It’s a question that has plagued Star Wars fans for decades: How come the villains didn’t find Luke Skywalker when he was literally hiding in his father’s old house? Newminiseries who is streaming reveals the answer. However, the real question is, can a small error of continuity really be stretched to create an entire television series that is worth your time?
And is there really an engaging story to be told when you already know how it will turn out?
Fortunately, the power of the first two episodes – both are available for streaming– The answer seems yes. Obi-Wan Kenobi (show) is a confident, fast-paced and exciting new series with a great cast from creators who know how to use familiar elements – and most importantly, how to hold some back – in a story that is, most importantly, controlled by character.
(Please note that the first episode begins with a scene depicting infected children, which may be upset for viewers due to.)
This series could have turned out anyway, let’s face it. Introducing Ewan McGregor’s Proper Movie Star with a beard and lightsaber, it focuses on one of the most compelling characters in the entire Star Wars saga. But more than any recent Star Wars shows, it’s built from Star Wars in all its glory (the original film) and Star Wars at its worst (an exaggerated, computer-spoiled prequel trilogy). And follows the backwardanother story about the famous Star Wars foundation that disrupted some of the goodwill around the streaming hit .
But the series is safe in the hands of writers Hossein Amini (who wrote Drive, McMafia and others), regular Pixar writer Andrew Stanton, Caribbean Pirates writer Stuart Beattie, Hannah Friedman (who also works for Willow for Disney) and showrunner Joby. Harold with director Deborah Chow. Among them, the creators of this series find captivating human drama at the heart of this story.
Yes, it’s a fantasy amusement park for laser swords and rocket ships. But Obi-Wan – now simply “Ben” – is a broken war veteran who not only lost his surrogate son, but also saw his entire civilization fall into darkness. He is a defeated man and all he has left is a child he can never even talk to. This makes him an extremely impressive figure. The story cleverly undresses this beloved character back in the shell, and in the hands of such a good actor as Ewan McGregor, it is a moving journey that you will follow. Watching Obi-Wan suffer not only from the challenge of adventure in episode 1, but also from the terrifying personal revelation in episode 2, I suspect that in this series, McGregor will finally leave a comparison with Alec Guinness (who originally played Obi-Wan in A New Hope). Guinness, the Oscar-winning star of the Bridge over the River Kwai, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, will always be the titan of cinema. But his job in 1977 was to play a sprite and a bit of a clumsy space wizard. In contrast, McGregor begins to play anxiety and conflict etched in the soul of this destroyed man.
Another cunning move by the creators is to make villains much more than villains from cardboard cutouts. The black-clad Inquisitors are an order of fascist fanatics, but they don’t cost them a little office politics. The discrepancies between the Grand Inquisitor with the lunar face of Rupert Friend and his impatient subordinate Reva reflect the Padawan relationship between the Jedi Master and the disciple. And while she’s a ruthless evil regime official, chillingly portrayed by Moses Ingram, the troubled and ambitious Reva is simply engaging enough to be engaging after all.
In the case of the space shooter, the series also touches on some current topics. Star Wars continues to provide a metaphor for the insidiousness of evil, with a greasy ambassador who laughs that “The Empire is finally filling its pockets” as slavery laughs and chews canapes. The children recklessly repeat their parents’ bigotry, while Obi-Wan himself struggles with his responsibility to the next generation.
The interplay between McGregor and wild Vivien Lyra Blair is very amusing, as the opening episodes set up a show in a similar vein to The Mandalorian, in which our rough hero took Baby Yoda under his wing. Where it borrowed the samurai classic Lone Wolf and Cub, the Obi-Wan series is reminiscent of Luc Besson’s classic Killer Leon: The Professional of 1994. Which is certainly the intention, given that Leon played Natalie Portman just a few years before became a key figure in the Star Wars prequels. What a mother, what a daughter.
Prequel, sequel, or sequel to prequel?
So what exactly is this series? It takes place between the end of Revenge of the Sith and the beginning of New Hope and is both a prequel and a continuation of the prequel. Let’s call it in-between-quel. This illustrates one of the peculiarities of Star Wars in 2022: With no films on the horizon that would move the saga forward, the franchise constantly pursues its own tail in the ever-smaller gaps between previous adventures. From Rogue One and Solo to Mandalorian and Bob Fett’s Book to the coming, and Disney Star Wars administrators seem determined to cram each new series into the same decades of galactic history we’ve seen many times before. This repetition and familiarity particularly influences Obi-Wan’s story, as Revenge of the Sith and New Hope are already fitting together.
So the question this new series is struggling with is. How long can Star Wars cover the same land? This galaxy may be far, far away, but it never seems to grow.
Fortunately, the creators of Obi-Wan know this, and as we start with “Ben” working as a meat packer on Tatooine, they don’t waste time heading out to new pastures. The Desert Planet was the setting for Mandalorian and Bob Fett’s Book, and frankly, the last show really suffered from being stuck in the same place. Instead, the Obi-Wan show pulls out a neat switcheroo and sends our hero on a mission not to protect Luke as you would expect, but something else that opens up space for a satisfying adventure involving galaxies.
It’s true that while the series benefits from leaving the over-familiar Tatooine, the new environment she jumps into also looks familiar. In particular, episode 2 looks like one of those Marvel TV shows like Daredevil, where everyone digs shit on their rooftops at night and you don’t see anything. Yet the series squeezes more tension than you would expect from a situation where you already know who may die and who may not.
With blaster battles and bounty hunter droids and grimacing imperials, it’s all satisfyingly Star Wars, with some clever world-building like battered drug dealers, and a moving portrait that stops Obi-Wan in his footsteps. In addition, there are fun new characters – watch out for Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Kumail Nanjiani is obviously enjoying his life – combined with compelling conflicts for the characters we know.
It turns out that even though you think he’s a beaten man, Obi-Wan Kenobi still has a few tricks up his sleeve. And while we’ll see how the whole series unfolds, this latest series shows that there is still life in Star Wars.
The rest of the series drops every Wednesday, starting with Episode 3 on June 1 – look at the whole. In the meantime, get to our details .
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