Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, James Earl Jones, Vivien Lyra Blair, Moses Ingram, Rupert Friend, Indira Varma, Kumail Nanjiani, Joel Edgerton, and O’Shea Jackson Jr.
Disney's Star Wars has a habit of going in too many directions, and Obi-Wan Kenobi is no different. The side stories have varying levels of success, but we’re here for the Obi-Wan Kenobi/Darth Vader showdown. Thankfully, they deliver on that tenfold. Ewan McGregor steps back into Kenobi’s robes like time stood still, telling the understated, tragic story of his character, while Vader (voiced by a rejuvenated James Earl Jones) is even more brutal and menacing here than in Rogue One. The series provides some of the darkest moments in Star Wars history, and that finale? One of the best scenes of the Disney era.
This may not be the Obi-Wan Kenobi series some viewers were looking for, but Ewan McGregor excels at bringing back the iconic Jedi master. It manages to harness nostalgia for the prequels and the original trilogy, even if it’s not the best Star Wars series. But I must say, The Force was not strong with the writing team. The series is at its best when it focuses on Kenobi (McGregor) and Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen, James Earl Jones), but overall, it felt drawn out. It all comes together in satisfyingly in the end, but it would have worked better as a film.
Here’s the thing about Obi-Wan Kenobi: if you’re a diehard Star Wars fan whose objectivity is clouded by The Force and nostalgia, you’ll love this series (I say that without judgment. I get it, just ask Nic Cage). However, for the rest of us, this series is wholly unnecessary. You don’t gain a greater understanding of Obi-Wan and the story has absolutely zero stakes. On top of that, the acting is mediocre, and the dialogue is worse. And I’m sorry, but Young Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) is super annoying. Admittedly, there is some all-time great Star Wars imagery to be found, so there is that.
Barring silly contrivances (really, a branch?), Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the best pieces of Star Wars content since Rogue One. Ewan McGregor is at his best here, especially when alongside other beloved characters. Vivien Lyra Blair channels Carrie Fisher’s passionate fervor as young Leia, and Hayden Christensen delivers a redemptive performance, combining Vader’s savagery with Anakin’s impetuousness to confirm his GOAT villain status. The show flourishes in these interactions, whether during Leia’s poignant conversations or Vader’s intense action sequences, allowing McGregor to bring more depth to Obi-Wan. This is the Star Wars that every trilogy generation fell in love with.