues, they really didn’t compare to the amount of joy I got watching each episode. I’ve reviewed the first three episodes before, so I’m only going to be focusing on the last half of this series in this post. This is a SPOILER review so if you haven’t watched this series, I highly recommend going to do that before reading! You won’t regret it!

What I Liked:

Obi-Wan: To be honest here, the main thing that continually sells me on Obi-Wan from episode to episode is his relationship with Leia. I can’t get over how caring and gentle he is with her. From rescuing her in episode four to his adorable praises and encouragements at the very end of episode six, he so clearly has grown to care for her throughout this series like his own daughter. I also liked that their final interaction at the end of episode six implied that it didn’t take all the way until ‘A New Hope’ for the two to reunite. Leia was simply told to be cautious about sharing anything about spending time with Obi-Wan, and so she very likely was. It was nice to see Obi-Wan grow to trust Leia, too. He goes from being overprotective of her in the first few episodes to trusting her to take up difficult tasks on her own, and he didn’t even need her to tell him that she didn’t give Reva any information when she was captured. This relationship was the heart of the show, and it was written to perfection. But another major part of Obi-Wan’s arc is his relationship with Anakin. The entire show zeroes in on his guilt over creating Darth Vader, and because of that he throws himself in the way of Anakin any chance he gets in order to fulfill the moral obligation he feels. That gives us excellent sequences like episode five, where Obi-Wan and Anakin essentially play a game of chess that’s mirrored by a flashback lightsaber duel. Anakin is aggressive, sending troops to attack before he comes in to kill Obi-Wan himself. But Obi-Wan is smarter, using Reva’s hatred of Anakin and a well timed illusion to buy himself and the people around him time to escape. And then we get their final battle in the last episode. It’s a joy to see Ewan McGregor come back to his classic ready position and all of the mesmerizing lightsaber flourishes. Beyond just the fighting, it was truly satisfying and heartbreaking to see Obi-Wan come face-to-face with his padawan and realize that Anakin created himself. There was no better way to round out his arc than that.

Leia: Our other star of the show. Leia never disappointed me. In fact, I never felt prouder of her than while I was watching Reva interrogate her. You can tell that Leia does at least partially believe Reva when Reva tells her Obi-Wan is dead. After all, he left her alone in pursuit of something dangerous and no one had come to rescue her. But, despite that, she still refuses to give any information away and never lets Reva belittle her intelligence. She’s even partially responsible for the entire escape that occurs in episode five thanks to her tech skills. Beyond that, her emotional intelligence is still very much on display here. For one, she holds Obi-Wan’s hand to comfort him which nearly made me cry. But, more importantly, she lets Obi-Wan go to fight Anakin, regardless of the fact that she’s upset he isn’t going to take her home himself, because she sees how much it means to him. She also makes him promise to come back alive which ultimately gives him the strength to do so. Though she isn’t as active in the latter half of the series as she is in the first half, she still shines and has a huge impact on the story that I love. By the end of episode six she’s already wearing a blaster holster (Obi-Wan sadly didn’t give her a blaster), she has plans for the future of Alderaan, and she still won’t let anyone tell her how to live her life. In short, she’s already on her way to being Carrie Fisher’s Leia and I couldn’t be happier.

Reva: I expected to like Reva, but I wound up even more interested in this character than I expected. The reveal that Reva was one of the younglings in the opening sequence of the show was no surprise. Most people on the internet had guessed that. But the fact that she was basically masquerading as an Inquisitor in order to get close enough to Anakin to kill him was surprising to me. She was only interested in Obi-Wan because she knew she could use him to get to Anakin, and her ruthlessness in killing Jedi in the hopes of finding Obi-Wan was a glaring sign of how far she fell. Of course, we didn’t get to see her fulfill her goals. In fact her fight with Darth Vader, unsurprisingly, didn’t last long. But I’d argue her story got even more interesting when she decided to go after Luke in episode six. Because she can’t kill Anakin and feels like a failure because of it, she learns about Luke and decides to kill a youngling, essentially trying to prove to herself she can be just as powerful and ruthless as Vader. But she can’t do it. And because she can’t do it, and because Obi-Wan convinces her that she’s a better person than Vader, she has every opportunity to come back in future projects. She remains alive by the end of the series, she already has the beginnings of a redemption arc going for her, and her absence in the ‘Star Wars’ movies means that she could pretty much do anything. I really like this character and I hope they decide to utilize this opportunity.

Darth Vader: I always find it difficult to critique Darth Vader, partly because Darth Vader perfected intimidation long ago and partly because he doesn’t really change much from project to project. I can say though, I really liked the merging of Anakin and Vader that was done by this series. You get more of Anakin’s rage and recklessness here than you do in some other projects. Obi-Wan really does bring out a desperation to Anakin you don’t often see. His final appearance in the show completed this merging perfectly by breaking his mask. It was really cool to hear Hayden Christensen’s voice mixed with the classic James Earl Jones voice, and getting to see more of Hayden’s face in the Vader makeup made Hayden’s Anakin finally feel like the same person as Darth Vader.

Qui-Gon Jin: I actually got up from my seat and screamed. It’s a small cameo, but come on. Liam Neeson returning to the role? What more is there to say?

What I Disliked:

The Non-deaths: So both the Grand Inquisitor and Reva had a moment in this series where they were fatally stabbed. Except they weren’t and both are apparently completely fine and uninjured. I get that Vader was keeping that the Grand Inquisitor was alive a secret in order to catch Reva in her lie, but the Grand Inquisitor was stabbed by Reva. Reva wasn’t pretending to stab him. She was actually intending to kill him. So how did he live? Also, Vader completely ran Reva through. And from what I know of Vader, he doesn’t usually leave a murder unfinished. So how did Reva survive? How did she even get to Luke after receiving that bad of an injury?

Tala: I wish I got the point of this character. I really do. But I didn’t get why she had to be there. To not follow Obi-Wan’s directions when he asked her to keep Leia safe? To be really bad at pretending to be an Imperial officer? To needlessly sacrifice herself? The most she does is help Obi-Wan when he’s injured in his first fight against Vader, and almost any other character could have done that.

Sacrificing Reva: In episode five, part of Obi-Wan’s plan in order to get everyone away from Vader is to rile up Reva. He does this because, if Reva attacks Vader as he hopes she will, it’ll buy everyone time to escape. Except, I really can’t see Obi-Wan thinking that convincing Reva to fight Vader would be a moral solution to their problem. Obi-Wan knows Vader’s more powerful than her. On top of that, as much as he fears Anakin, he still sees his old friend in Vader at this point in the story and wouldn’t want Reva to kill him even if she could overpower him. So what was his plan here? To let Reva die? Why would he be cool with sacrificing the last surviving youngling?

I’m going to end this review here. I do have some criticisms, but overall I thought this series was so well done. I’m a huge Leia fan and I’m thrilled that we got yet another version of Leia for me to obsess over and gush about. Leia is quickly rising in my list of favorite characters of all time. I also walked away from this series with something unexpected. A new appreciation of the prequels. I’m not someone who thinks the prequels are completely awful, but I don’t think they’re good movies either. But now that we have a bridge between the prequels and the original trilogy, I feel like I can see them as one cohesive story. Although, ‘Clone Wars’ did already contribute to my appreciation of that part of ‘Star Wars’ canon. Either way, I love ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ and I can see myself rewatching it many times in the future. It was a joy to see Ewan McGregor step back into the role of Obi-Wan and I’ll miss him immensely now that it’s over.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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