The makers ofdid a great job crafting a so let’s nerd with a (spoiler-y) in-depth recap of Episodes 1 and 2, including character arcs and Easter eggs (and that dramatic Star Wars cameo).
Ewan McGregor plays the Jedi General, no longer the naive youth of the prequel films, but neither quite the gray-haired old man played by Alec Guinness in the original 1977 film. With links to both the prequels and the original trilogy, the show is rich in Star Wars continuity and intriguing new elements.
The first two of the six episodes in the series are available now, with more coming every Wednesday from June 1st to June 22nd. If you haven’t seen the series yet, be warned that the first episode begins with scenes of children being attacked and can be disturbing for viewers in the wake.
When was the last time we saw Obi-Wan Kenobi?
The series begins with a recap of the prequels that will save you six hours of your life (just kidding,). Jedi Master and enemy of the evil Galactic Empire, Obi-Wan Kenobi began the prequels as an apprentice to Liam Neeson’s hapless Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn, who discovered a very young Anakin Skywalker on the desert world of Tatooine. After Qui-Gon’s death, Kenobi attempted to train Anakin, but failed to prevent his troubled young charge from falling under the influence of the evil Emperor Palpatine. Ultimately, Anakin succumbed to the dark side, especially after the death of his lover, Padmé Amidala.
They last met on high ground, where Obi-Wan chopped off Anakin’s legs and melted him in a volcano. Anakin’s last words to Obi-Wan were “I hate you!” to which Obi-Wan sadly replied, “You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.”
Those moments, those deaths, still haunt Obi-Wan in his nightmares. But Episode 2 climaxes with a gut punch of a personal relationship. We know that Anakan was rebuilt as Darth Vader with a black helmet and asthma, more machine than human. But Obi-Wan had no idea! Which massively ups the ante of his mission to protect Anakin’s twin children: young Leia, adopted by galactic Senator Bail Organa on Alderaan, and young Luke, sent to live with Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru on Tatooine.
Ten years later, the miniseries begins…
What is Obi Wan up to?
Mainly hanging out in the desert and taking care of Luke. We continue 10 years after Revenge of the Sith and nine years before A New Hope, in an era after the Jedi Order was all but wiped out. Obi-Wan goes into hiding, calling himself Ben, and eking out a humble existence as a meat packer in the carcass of a giant desert creature. He even refuses the desperate pleas of another hunted Jedi, young Nari (played by actor, writer and director Benny Safdie).
Although still a youth, Luke already shows in the first film the restlessness that drove him to new adventures. Playing Pilot sends shivers down the spine of a watching Obi-Wan, echoing young Anakin’s pod races in The Phantom Menace. And we know it heralds Luke’s later coming of age as the pilot who destroyed the Death Star.
Speaking of foreboding, Luke is being raised by Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, played like in the prequels by Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse. In A New Hope, it’s fair to say things are getting pretty hot for the unhappy couple, which makes Owen’s plea for Obi-Wan to leave the boy alone even more insistent. Edgerton is an award-winning Australian actor, writer and director known for Animal Kingdom, The Gift, Loving and The Great Gatsby.
Help me, Obi Wan
But the show pulls a kind of switcheroo when it turns out it’s not Luke who’s being threatened. Recalling the beginning of A New Hope, Obi-Wan receives a holographic message asking him to come to the rescue of Princess Leia. This time it’s his old pal Bail Organa, played by Jimmy Smith, also reprising his role from the prequels, and his wife Breha.
Young Leia, played charmingly by Vivien Lyra Blair, is a feisty buffoon more interested in running into the woods to the spaceship site with her droid, Lola, than royal duties. Her relationship with Obi-Wan reminds us of the tough guy/cute kid dynamic, but more importantly, we get a strong Leon: The Professional vibes. Which can’t be a coincidence, as Natalie Portman starred in Luc Besson’s 1994 hit just a few years before she played Padmé Amidala (Luke and Leia’s mother and Anakin’s great love) in the Star Wars prequels.
Who are the Inquisitors?
