After nearly two decades Ewan McGregor finally returned to our screen as an older, grizzled Obi-Wan Kenobi in Disney Plus’ new limited series. And while we are yet to hear the iconic “Hello there” catchphrase, the role of the Jedi Master fits McGregor like a glove.
Lucas Films dropped two episodes of the premiere this Friday. The pilot opens up right after the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and we hear Emperor Palpatine’s “Execute order 66” being repeated on loop in the background as clone troopers slowly massacre the last remaining Jedis.
The episode then cuts to 10 years later with a downtrodden Ben Kenobi surviving in the harshness of Tattoine, while keeping an eye on the young Luke Skywalker. However, things don’t go according to plan and the old Jedi Master is once again called into action as a new dark threat emerges.
While McGregor somehow manages to blend the quick wits of a younger Kenobi with the wisdom of the old one, played by Alec Guinness, the episode in itself feels rather unimpressive. True there are many Star Wars-y elements sprinkled throughout the show, like parkouring across a dangerous landscape while being chased by a sinister antagonist dressed in black, but the two episodes don’t really connect on an emotional level.
Part of the reason can be contributed to the rather one-dimensional set of villains being introduced in the series. In the Jedi Fallen Order video games, the Inquisitors felt like a force of nature, determined on hunting you down till the end of the galaxy.
In Obi-Wan Kenobi, I was almost waiting for them to go full Dr Evil at one point. Both the grand inquisitor played by Rupert Friend and the third sister played by Moses Ingram feel like they belong in the original trilogy, and that’s not a good thing.
What’s sad is that I am not the only one who was let down by the Obi-Wan Kenobi premiere. Overall, the reactions to the two episodes have been a mixed bag. However, Deborah Chow who helms the series has directed perhaps one of my favourite episode of The Mandalorian, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed until the next episode drops. Until then, here is what viewers have to say about Obi-Wan Episodes 1 & 2.
( Image credits: Lucas Films, Disney )