There are two big questions (actually, one question is quite a bit bigger than the other) regarding the new series Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is set to debut on Disney Plus on May 27.
The first is: Will Obi-Wan spend the entire time on Tatooine, eating sand-wiches (har har) as he watches over the young Luke Skywalker as the lad’s aunt and uncle raise him? By extension, does that mean we will get yet another Star Wars story in which a desert planet is the main focus yet again? And it just so happens to be “yet another story” set on Tatooine, that desert planet that so many Star Wars stories in both the films and on the two prior Disney Plus shows have been. There is a whole galaxy out there, after all.
The second question: Will this show, perhaps that last hope for Star Wars, save or stabilize the franchise to the once-beloved good graces of the fans?
Let’s start with the first question. Of course, this series will take place on Tatooine or at least a good portion of it. The show takes place between Episode 3 and Episode 4 of the “Skywalker Saga,” where Kenobi agreed to watch over young Luke Skywalker from afar on Tatooine and stay hidden from the Empire. However, this does not mean that he cannot, on occasion, go off-world for some adventure, and the trailers clearly show some other, more exciting settings. Clearly, the story involves the Inquisitors (introduced in the Rebels animated series). They work for Vader as Force users intent on hunting down any remaining Jedi that escaped the Order 66 massacre, as depicted in Episode 3. The trailer indicates that the Inquisitors know the Jedi well enough to use their good deeds against them: “The Jedi cannot help what they are,” says the Grand Inquisitor in the show’s teaser trailer. “Their compassion leaves a trail. The Jedi code is like an itch. He cannot help it.” What’s more, there are rumors that the Third Sister, the female Inquisitor shown in the footage, was once herself a Jedi, but an unwilling one, picked up as a child and forced to become a part of the cult, and her actions against them now might be her way of gaining vengeance. Certainly, if this is the case, her knowledge of the intricacies of the Jedi Order would very much help the Inquisitors in their mission.
What about the second question? There is no way to understate how important this series is to the franchise. The sequel trilogy was uneven and maligned by many. The Solo film was the first movie in the franchise to lose money, so the franchise turned to smaller storytelling with Disney Plus, starting with The Mandalorian. The simple, bare-bones plotting and the memorable characters of that series have been praiseworthy, but its spin-off series. The Book of Boba Fett didn’t quite work for everyone. It was uneven and, at best, just a continuation of the Mandalorian series.
Now it’s up to Obi-Wan to show if a story, other than one about a man in a helmet, can work on TV. With the focus returning to lightsaber duels and using the Force, can the storytellers craft an interesting story that delves further into the lore than ever before? Bringing back a legacy character like Obi-Wan Kenobi is risky because a shoddy story can ruin his legacy just as easily as a good story could cement his place in the franchise for all time. Let’s not forget that Darth Vader will also return for this show. Such iconic Star Wars characters must be used wisely.
In short, if this series is as uneven as Boba Fett, many fans that saw the prequel films upon release, or even those fans that saw the original films upon release, might use this show to gauge their general interest in how Disney will handle the franchise moving forward partly because it promises to bridge the gaps in lore between the prequels and the original films.
In the end, lots of judging eyes are looking for that Star Wars magic to return with this show, a show that does not have a baby Yoda character to win over even the skeptics easily. Make no mistake, Grogu, AKA “Baby Yoda,” is a fantastic character, but his cuteness has been the most notable aspect of both Disney Plus Star Wars shows for people looking at this franchise for the first time. Obi-Wan Kenobi not only has to be a good show on its own, but it may also be the foundation for future stories yet to come.
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