Given its placement within the Star Wars timeline, sitting snugly between the tip of the prequel trilogy and the start of A New Hope, there are particular issues that Obi-Wan Kenobi merely can’t do. At its core, the Disney Plus collection is a slowly simmering battle between its titular lead and his former protege, Darth Vader. But, irrespective of how epic the lightsaber battles may be, we all know neither of them can actually die. The identical goes for cute little Princess Leia each time she makes a daring escape with Obi-Wan’s assist.
And that’s a part of what makes the six-episode collection, which simply wrapped up its finale, so spectacular. Even with a lot already identified and most of the characters so completely analyzed and explored, it manages to maintain the stakes and the strain excessive. Obviously, Obi-Wan makes it by way of the present alive — but watching him do that makes for among the greatest Star Wars in a very long time. Even when the stakes aren’t life and dying (for everybody), the emotional confrontations between these associates turned enemies may be simply as satisfying as a well-choreographed lightsaber duel.
This evaluation comprises spoilers for all six episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi. For our evaluation of the preliminary two episodes, go here.
As the title implies, Obi-Wan Kenobi is centered across the Jedi Knight performed by Ewan McGregor. At the outset, he’s residing as a hermit on Tatooine, hiding himself and his Force powers from the Empire, which is nonetheless intent on eradicating each remaining Jedi from the galaxy. He’s additionally ensuring to maintain one eye on Luke Skywalker from afar — in a means that’s solely barely creepy. But, like a retired prison, he’s pulled in for one final job after Princess Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) is kidnapped. Her dad and mom, eager to be discreet, enlist Obi-Wan to deliver her again to security.
From there, the present expands to be about extra than simply Obi-Wan as a person, specializing in his relationships with pivotal characters within the Star Wars universe. There’s Leia, who slowly shifts from reckless youngster to the power (no pun supposed) we all know her as as an grownup, partially because of Obi-Wan’s steerage. Over the course of six episodes, Obi-Wan modifications, too, and steadily turns into himself once more, not solely when it comes to resuscitating his Jedi powers but additionally the compassion that is so core to his character. And he does all of this with a younger and impressionable Leia watching him — her fiery character serving to to drag him out of his shell.
Obi-Wan pulls in a couple of new threads as properly. Reva (Moses Ingram) begins out as the massive dangerous, a cruel hunter who is entirely fixated on Obi-Wan. And she makes an incredible basic Star Wars villain, one who is initially bereft of conscience but in the end turns into sympathetic — even when her origin was very clearly telegraphed from the opening moments of the present. Plus, she has a particularly cool lightsaber. Most of the opposite new characters are largely background materials, although they’re often nonetheless entertaining, like Kumail Nanjiani’s tackle a con artist pretending to be a Jedi.
But the obvious point of interest is between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader (performed variously by Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones, each reprising the function). Their fallout is your entire crux of the present. Leia is captured in an try to lure Obi-Wan out of hiding so that an inquisitor, Reva — a part of a small group of fearsome Jedi-hunting elite commanders — can get into Vader’s good graces. Vader, in the meantime, has clearly by no means gotten over the occasions of Revenge of the Sith, which, to be honest, left him burned to the purpose that he wants an advanced robotic go well with to perform. Both Obi-Wan and Vader appear to dream about nothing but one another, the occasions of the prequel trilogy haunting their sleepless nights.
For six episodes, the present slowly builds as much as that final confrontation between Vader and Kenobi. It spends a lot of that time displaying Obi-Wan reacquainting himself with the Force whereas additionally reestablishing simply how terrifying Vader may be. While most of the Force customers within the present are adept (or straight up struggling like Obi-Wan), Vader has a uncooked energy that is clearly unmatched. There are scenes when he drags victims behind him simply to scare individuals and a second when he manages to cease a big freighter ship mid-takeoff utilizing solely the Force. This is Vader on the peak of his powers — and a reminder of why the galaxy is so scared of him. And even with among the stress eliminated due to the actual fact we all know they each will stay, it nonetheless manages to be an unbelievable second — and absolute basic lightsaber duel — when the 2 lastly face off within the finale. (In reality, Obi-Wan includes a handful of nice one-on-one motion sequences, most of which contain Vader and his laser sword.)
There’s nonetheless loads of Star Wars silliness in Obi-Wan. Most of the massive shock reveals are simple to foretell, the flashback sequences are very on the nostril, and the Force stays a mysterious, uh, power that appears to bend to the need of the present’s writers as a lot as it does the Jedi and Sith. Characters additionally often make baffling decisions; Obi-Wan would’ve been a really totally different present if individuals truly took a second to make sure their victims have been useless as an alternative of simply strolling away. It by no means will get too egregious, but you’ll must droop your disbelief a couple of occasions on this present about area wizards.
With its slate of upcoming books, shows, and movies, Disney is intent on as soon as once more filling in each little hole within the Star Wars timeline. (RIP expanded universe.) So far, the outcomes have been combined. Despite what my Kenner motion determine would possibly’ve predicted after I was 12, Boba Fett’s interior life is not all that captivating. He’s extra fascinating as a thriller. But for Obi-Wan, a personality who’s integral to this universe and but so typically performs a supporting function, it makes loads of sense to dig into this key a part of his story, one that additionally helped form the motivations of characters like Leia and Vader. It helps that Obi-Wan does loads of basic Star Wars issues rather well — cool lightsaber battles; menacing villains; a wonderful, lived-in world — along with telling an fascinating story.
So, although you know the way issues will finish, the present manages to make the highway to that conclusion a crucial a part of the Star Wars mythos — one that reminds you ways fun this universe may be.
All six episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi are streaming on Disney Plus now.