Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Return of An Old Friend

May 3, 2022

 It’s a very exciting time for Star Wars fans. Ever since Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, there has been a clamor for Ewan McGregor to get his own show so that he could return as the famous Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. Over the years, rumors came and went concerning the production of one such TV series, but none of them turned out to be true. It wasn’t until 2019 when the Obi-Wan Kenobi (TV Series) was announced that fans could legitimately hope. Now that the time for waiting is nearly over, let’s dig into why everyone around you might be going nuts.

Why Obi-Wan? 

In case you may or may not have noticed, it is safe to say that the Star Wars fandom universally adores Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan. He knocked his performance out of the park in Episodes I, II, and III, giving the role everything he had. 

For a frame of reference, in one of the best-choreographed fight sequences in Star Wars history (when he fights Darth Maul after said Sith Assassin kills his master, Qui-Gon) he didn’t use a stunt double for the beginning of that intense scene. That was 100% the actor himself performing that very physically demanding fight (save for the parts where Obi-Wan is doing backflips). Not that long ago, McGregor talked about that fight extensively with IGN, even going so far as to say they actually had to slow the footage down because of how fast they were going.

Even if you somehow discount that, his relationship with Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker is nothing short of legendary. In short, aside from Alec Guinness who played the character in the original trilogy, McGregor is truly the one and only Obi-Wan.

When Does The Series Take Place And What’s It About?

Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place around a decade, maybe half of one, after the events of Revenge of the Sith which detailed Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader and the fall of the Jedi Order. At the time the series takes place, the Jedi are becoming even fewer and far between as they are being hunted tenaciously by Vader’s Inquisitors. What are the Inquisitors you ask? Think of them as force sensitives who have essentially been trained and/or tortured by Darth Vader himself to become the ultimate Jedi-hunters in the galaxy.

From what the trailer shows us, it looks like Obi-Wan has to find a way to stay off the Inquisitor’s radar as much as possible so as to not only protect himself but also protect the young Luke Skywalker who is still growing up on Tatooine. Everything about it screams absolutely bleak, which makes sense given the Jedi’s crushing defeat at the hands of Darth Sidious, or as he is more colloquially known, the Emperor. In short, before we can start looking to A New Hope, Obi-Wan has to find any kind of hope he can get to begin with. 

Sources of Contention?

As a long-time fan of the franchise, there is only one thing that gives me pause about this series. This isn’t even going to be about the Grand Inquisitor, whose appearance in the show is beginning to grow on me just a little despite initial reservations. This is going to be about the show’s biggest cameo yet, Darth Vader. Granted, it’s great to see Hayden Christensen back in the ring again. I also like that the actor went above and beyond to prepare for his return as Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker. Entertainment Weekly writes that the actor “binged the Star Wars animated shows [in order] to prepare for Obi-Wan Kenobi.” That’s dedication in the highest and the highest of kudos to Christensen’s devotion to the role.

What has me worried is what this particular appearance does to the franchise’s timeline. You see, in Star Wars: A New Hope Darth Vader says a very specific line and delivers it in an equally particular way. When sensing Obi-Wan aboard the Death Star, he says, “I felt something; a presence I’ve not felt since…” and then proceeds to search for the Jedi Master. Now at least as far as intention goes, when Vader says this, it is generally intended to refer to the last time he saw Obi-Wan, which is supposed to be when they had their fateful duel on the molten planet Mustafar. Technically, he could very well be referring to the encounter we will see in Obi-Wan Kenobi, but it feels like a bit of a stretch since that line feels like it refers to an event that transpired much earlier as opposed to maybe a few years back.

This may not seem like a very big deal, but it does when one considers the following: for one, Vader isn’t just making a quick cameo and then going back to his regularly scheduled program. Talk about the character’s appearance has been followed by promises of a rematch between him and Obi-Wan. As much of a Vader fan as I am and the awesome chemistry that we will no doubt see between these two characters…this just doesn’t work.

While it is not very hard to imagine Obi-Wan giving Darth Vader the slip, there needs to be an exceptionally well-thought-out reason why Vader doesn’t find him again until A New Hope, because I doubt he’d give up looking for his old master that easily (not to mention, Obi-Wan is hiding out on Vader’s home planet of all places). 

How they navigate this territory, at least in this fan’s humble opinion, will make or break the show as continuity is an essential aspect of a well-written story. Disney already has our hopes up by including John Williams’ epic score, “Duel of the Fates,” in the trailer. Hopefully, the highly anticipated TV series is up to snuff. Obi-Wan Kenobi will premiere exclusively on Disney+ on May 27th.