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Disney Plus' Obi-Wan Kenobi review: Taking us back to a more civilized age

By Hoots the Owl & Aaron Yip - 4 Jun 2022

Obi-Wan Kenobi review: Taking us back to a more civilized age

Note: This article was first published on 1 June 2022.

Image Source: Lucasfilm

For the first time in a long while, Obi-Wan Kenobi refocuses Star Wars back on the story of the Jedi. The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett have both been fun, entertaining rides, but I've missed watching someone wield a good 'ol lightsaber.

Set 10 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan Kenobi finds the Jedi Master a lot more weary and cynical. He's resigned himself to living the life of a hermit in the deserts of Tatooine, watching over a very young Luke Skywalker from a distance.

However, galactic machinations soon catch up with him, and he finds that he cannot remain on the sidelines for much longer.

Ewan McGregor returns as the titular character, and the nostalgia upon seeing him onscreen again comes on heavy. However, our Jedi Master is much-changed from the last time we saw him. He's packaging meat harvested from a giant desert creature and holds his tongue even at the sight of blatant injustice.

Image Source: Lucasfilm

While the prequel trilogies have often been heavily criticized, McGregor was a bright spot in the trilogy, and it's about high time he got his own series. His return alongside Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader already has fans in a tizzy, even though we have yet to see the two share a scene in the first two episodes that released May 27.

That said, despite the series' darker overtones and more somber mood, set as it is during the height of the Empire, it has been lightened with notes of levity to make it overall more family-friendly. A young princess Leia, played with great panache by Vivien Lyra Blair, steals the show every time she appears on screen. With a sharp wit and even sharper mouth, she is every bit the fearless resistance leader you know she will become.

She also manages to run circles around Obi-Wan, an endearing dynamic that is reminiscent of that between Grogu and Din Djarin.

Together with Leia's mischievous antics and Obi-Wan's bickering with the Jawas, the series manages to evoke more than a few laughs before it quickly takes a darker turn. We're quickly reminded that the Jedi, once the protectors of the galaxy, have been nearly wiped out, and the Empire's reach is long and unforgiving.

While the series' 9+ rating is lower than that of The Mandalorian, its action sequences and fight scenes are more-than thrilling. Obi-Wan gets into several scuffles, trading blows with mercenaries with nothing but his fists. It's a lot more rough-and-tumble than we're used to seeing from the master of Soresu, a sign of how much the times have changed (also as much as to avoid his Force abilities from being noticed or sensed).

Image Source: Lucasfilm

However, while Obi-Wan remains hesitant to draw his lightsaber, others wield theirs with impunity. The red glow of the sabers of the Inquisitors presents a brand new threat, one that will stop at nothing until the Jedi remnants have been completely snuffed out.

Third Sister Reva Sevander (Moses Ingram) is after even bigger prey, hell-bent on finding Obi-Wan herself and delivering him to Darth Vader. Reva has so far been one of the most polarizing aspects of the show. While some have welcomed her addition as an intriguing new villain, others have slammed her portrayal as being flat and almost silly.

I'm leaning slightly toward the latter camp. It appears that her entire deal is to simply hunt down Obi-Wan in order to gain favor with Vader, which makes for a pretty uninspiring set of motivations. Surely, there's got to be more to her? We will only know, and hope, in the later episodes.

She also appears to be trying a little too hard, becoming almost a caricature of villainy that somehow still manages not to seem evil or menacing enough.

That said, the biggest reveal fans will be waiting for is probably Obi-Wan's first encounter with Anakin Skywalker as Darth Vader. While Star Wars films and series from Rogue One and Solo to the upcoming Ahsoka have all been seemingly crammed into the same few decades, we've never seen Obi-Wan go up against his former Padawan at the height of his power as a lord of the Sith.

The series retraces familiar storylines while charting new ground. After all the Star Wars movies and series that have filled in the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, we're finally ready to revisit the story of one of the most legendary Jedi Masters in the history of the franchise.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is now streaming on Disney+. A subscription is required.

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