A key step in Palpatine’s plan to establish his evil empire was to wipe out the idealistic Jedi Knights who might oppose him. The series begins with Order 66, the moment many Jedi were treacherously murdered by Palpatine’s clone troopers in Revenge of the Sith. But enough remained for the Emperor to raise a death squad of Jedi hunters: the Inquisitors.
The Dark Side-wielding Inquisitors previously appeared in the CGI animated series Rebels and the video game Jedi: Fallen Order. Her in-game fortress will also appear in the show, as seen in the trailer. Among the characters we’ve seen before, Rupert Friend brings to life the moon-faced Grand Inquisitor, while Sung Kang plays the fifth brother.
Moses Ingram plays Reva, an inquisitor created for the Obi-Wan series. Her relationship with the Grand Inquisitor reflects the Jedi teaching style of assigning a Padawan apprentice to a Jedi Master. Like Anakin and many youngsters, Reva is ambitious and impatient. She’s also something of an outsider, whose Force powers are useful to Imperial officers who never let them forget their humble origins. Ingram brings the character to life in an appealing way, and yes, in case you couldn’t tell, I feel a little connected to her. She is a sadistic fascist, but also a multi-layered character. This is intelligent writing.
Yes, that’s Red Hot Chilli Peppers bassist Flea as cosmic abductor Vect. But the funniest new character is Kumail Nanjiani’s impostor who pretends to be a Jedi. At least he shows a decent heart, as good as it does him.
Obi-Wan quickly realizes that Haja Estree uses magnets and remote controls to pull off his Jedi moves, but for a moment I wondered if Haja was actually a real ex-Jedi. Eventually, if the youths scattered, they would not all become wandering heroes of the oppressed like the hapless Nari. It stands to reason that they’ll come up with some novel and possibly shady ways to survive.
Arriving at the grim place of Daiyu, Obi-Wan is shocked to find a penniless war veteran begging for scrap metal. The decrepit vet is playedStar Temuera Morrison, who also played Boba’s father Jango Fett in the prequels. Jango provided the template for Palpatine’s army of clone troopers, and Obi-Wan fought alongside many of these identical soldiers in the Clone Wars (as seen in the cartoons). No wonder he looks shocked. There’s also the bitter irony of a soldier being coerced into unspeakable acts by an indifferent regime, then brushed aside (and simply replaced by a new generation of unquestioning trigger men in the form of the stormtroopers who rush by in the scene) .
When is the next episode?
Disney dropped the first few installments to coincide with the live event, but future episodes will stream on Wednesdays. That means you’ll only have to wait a few days for Episode 3 to stream on June 1st. Here is the .
If you still want to fill in the blanks or just can’t wait to get some Obi-Wan action, CNET’s Guide to All Things Kenobi has a handy list of animated TV shows, novels, and comics starring the man game dress.
Random obi servings
- How come Reva could read Haja Estrees mind but not Owens?
- It’s hard to imagine that Ewan McGregor, who is 51 and doesn’t look like it, would turn into grey-haired Alec Guinness in the time between this show and A New Hope. Funnily enough, Guinness was 62 when he filmed New Hope, only 10 years older than McGregor is now. Then again, to paraphrase it it’s not the years, it’s the mileage.
- In A New Hope, it is Uncle Owen who introduces Obi-Wan and tries to scare off young Luke: “That wizard is just a crazy old man. You stay away from him, do you hear? He is dangerous.”
- In 1977, Uncle Owen was played by Phil Brown, an actor who was blacklisted during the McCarthy era and relocated to the UK. He died in 2006. Aunt Beru was played by Shelagh Fraser, an English actor whose career spanned from the 1940s to a final television appearance in 2000. She died the same year.
- Dunno if we’ll ever see an Aquilian Ranger hunting for Merson pirates, but it sounds cool. Just one of the nice little world-building touches on the show.
- See also: Spice is a drug in Star Wars, with variants like Kessel Pure, Glitterstim, and Felucian.
- How many of these summaries will I write before I stop typing “Oboi_Wan” every damn time… Stay tuned to find out.
Movies coming in 2022 from Marvel, Netflix, DC and more
View all photos
The Best TV Shows of 2022 You Can’t Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus & More
View all photos