Obi-Wan Kenobi, the new Star Wars miniseries directed by Deborah Chow for Disney +, is everything a Star Wars series should be and more. The show expands upon the stories of many of the beloved characters by putting them in never-before-seen scenarios yet also maintains the heroic qualities fans have grown to recognize and love about them.
Set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, the show follows an older Obi-Wan Kenobi who must rescue a young Princess Leia after she has been taken captive by Imperial “inquisitors”. Kenobi is still the kindhearted mentor he is known as, but this time, McGregor presents him in a more stern light. He has grown weary after witnessing the fall of the Jedi Order and the demise of his friend and former apprentice, Anakin Skywalker. Now, he lives solely to protect a young Luke Skywalker from the clutches of the evil Galactic Empire. Ewan McGregor delivers an amazing performance in his reprisal of his role as Obi-Wan, conveying a somberness and brooding sadness that contrasts with the younger Obi-Wan of the prequels. However, as the show progresses, Obi-Wan regains his courage and fighting spirit. It was especially gratifying to watch how he was able to pull himself from the depressive slump he was in at the start of the show and return to the brave Jedi warrior he was in the prequels, showing how even when things are at their bleakest, there is always the possibility of redemption.
Vivien Lyra Blair also delivers a very commendable performance as a young princess Leia. Leia, living on Alderaan with her adoptive family, is a stubborn, hotheaded, and fiercely independent child, running off in the woods instead of attending political receptions and engaging in other “tomboyish” behaviour. Just as her older self in the original trilogy, Leia remains very brave and defiant towards her captors despite her youth. Consequently, Leia’s assertiveness also manifests itself in her argumentative attitude towards adults, such as in her interactions with Obi-Wan, illustrating that she still has some growing up to do. However, Leia does mature over the course of the show; she uses her intelligence and resourcefulness to help out those around her when things get desperate. Indeed, the show portrays Leia’s development from being a stubborn child to the brave, loyal, and rebellious warrior she is in the original trilogy.
Like a classic Star Wars film, Obi-Wan Kenobi follows many elements of the Hero’s Journey literary formula. For example, Obi-Wan’s initial “refusal of the call” when asked by Bail Organa to assist him in retrieving his adoptive daughter felt very much like the Hero’s Journey. These elements create an exciting space adventure involving rebellious warriors fighting against the evil Galactic Empire. The show also gives us plenty of escape and rescue missions throughout, from breaking into government facilities to getting out of tricky situations using cunning and tact, making the series feel like an epic journey in a galaxy far, far away.
Through all these exciting storylines, Obi-Wan Kenobi is, much like classic Star Wars, a tale of good vs. evil, the good being represented by the altruistic rebels and the evil being represented by the imperial forces of the Galactic Empire. Once again, Darth Vader, whose presence is more ominous and menacing than ever before, embodies the true power of the dark side of the Force. The show provides an interesting new take on the ruthless supervillain by exploring his former life as Anakin Skywalker when he comes face to face with his master Obi-Wan. In this series, his relationship with his previous teacher is intense and heartbreaking, expanding on how he had transitioned from a young Jedi student into the merciless Sith Lord he is in the original trilogy. This exploration made the show a very memorable experience, as well as very gripping and emotional.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is a story of good, evil, adventure, despair, life, loss, and hope. It was especially gratifying to return to some beloved characters from the original franchise, notably Obi-Wan, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader. That alone makes the show an epic addition to the Star Wars franchise, allowing fans to relive the initial joy of first seeing the original trilogy, while also viewing it in a new and exciting light.