It’s hard to believe that we are already 1 week on from the finale of Obi-Wan Kenobi. And while I really enjoyed the series, I can’t help look back and notice some real issues that dogged the show and think about ways that this could have been better. So today, I will look back at the series as a whole and give my thoughts on the highs and lows.
Obviously it goes without saying, but this will contain spoilers for the series.
Check out my individual episode reviews here:
Of course the big draw ahead of the series starting was the return of Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen as Obi-Wan and Anakin respectively. Well it’s safe to say that they put in their best performances in the Star Wars galaxy, as did Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse and Jimmy Smits. Meanwhile they were joined by young Vivien Lyra Blair as Leia, Grant Feely as Luke, Moses Ingram as Reva/ Third Sister, Rupert Friend as the Grand Inquisitor, Sun Kang as Fifth Brother, Indira Varma as Tala, O’Shea Jackson Jr as Roken, Simone Kessell as Breha Organa and Kumail Nanjiani as Haja; all of whom put in great performances. While there were issues with the show, it certainly wasn’t the acting—though as 6 of these were re-casting characters from the Original Trilogy, expect to see Kathleen Kennedy blame them if the series does not make the number Lucasfilm expected.
The Last Jedi
Such is the quality of Ewan McGregor as an actor, it allows Obi-Wan to go rough a really discernable arc here, one that actually mirrors Luke’s in The Last Jedi quite nicely in that they have both seen the Jedi Order wiped out by the acts of their padawan who is like family to them, and this has led to them losing all hope, only for a special girl (Leia and Rey) to break the monotony of their life and help push them back towards being the Jedi they should be. The growth of Obi-Wan—from refusing to help the Organas in Part I, to becoming a general again and finally a Jedi—is great to watch and perhaps should have been a greater focus of the show, while his interactions with Haja and the Path also led to him trusting rogues who are clearly full of bravado, which allows him to trust Han in A New Hope.
Birth of a Rebel
Someone else who was allowed to go through a great arc was Leia. Again, this wouldn’t have been possible without the quality of acting from Vivien Lyra Blair, but this was done very nicely throughout the episodes. We see her start as a princess who wants nothing to do with becoming a senator, but as the series goes on, we see her realise that the Empire is not all good and that her father is one of the few trying to make a difference in the senate, which leaves her willing to enter politics by the time she is returned home. But not just that, we see the future rebel really begin to grow from her interactions with Tala: hearing about choosing to take action because she can, getting tips on how to wear a blaster holster for the quickest draw and then being given the holster after Tala’s death, which we see her choosing to wear once home.
That scene in the finale
You know the one I’m on about, where Obi-Wan rejoins the fight against Vader and gets in a number of good shots to weaken him, before a final swipe which cuts away a huge chunk of Vader’s helmet. And so we get master and apprentice face to face, with Obi-Wan able to see what Anakin has become. The dialogue in this scene: perfect. The emotion: palpable. The lighting, using the blades to light the faces and seeing the lighting on Vader’s face change from blue to red as it is clear that he can’t be redeemed… One of the best scenes in all of Star Wars!
While there were certainly some moments that really hit home, there were quite a few moments where I can’t help but wish we’d had to wait another year or 2 just to get a better script and a better story. My issues here fall into 2 main categories:
The wrong story: While the inciting incident of Leia being abducted was the perfect reason to get Obi-Wan to leave Tatooine, I can’t help feel that her continued presence then held back the potential of the series to focus on Obi_Wan and his growth as a character, while it instead left us with a formula that as Star Wars fans we are seeing a little too much of an older man protecting a child (Din Djarin and Grogu/The Bad Batch and Omega). Similarly, the relationship between Obi-Wan and Vader kept being put on hold by Reva’s storyline and her own relationship with Vader. I recently watched Jeremy Jahns’ review of the finale and couldn’t help agree with him that Obi-Wan’s story should have been a more character-focused series/movie, with a separate series following Reva from Order 66 through her growth as an Inquisitor and her attempts to kill Vader. Not only would this have allowed both stories to really get fleshed out, but it would have given us a chance to get more of the Lars family and utilise Joel Edgerton’s quality as an actor.
Convenience: And here for me was the issue that continually niggled at the back of my mind more and more as the series went on. Far too often the series relied on moments of convenience or characters making decisions that made no sense. Consider these as just a few examples:
- Reva’s entire plan to draw Obi-Wan from hiding is to kidnap the Organas’ adopted daughter (with no knowledge of her true parentage) because she found that Obi-Wan and Bail were friends during the Clone Wars. Had Leia been any other adopted child, Obi-Wan would not have become involved or even been informed, it was purely due to her status as one of Anakin’s children
- Vader chooses to let Obi-Wan escape at the end of Part III
- Vader allows Reva to survive despite being stabbed both during Order 66 and in Part V after she has tried to kill him
- Reva hides a restraining bolt that also functions as a tracking beacon in case Leia escapes Fortress Inquisitorius.
- Obi-Wan tries to smuggle Leia through Fortress Inquisitorius hidden beneath a trench coat and not a single Imperial notices the odd body shape/4 feet
- Despite an agreement of no contact with Obi-Wan, Bail Organa sends Obi-Wan a message that
- proves he is in contact with Kenobi
- mentions they are protecting a second child
- name-checks Tatooine and Owen
Considering this project was actually delayed due to improving the scripts, I would have expected something much much better and can’t help feel that more attention should have been paid to such a crucial piece or pre-production.
So this one may be wrong, but it felt like this was made on a lower budget to The Mandalorian, which truly feels ridiculous to me considering how popular this show was going to be due to the return of Ewan and Hayden.
The CGI at times felt very made-for-television, such as when Vader pulled down the Path’s decoy shuttle with the Force and the airspeeder rescue from Fortress Inquisitorius, while it appears no de-aging technology was used on the flashback scene in part V despite the actors now being 20 years older than when they filmed Attack of the Clones.
If this was truly made on a lesser budget, a big question needs to be asked as to why, considering this was the series that would probably draw in views from people who have seen the movies but not branched out beyond that.
So this one may change over time, as I rewatch the show, but on a first run through, the score very rarely stood out to me until the last couple of episodes. And I think part of that was down to a reluctance to use the established themes, which did not appear until the finale. While I understand that there are reasons not to overuse familiar themes, thescore largely failed to stand out without them, in sharp contrast to the themes created by Ludwig Göransson for The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. Music is such an important part of Star Wars, and sadly it wasn’t until the latter stages of the show that it really started having any impact on me, which just exacerbated the other issues as I didn’t feel so grasped by the series.
What were your thoughts on the series? Would you want to see a second series? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you….