- Based on ‘Star Wars’ created by George Lucas
- Directed by Deborah Chow
- Obi-Wan Kenobi-Ewan McGregor
- Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader-Hayden Christensen
- Grand Inquisitor-Rupert Friend
- Fifth Brother-Sung Kang
- Reva Sevander / Third Sister-Moses Ingram
- Fourth Sister-Rya Kihlstedt
- Nari-Benny Safdie
- Owen Lars-Joel Edgerton
- Beru Whitesun Lars-Bonnie Piesse
- Young Luke Skywalker-Grant Feely
- Bail Organa-Jimmy Smits
- Queen of Alderaan Breha Organa-Simone Kessell
- Princess Leia Organa-Vivien Lyra Blair
- Vect Nokru-Flea
- Haja Estree-Kumail Nanjiani
- Nyche Horn-Marisé Álvarez
- Imperial Officer-Indira Varma
- Jedi Master Minas Velti-Ming Qiu
- C-3PO-Anthony Daniels
- Homeless Veteran Clone Trooper-Temuera Morrison
- Tetha Grig-Esther-Rose McGregor
Obi-Wan in hiding watches over a young Luke Skywalker on Tatooine and evades the Empire as they search for him.
Obi-Wan Kenobi starts out with our title character as a bit of a broken man. He is in hiding and fearful and far from the brash or brave Jedi we saw in the prequel films. He’s watching over Luke (Grant Feely) but it’s more like he’s going through the motions. It’s less part of his Jedi duty and just a thing he is supposed to do to give his life some meaning. He is perhaps a bit closer to Alec Guinness here than he was to his own performance in the prequels.
One thing this show gets very right is that the person in the title is the focus of the story. He and his journey here, whatever it may be, is the center. Sure they do take time out to build the baddies up but the main character is Obi-Wan. I think back to the recent Moon Knight series and how MK was only a supporting character in his own show.
It’s great to see Ewan McGregor back in the role that he redefined and made his own. No small thing to do to essentially take someone else’s part but he managed to do just that from Alec Guinness who originated the role in the original film series. The weird thing is James Arnold Taylor in The Clone Wars animated series did more to expand upon the character than McGregor did.
Uncle Owen (Joel Edgerton) has settled into his antagonistic nature towards Obi-Wan. He respects him but has decided to shield Luke from all things Jedi. It’s not so much that he hates the Jedi but he’s trying to protect his nephew.
The McGuffin of these two episodes to tell the story is Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair). One thing that was really lacking in the original trilogy was Leia having indications of the Jedi ability. I know the sister aspect was from Empire on but still. She was Luke’s twin sister and Darth Vader’s daughter but aside from an instance at the end of Empire as well as one other at the end of Jedi she showed no indications of having any Jedi ability. Here she has insights into people which is clearly an expression of her Jedi ability. They went from one extreme to another and maybe you would say they over compensated. I’m not complaining but it might’ve bordered on being a bit too much.
Jimmy Smits returns as Bail Organa. It was nice to see him return to the part. He is very much a concerned and loving father here as it was implied he would become in Revenge of the Sith and what they tried to imply in Rogue One. He is left upset and disturbed by the kidnapping that sets events off events and is willing to put his friend in danger to save his daughter.
Bail gives very young Leia a speech about how the people will look to her for leadership one day and all that crap when she is older on and all I could think of was the moment in A New Hope when Grand Moff Tarkin fires on Alderaan because it is the better target. I understand it was meant to be a comforting and empowering speech but given we know how her life turns out it came off as a touch darkly comical.
The Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend), implied to be the big bad and built up rather well if you know nothing of Rebels, gets a bit of a bitch death. He comes in and is rather sinister and then gets taken out when he is not ready for anything. Ugh!
I like the idea of the Inquisitors but I’m also at odds with the idea of the Inquisitors. In order to get around certain canonical rules such as there are only ever two Sith at a time, they created the Inquisitors which are Sith-lite. They have almost all the abilities of Sith, so in the end it’s really just a distinction without a difference. And the one that is apparently going to actually be the big bad of all the inquisitors, Reva Sevander/the Third Sister, is just generically angry.
She came from nothing and gets talked down to by everyone in the group and she’s become obsessed with capturing Obi-Wan Kenobi in order to improve her status which leads to the kidnapping plot against Princess Leia. She doesn’t know about the parentage but she does know of Bail’s past connection to Obi-Wan. Her motivations are just kind of weak. Either make her look better or give her a little more complex set of motivations. There’s only two episodes in and hopefully this issue will get addressed.
Visually this series gets the Star Wars look right. Star Wars has a distinct look that helps it stand out among other fictional universes. That is one thing creative minds forget: fictional universes need a distinct look. It helps to set them apart. It may be a distinct world but it must also look distinct.
As for the story I would liken it more to the downbeat nature of Empire or the downbeat nature of Revenge of the Sith. The galaxy hasn’t just fallen into chaos but it is in a growing chaos and ever increasing darkness. Obi-Wan has decided that the best course of action is to keep his head down.
The dialogue is good and the acting good. While I am not happy with Fifth Sister, the characters in general are well done. It’s implied here that to even the worst of the criminals the Jedi represent hope. I rather liked that. These aren’t people willing to turn over the Jedi to the Empire and they don’t see them as necessarily the reason for the state of the world but rather a positive symbol of what once was. The story itself is building to something high stakes for those involved.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is off to a good start. I have high hopes for this series and will be tuning in every week. If you are a fan of Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, this is a great continuation of what he accomplished. I say check it out.