The following recap contains spoilers.
After years of anticipation and speculation, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s first two episodes dropped on Friday May 27 to fans ravenous for Ewan McGregor’s return. After a recap of the prequel’s most iconic moments, the series begins with the implied massacre of the Jedi younglings – and while we don’t see Anakin Skywalker physically, we know this is tied to his progression into Darth Vader. The stage is set, leading viewers to the most familiar of Star Wars starting locales: the sandy Tatooine.
Instantly, the vibe is different to the prequels, aligning more closely to The Mandalorian. There’s a darkness. This isn’t a show to sell merchandise or appeal to children with flashy choreography or colour. The desert is the perfect stage to re-introduce us to Obi-Wan Kenobi, now taking the name of Ben and choosing to avoid his connection to the Force. It’s an ageing man weary from decades of battle, taking in the life of a civilian like Rambo hanging up the guns. But as we know, the Jedi are being hunted across the galaxy and the name Obi-Wan Kenobi remains on the minds of the dark side – especially when it comes to Reva, the Third Sister.
Highlights from episode one included the exchange between Uncle Owen (played well by Joel Edgerton) and Ben, even if it did seem a bit contradictory that Ben no longer connects to the Force but states that Luke Skywalker must be trained. Grand Inquisitor is an intimidating presence, which makes his demise in episode two seem like a bit of a waste considering he demanded more attention than Reva. Either way, Reva is our antagonist, and her arc will be an interesting one to follow – is she working with or against Vader?
Episode two gave us Leia in a franchise that is usually so focused on the male Skywalkers. The actress does a fine job in showing off Leia’s sass and strength, with only a few scenes lacking a bit of direction (please, no more running). Her time with Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan in general, is where the show shines. His brooding, painful and at times depressed state adds a tone we’re not used to seeing in Star Wars, and it’s the exact tone that is needed to explore a galaxy ten years after Emperor Palpatine rose to power and executed its protectors.
In the final scene of episode two, we catch a glimpse of Hayden Christensen minus the Vader suit. This sets a bar: Darth Vader’s inclusion will be more than just a lightsaber fight in a dark corridor. Obi-Wan now knows he’s alive, and the torment he’s feeling will only transform into a need for confrontation (or hiding).
The episodes were not without Easter Eggs – Temuera Morrison is spotted as a clone begging for money, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers is about as random as an inclusion gets, and C3PO is found in the background of a party. The premiere was meant as a teaser, and with the action ramping up at the end of episode two it is clear the focus will shift to a Vader POV in the coming episodes.
They’ve nailed the style so far, but can they stick the landing?
Obi-Wan Kenobi is now streaming on Disney +
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