When Disney announced that they would be producing a new Star Wars TV show with Obi-Wan Kenobi as the protagonist, fans around the world could only get hyped about it. Finally, one of the most important characters in the whole Stars Wars Universe would be the protagonist of his own story. The possibilities were endless, as the years between Episode III and Episode IV were a complete mystery for most of the fandom.
However, Disney and LucasFilm had other things in mind. Instead of taking the character into new exciting territory, one that could expand the universe into brand-new frontiers, the creatives behind the show decided that they should, like every new Star Wars property, look back. Thus making Obi-Wan Kenobi face his past before moving forward, to face his past once again once he meets Vader once again in Episode 4.
Yes, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a terrible show, that never really managed to justify its existence by taking the character into uncharted territory. Instead, the show kept all six episodes to circle back on themes, and plot points that were already planned to appear in future movies. Obi-Wan Kenobi could have been the opportunity to introduce new characters and concepts, but that was too much to ask. Instead, the show tries to top the original trilogy, but ends up undermining each of the moments that make those movies special.
Is it everything bad? Well, yes, almost everything in the episode serves to show that you need more than a camera, a crew, and some actors to make good TV episodes or a movie. You need some quality writing to back everything up, and you need to have a vision for what you will put on the screen. Obi-Wan Kenobi, the show, never really had a vision, it never found its own identity among the Star Wars TV series, and never managed to really fit its story inside the canon.
If there is one thing that can be said, it is really good is that during the fight that happens between Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Vader in this episode. The force is used in some very cool ways that we have not seen before. Yes, it can be summarized in, They throw rocks, and they make rocks explode, but strangely enough, we had not seen the telekinetic aspect of the force used in these ways before. If only that kind of direction could also be applied to the rest of the visual composition of the show, and the story.
Those cool force powers are sadly accompanied by pretty awful choreography that makes the fight feel lackluster, to say the least. However, what really makes this fight terrible, and what really hurts the overall story of the franchise, is what happens between the characters. The writers for some reason thought this moment was amazing, that’s why they wrote it, but it has the completely opposite effect. The writers ended up undermining the character of Vader without any necessity.
What happens, at the end of this fight, doesn’t really fit with their future encounter in A New Hope. It seems the writer didn’t bother to watch the exact words uttered in that mythical encounter in order to make what they were writing fit into that context. A structural template beats down continuity, just to end up delivering a moment that feels so empty and fake that can only get the most blinded part of the fandom excited. There is no logic, only fan service.
The show finished its lackluster run by also delivering a terrible ending to Reva’s storyline, a sort of unwarranted redemption. It seems that despite all the great respect the creatives feel toward George Lucas’ work, they don’t have the grit to take the story to the dark places it should go. Instead, they undermine every single part of the story that could be dark and choose to take it into the more predictable and generic possible route.
The fact that the closing minute of the show was predicted by fans way before the first episode aired. Tells you that there is really nothing special about this show other than having Ewan McGregor utter “Hello There” for the memes. Memes are more important than good storytelling, at least that is the lesson that Obi-Wan Kenobi taught throughout its six episodes. It is truly lamentable.
Deborah Chow’s promise as a director also never really materialized throughout the season. Obi-Wan Kenobi really is one of the ugliest-looking shows on TV this year, and it shouldn’t have been like that. Star Wars has always made a staple out of creating powerful iconic imagery. Images that stay in your mind way after leaving the theater or turning off the TV. As it is, the only thing that people will remember about Obi-Wan Kenobi is how underwhelming it was.
The series will have defenders, every piece of Star Wars media have those around, but sadly, there are really no tangible arguments to sustain what has been done to the characters, and the overall story. The people that will love Obi-Wan Kenobi will love it to the death, but they will love it not because it was, but because it was Star Wars.