Disney+ gave an earlier premiere kick-off on Friday for the first two episodes of the new series, Obi-Wan Kenobi, reviving its Star Wars series format following the successes of the first two seasons of The Mandalorian and season one of The Book Of Boba Fett. With each show taking up a certain space in the franchise timeline, we now have the newest addition returning title star Ewan McGregor to the role the late Alec Guiness birthed in George Lucas’s maiden 1977 release of Episode IV: A New Hope.
It’s been ten years since the events of Episode 3 as Chancellor Palpatine executed Order 66, forcing any surviving Jedi into hiding if they weren’t hunted and killed. Kenobi, reclusive and all but given up in the years after losing Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) to the dark side, is embedded on Tatooine, quietly watching from a distance over a much younger Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely) who is in the care of his adoptive farming family and protective uncle Owen (Joel Edgerton), with sister Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) living miles away under the guardianship of Alderaan’s political rulers Bail (Jimmy Smits) and Queen Breeha (Rebecca Jackson Mendoza).
Suddenly a Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) makes himself known along with his company, Fifth Brother (Sung Kang) and Third Sister/Reva (Moses Ingram) as they land on Tatooine in search of Jedi, with Reva taking a more ambitious approach to her hunt. It turns out she’s specifically targeting Obi-Wan for her own personal reasons, which only further narrows down Obi-Wan’s options when he’s summoned by Bail to help rescue Leia from a gang of kidnappers, in a desperate chase that leads him to the planet Daiyu, only to find himself embroiled in a much larger conspiracy that he never saw coming.
I’ve seen some of the feedback being offered with the first two episodes and I disagree with the points I’ve read about the film’s special effects. It’s television so reasonably the effects are scaled down a bit and frankly they’re not that much different from what fans celebrate per usual in the films from ’77 and onward. The show’s opening did rile things up enough to warrant a content warning for viewers and you can read more about that here at The Wrap (and there are spoilers, FYI)
My main issue is the show’s pacing between dialogue scenes which stifles a lot of the progression, and it’s a problem most shows have, save for The Mandalorian. At least one other plus I can offer is the introduction of new and interesting characters in the mix, from Reva to co-star Kumail Nanjiani, and the plot twists their roles invite to yet another unraveling sub-chapter in the Star Wars saga as we await the future standing of the films and upcoming shows.
If you’re a fan of the franchise, the first two episodes are worth worth trudging through until things hopefully build up to some more exciting bookmarks ahead.