June 16, 2022

CABLE | Ewan McGregor Awakens 'Obi-Wan Kenobi'

"Your need to prove yourself is your undoing."
Ewan McGregor Joby Harold Deborah Chow | Obi-Wan Kenobi | Disney+
An ageless Ewan McGregor returns as the storied Jedi Knight ten years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith in his eponymous six-part miniseries, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Played at least initially much wearier and defeated, this Kenobi tries to bridge the gap between his known character history to varying results.

Series director Deborah Chow seeks to balance our nostalgia for familiar elements from the Star Wars prequels against the more classical storytelling from the original trilogy. It’s a mixed bag with repetitive plot elements and confusingly unnecessary retcons between characters yet much of the world-building works when things start moving to different worlds and planets. Still, the conceit of a fallen hero called back to action to protect an innocent child we know feels played out—this time, it's a young Princess Leia played precociously by a very game Vivien Lyra Blair.

There are some clear pacing issues to get past between episode breaks as audiences are dropped back into a world where we unfortunately are aware who will survive to show up later and new character motivations are rushed to fill in previously unexplored territory. Showrunner Joby Harold tries to balance these new elements and backstories including the main antagonist Inquisitor (Moses Ingram) who has ties to both Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader with a redemptive Hayden Christensen reprising his dual roles ably.

Not everything quite comes together or works in this prequel series, but Obi-Wan Kenobi remains thrilling and propulsive as it goes along thanks to McGregor's convincingly committed performance and the very effective deployment of Christensen as both Skywalker and Vader in key fight and flashback sequences. Nonetheless, much of it still comes away as inconsequential since we ultimately know the fate of many of the players involved.

Obi-Wan Kenobi's six-episode season is available to stream weekly on Disney+.

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