I never knew how much I missed seeing Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan (now Ben) Kenobi until now! Sure, I saw the trailers and some preview photos to wet my whistle, but holy cow -his return after 17 years just melted my heart.
KENOBI started off stronger than either THE MANDALORIAN or THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT did, but maybe because our titular character is one of the most beloved fictional characters of the last 100 years. Since Alec Guinness first donned the robes 45 years ago, Obi-Wan has become Star Wars’ favorite uncle so to speak. When McGregor first took on the role in 1999, young Obi-Wan suddenly became a pop culture sex symbol more than Luke Skywalker ever had. But what did Obi-Wan do after leaving Luke with Owen and Beru and Leia with the Organas? That’s exactly where this series picks up.
Some of my fellow Star Wars fans love the animated series THE CLONE WARS and REBELS, but I’ll admit I haven’t seen too much of either. I really enjoyed the old CLONE WARS series of shorts from 2003-2005, but I’ve only seen a few episodes of the later series and even less of REBELS. That being said, I haven’t “been waiting” to see any particular characters make their live-action debut like I know others have. As a film and TV fan, I absolutely adored Rupert Friend in HOMELAND, so was very excited to see him cast as a Jedi hunter in KENOBI. Even under A LOT of makeup, his performance shines through and is terrifying. Moses Ingram as The Third Sister, another Jedi-hunting Inquisitor is another favorite addition thus far. She has all the evil as her boss Darth Vader, but she’s also known to go rogue when necessary, making her possibly an even bigger threat.
OBI-WAN KENOBI 1 & 2 have the perfect blend of nostalgia, intrigue, action, and tons of background weirdos. Disney and Lucasfilm are really getting their money out of the desert-esque sets they built for THE MANDALORIAN and BOBA FETT, but thankfully Ben Kenobi makes it off-planet a bit too. The show wastes no time in showing us how two big characters from A NEW HOPE knew one another before the events of that film. There are a lot of fun surprises throughout the two episodes and I’m sure there are many more to come. I wouldn’t be shocked if Grogu shows up at some point, even in passing. But for now, Ben Kenobi is tasked with a VERY important mission while still trying to remain hidden from Vader and his hunters.
After such a strong start, I hope the pace continues. Welcome back Obi-Wan, you were always “our only hope”. OBI-WAN KENOBI streams on Disney+.