Spoilers and I are on vacation.
But I thought I’d sneak in a quick review. This one is going to be real old school, since only three episodes are out at the time of writing this post. That being said, the show has already hit some major milestones. Now, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgically blackmailed into watching it. Having some serious talent involved give some honesty to the project, but obviously some liberties will be taken. I think that’s a good thing.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022) is directed by Deborah Chow with writing credits from Joby Harold, Hannah Friedman, Hossein Amini, Stuart Beattie and Andrew Stanton… so far. It details the events ten years after the fall of the Old Republic and the rise of the Empire’s New Order. Or, if you want to keep it casual, the events of The Rise of The Sith (2005). Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) now goes by Ben. He has remained in Tatooine, staying out of sight of the Empire and believing that his former Padawan to have perished from his wounds. Unfortunately, a group of darksiders called Inquisitors have been dispatched to even the most distant corners of the galaxy. One of such is Third Sister Reva Sevander (Moses Ingram), an eager Inquisitor wishing to prove herself and gain the favour of a certain Dark Lord of the Sith.
I guess there’s no point in hiding that this actually the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen). I don’t want to judge the showrunners of the show, but when you’re willing to bring on the iconic alter ego of Anakin Skywalker in just a few episodes I assume you have bigger plans up ahead. Furthermore, although we initially see Ben keeping watch over a young Luke, the plot twist of having the Jedi Knight assisting none other than a young Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair) does introduce some confusing aspects into the whole storyline.
And here’s what I like about that. Although adding new background history to certain characters feels like it should make some canon interactions inconsistent (i.e. a kid Leia meeting Obi-Wan) for the original films, it does provide entertainment value. That is, even if it’s also pulling at the heartstrings and taking heavy advantage of the nostalgia factor for older fans. The emotional gravitas of seeing long gone characters on screen overrules knowing what happens to them in the established lore. Consistency be damned, we just want to see them again in a new-old adventure. Anything else, I’m sure someone will retcon it later.
Disney is playing once again with an emotional fanbase though. Unfortunately, that means the show has to overcome some major hangups. And first out of the gate is the constant temptation to fashion pandering fanboy moments just for the sake of winning devoted audiences. I’d rather they push the envelope and break a few rules, and so far they seem willing to introduce a few flaws that make classic personalities a little less picture perfect but more human.
Highly recommended so far, although with a reservation. These are characters that already bring with them a certain emotional investment. Making them rich and engaging is a constant challenge specially since it’s an easy and slippery path to just try to get them to say their catchphrases and force callbacks to the movies just to pander to the fandom. Hopefully the showrunners can resist that temptation. Too easy to do a dark side of the Force pun here would be. It’s worth a watch so far, but hopefully there’s a solid storyline to justify the rest of the season.
That will do for now.