Friday, June 17, 2022

TV REVIEW. Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+ is the sterling Star Wars character study you've been longing for.

8 TV's  

by Thinus Ferreira

The 6-episode limited series Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+ is sterling Star Wars: In short, these are the episodes you've been looking for.

With Ewan McGregor back as now a Jedi-in-hiding on Tatooine and Hayden Christensen reprising his role from the Star Wars prequel films as well (the angry Anakin now turned to the dark side as Darth Vader), Obi-Wan Kenobi is a Star Wars character study that's emotional, beautifully done, and a perfect fill-in-the-history gap between Star Wars Episodes III and IV.

As if The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett were practice-makes-perfect precursors to doing Star Wars as episodic television, Obi-Wan Kenobi shines as near-perfect prestige television in the streaming age.

The return of Obi-Wan with Ewan McGregor simply living and fully embodying the role, is emotional TV watching and more than everything a Star Wars fan could ever want. The first two episodes are filled with foreboding, beautiful realism for an exotic galaxy so far away, nostalgia of what you remember and is instantly back from the prequels and then more.

Obi-Wan Kenobi feels like the best Star Wars TV series yet, with iconic characters back for a well-deserved and functional curtain call, and with director Deborah Chow flexing her Star Wars muscles from The Mandalorian to push the envelope with ease even further.

In a physical setting, as well as a metaphysical circumstance, of loss, desolation, disconnection, regret and hiding, the Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+ thrives. These are dark times in the galaxy - how apt that that world so far away resonates with echoes of our own world in 2022.

The masterful Obi-Wan Kenobi is very special Star Wars - as TV it functions with clear affection as a story/film in a kind of Episode 3.5-bridge between the prequels and original trilogy. It's cinematic, surprising, emotional, unexpected, sorrowful and sad with a dash of hope. 

Living in a world lost, Ewan McGregor's iconic and solitary character can't be his authentic self. He has to physically and mentally hide who he really is. Meanwhile, he's hovering-watching over Luke Skywalker - already noticing the same spirit of adventure and Jedi-potential in the 10-year old there was in his father, Anakin.

(Little surprise: There are still pockets of beauty, gleaming technology and joy in this galaxy: It's not just a 10-year old Luke on Tatooine you'll see. There's also his 10-year old bun-haired twin sister on Alderaan, as well as several other surprise appearances of old and well-known characters.

The Inquisitors as Jedi hunters are a more than apt menacing addition to the story. "What happened to you - you were once a great Jedi?" asked a character in the first episode. "The time of the Jedi is over," Obi-Wan intones with a tired voice. 

But yes, he does rise to the occasion, eventually, for another rescue mission, and one last fight.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is on Disney+.