It’s been a long time coming and there’s been a lot of talk about Ewan McGregor returning to the role of Obi-Wan but here we are, finally, back in the Star Wars universe for another trip down memory lane.
After a lengthy (and welcome) recap of the prequel trilogy, we start episode 1 of Obi-Wan right on the cusp of Order 66 being, well, ordered. A motley band of Jedi children run away.
We then jump forward 10 years later on the sand-choked planet of Tatooine. It’s not Obi-Wan who touches down in his ship though. It’s a new enemy, joined by two of his lackeys. These are Inquisitors, sent to hunt and kill any remaining Jedi. The Grand Inquisitor is the one in charge but it’s the Third Sister, Reva, who appears to be our antagonist.
Reva is determined to track down Obi-Wan, fed up of hunting minnows and wanting to catch a big fish. The Grand Inquisitor soon puts her in her place though, reminding her of the hierarchy they adhere too.
Obi-Wan is living in solitude, keeping to himself and laying low. He’s sleeping in a cave nearby while working low paying jobs, eking out a living. He’s also in contact with a Jawa trader called Teeka, who happens to have salvaged a Jedi ship out in the wastes. Obi shrugs any idea of the Jedi returning aside, adamant that there are no more Jedi out there. Well, apart from Luke of course.
Obi-Wan keeps an eye on him from afar, dropping off supplies including that toy ship we know Luke messes about with in A New Hope. However, Uncle Owen throws the ship back the next day, telling him to stay away from Luke.
On the way back to his cave, Obi-Wan runs into a traveler called Nari who calls him Obi-Wan rather than Ben. The Inquisitors are hunting him and he needs help. Obi-Wan encourages him to bury the lightsaber and lay low, moving on with his life. “The time of the Jedi is over.” Our protagonist says, riding off and urging Nari to do the same.
The Grand Inquisitor is not messing about and he soon shows up with Reva, who threatens to kill Owen and his family if no one speaks up. It’s touch and go for a while, eventually leading to Reva walking away, promising Owen she’ll get him next time. As we see later in the episode though, they do find Nari and string him up in town for all to see.
Interestingly, we also cut across to Alderaan where we see Leia up to old tricks, mischievously skipping out on important political events to play in the woods. Her whole life has been played out before her, including becoming a senator. For now, it’s onto showing her skills in the woods, where she ends up being captured by several goons as they half-heartedly chase her.
Leia’s adoptive parents speak to Obi-Wan and plead with him to help bring Leia back. They can’t get the Senate or anyone else involved, so for now they’re a bit stuck. Obi-Wan refuses, pointing out that 10 years have passed and he’s not the same man he once was. Bail doesn’t take no for an answer, and shows up at his cave in the next scene – presumably by flying rather than teleporting – and reveals her location; Leia has being taken to Daiyu.
Little Leia is resourceful though and uses Disney’s latest toy for children, Lola, to break her binds. Her captor arrives though and destroys her robot in front of her, promising that no one is coming to save her… but Obi-Wan might.
It turns out this whole plan was concocted by Reva to draw Obi-Wan out of hiding. And it works too, as he decides to dig up the lightsaber out in the sand and prepares to board his ship to rescue Leia.
The Episode Review
Obi-Wan Kenobi begins with a pretty good opening episode, although after the misfire of Book of Boba Fett, there are hints already that Obi-Wan is going to be sidelined in his own show, just like Boba Fett was. We’ve seen a lot of Reva (more on that in a minute) and Leia, with tiny glimpses of Luke. Now we’ve got a whole mission to go off and save Leia.
As for Reva, it seems like we’re getting the Mary Sue treatment again, as Disney continue to churn out Star Wars products willy-nilly. As someone who completely turned away from Star Wars after The Last Jedi, only to jump back into The Mandalorian and becoming enthusiastic again, Obi-Wan feels like a step down on a steep ladder to mediocrity set up by Book of Boba Fett’s tepid effort.
The opening episode does feel rather cheap too, with overacting, some pretty poor CGI given Disney’s money and an embarrassing “chase” in the woods too. If this was a CW show I wouldn’t really raise many eyebrows, but with Disney’s resources that feels inexcusable.
That’s before mentioning some of the nitty-gritty details that this episode throws up. Why can’t the Senate let it be known that Leia has been kidnapped? And to combat any doubters, he decides to fly there personally without a guard, touch down on Tatooine, head to Ben’s cave (and know its location) and wait for him with an ominous hood. Really? Wouldn’t the Senate and the Empire be keeping tabs on everyone?
These sort of questions are basic, simple worldbuilding tools and this show can’t seem to get that right. But maybe we’re being overly critical. Let’s see what episode 2 has in store for us.