Starring Ewan McGregor, Vivien Lyra Blair, Flea, Moses Ingram, Rupert Friend, Benny Safdie, Joel Edgerton, Kumail Nanjiani, Hayden Christensen
Posted on May 30, 2022
No amount of nostalgia can save the Star Wars prequels, which were underwhelming at the time and even worse in hindsight thanks to their screensaver-level CGI. It’s not so much that Jar Jar Binks was a bad character, it’s that it’s hard to even see him as a character, when he comes through with all the refinement of the Dancing Baby GIF.
That’s why it’s such a big reveal when Obi Wan Kenobi It opens with a four-minute synopsis of the prequels, which, as a condensed montage, actually looks pretty impressive. Podrunners! Darth Maul! Anakin turning into Darth Vader! Nearly seven hours of film translates into an emotional, action-packed four-minute sequence.
Obi Wan Kenobi begins 10 years after the events of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and, unlike others Star Wars properties that have tried to fill in the gaps in the backstory (e.g. midi-chlorians), it doesn’t seem like it’s meddling unnecessarily with the mythology of the universe. As fans have already seen in A new hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) hides out on Tatooine and uses the name “Ben” while keeping an eye on a young Luke Skywalker. (Time has not been kind to Ben; even though this was only a decade later, he appears to have aged at least 17 years.)
Obi Wan KenobiThe first episode sets the tone for his quiet, lonely life very well: repeated scenes show him working on an assembly line, traveling home through the desert, sitting quietly in his cave-like house, and otherwise supporting himself. . There’s a wistful, vaguely dystopian tone to this section, something emphasized by the Inquisitors of the Empire, who pass through Tatooine in search of surviving Jedi.
Obi-Wan finally comes out of hiding when a gang of criminals, led by Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, kidnap Princess Leia (bird box‘s Vivien Lyra Blair) and take her to planet Daiyu. With its neon signs, perpetual darkness, and seedy underbelly, Daiyu has the very trendy aesthetic of Bounty hunter — the only thing missing is a score by Vangelis.
Flea and the menacing Inquisitors (played by Moses Ingram and Rupert Friend) give Obi Wan Kenobi a sinister criminal element. Comic relief is provided by the reliably hilarious Kumail Nanjiani, playing a con man posing as a Jedi, and the extremely precocious Blair. Young Leia’s candor, intelligence and occasional scathing burns make her a perfect fit for the older Leia played by Carrie Fisher.
Unlike the serialized western style of the mandalorianthe first two episodes of Obi Wan Kenobi aired so far look a lot like the first part of a movie. They dovetail nicely with the Skywalker Saga movies, and are shaping up to be a welcome improvement on the franchise’s dubious history of sequels and prequels. If the prequels helped pave the way for this show, maybe they weren’t so bad after all. (Disney)