Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Disney Plus Series Review

Now that the final chapter of the six-part “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series has dropped on Disney Plus, fans can finally judge the series as a whole. Did it restore faith in the franchise after “The Book of Boba Fett” proved to be underwhelming to most of the fan base? Did it offer more insight into the Jedi culture and deepen the lore of the Star Wars universe? Well, now fans can watch the series and learn the unfortunate truth: this show offers very little that audiences have not seen before. The story, as it is, feels like it was written in the margins of the timeless classic that everyone has seen and doesn’t seem worthy of what came before.

Ewan McGregor returns as the titular character, a former Jedi Master in self-imposed exile on Tatooine to watch over Luke Skywalker, who is about ten years old when this show takes place. The convoluted story told here immediately throws a little curveball, as Kenobi is drawn out of hiding to protect… Leia! Yes, Princess Leia has been kidnapped in an attempt to lure the former Jedi out of hiding, and Kenobi finds himself in a rather routine adventure to rescue her. She’s actually kidnapped twice in the series, and action-packed rescues on the show are not anything we have not seen before.

Worse, the show’s focus doesn’t seem to be on Kenobi. Too much screentime is spent with a  new character, Reva, who works for Darth Vader himself. A former Jedi youngling, she has gone down the dark path. With so much of the series focusing on her arc, viewers can only wonder who this show is about. Despite having a full arc with a “surprising” twist, the character of Reva is just not a compelling one. Ewan McGregor does his best to carry his scenes, but every time the show focuses on the Reva character, it loses its hold on the viewer. Why would the creators of a show called “Obi-Wan Kenobi” put so much emphasis on a character that, quite simply, doesn’t work? The writing of the character just isn’t compelling, and the performance here just seems a bit “off.” The problem probably originated from the conception of the character: why is she in this saga? What does she add? The idea that a villain like her can perhaps be redeemed is certainly a poignant one, but good ideas must be executed well, and this character either drags down the overall story or, worse yet, IS the story they were trying to tell. In either case, this seems to be the wrong show for a potentially interesting character.

Of course, the show’s ace in the hole was that it would show Darth Vader again, and it delivered on the promise that Vader and Kenobi would fight again. These lightsaber duels were impressive, but there was no real story to back them up. The narrative was somewhat predictable and thin. What’s more, the rest of the series is relatively tame. The show itself never truly justifies its own existence. Director Deborah Chow, who helmed some of “The Mandalorian’s” finest hours, really missed the mark here. Her directing was sloppy in most action scenes, and the cuts between various storylines were not handled with grace.

When the original “Star Wars” film was made, it was the culmination of a man’s inspired take on stories featuring heroes and villains. It was fun, exciting, and, most of all, operatic. This show can only walk amongst the eggshells of that canon, and we heard a lot of these shells breaking along the way.

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