Friday, June 3, 2022

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi Parts I - VI


Hello there!  It’s been awhile since I’ve been inspired to write anything in-depth with television, but there are few things as near and dear to my heart as Star Wars is.  Kenobi is the content that many have been waiting for since the Disney acquisition.  Ewan seemed game to do it and there was ripe territory to cover with his 19 years marooned on Tatooine watching over one Luke Skywalker.  The stars finally aligned and we have a 6 part Disney+ series to cover some of the things we’ve only imagined and then some.  Recaps are a dime a dozen on podcasts these days, so I’m just going to point out some of the discussion points that I’ve been tracking as I savor every minute of this show. Let’s jump in! 

Part I

We check in on what Obi has been doing for the past 10 years.  He’s been pretty much laying low and assuming the personality of Ben.  He’s working for his pay and food slicing up a giant sand whale or what not.  He’s torturing himself through dreams/visions of his struggles with Anakin/Vader.  He’s trying to reach out to Qui-Gon per his training assignment from Yoda.  He is keeping his distance (for the most part), but still watching over young Luke Skywalker.  Drama ensues and once again he is summoned for another hero’s journey. 

  • Opening on Order 66 seemed a little out of place and definitely bad timing with real world events.  Outside of all that, we immediately were shown that the production levels of this show are near movie quality.  There’s certainly differences, don’t get me wrong.  But bookending the show with the “long time ago” and the blue credits on space background shows that this should be held to a higher “EVENT” status.  We’re dealing with the Skywalker Saga directly here.  Filling in some gaps that weren’t necessarily required to fill in, but certainly helps enhance all characters involved.  
  • There are theories that this Order 66 scene specifically will come back to play later on in the show.  i.e. One of them is probably Reva - the inquisitor that isn’t as robotic and goon-like as the other inquisitors.  There’s a story to tell here and it’s unraveling over the episodes.  (BTW…the corner of “fandom” that is harassing this actress and intentionally review bombing rotten tomatoes are just embarrassing.  Nice to see Lucasfilm and Ewan stand up to the harassment instead of letting it simmer as had happened with past incidents.)   
  • Speaking of Inquisitors - So some of these we have met in other parts of canon.  There is a Grand Inquisitor in Star Wars: Rebels (awesome animated show taking place about 5 years after this up to the Original Trilogy) voiced by Jason Isaacs.  Now, Jason Isaacs plays an amazing villain in several films and TV shows.  Why would you cast Quinn from Homeland to play this one if they’re the same person?   And why inspire the internet fandom to complain about his look not being similar to the Rebels guy if they’re the same person?   Granted they might end up being the same person, but events in episode 2 would seem to make us think otherwise.  Unless a twist is coming.  The other brother dude (5th brother?) is in Rebels too.   Now these guys also have spinny lightsabers that in animation also had a helicopter effect to allow them to glide into locations.  I doubt we’ll be seeing that in live action!  It was hinted at that several of the inquisitors are former Jedi that have been tortured into working to hunt down the other Jedi.  They are Vader’s goons.  They are NOT Sith.  As we know, there can only be a Master and an Apprentice.  If Vader is an end game Boss and Emperor is an end of Franchise video game boss, these guys are like the bosses you fight in the first couple levels.  Nowhere near on the same spectrum.  Showing Vader’s power in part III should hopefully have been an indicator of that. 
  • The T-16 sky hopper toy - Not sure if everyone recalls that moment where Luke is cleaning up the droids in Star Wars proper (aka now known as Episode IV A New Hope) 19 year old Luke is also playing with toys.  He has a T-16 Sky Hopper that he’s flying around and making “wshhhh vrooom pew pew” sounds.  Okay so the audio didn’t happen, but he definitely flew it around in his wishes to to get off that sandy planet and see the galaxy.  It would appear we have a story to how Luke gets that ship.  It was Old Ben Kenobi who got the parts from an awesome Jawa and built it for him.  And he totally Santa’d that toy into existence at the Lars Farm.  He noticed Luke’s penchant for stealing moments away from farming or whatever to pretend he’s a fighter pilot going on adventures.  Obi-Wan clearly wants to encourage this motive in Luke.  But he also just wants to give a toy to a kid who sorely wants one.  I know we were pulled a switcheroo in this series with which kid Obi is spending most of his time with, but I hope before the end of Part 6 we do get a moment between Ben and Luke.  Hell, even Owen.  Surely, Owen comes around a little bit by part VI if Luke ends up with the toy.  
  • Speaking of Owen - how lucky were they that George cast Joel Edgerton back in Attack of the Clones?  The guy wasn’t much of a known actor back then “This is my girlfriend Beru, I guess we’re brothers.”   But the dude is now a bonafide working actor and he brought some gravitas to the role.  He even adopted the gruff voice of older Owen in A New Hope.  And of course, he has now been elevated to glorious meme status with his all time burn of Kenobi: “Like you trained his father?”.   Great stuff.   That said, I can’t tell if Owen knows the full story of his step-brother Anakin Skywalker.  He might have been just told the dude died.  How honest was Obi-Wan with what happened?  Did he tell them that he failed to train Anakin Skywalker to keep the dark side at bay.  That he turned and went on a murderous rampage leading to his “death” on a lava planet?  Oh and here’s his only child Luke?   Don’t worry, you can call him Skywalker instead of Lars since his whole family is dead.  No need to hide him from the Emperor!  Skywalker and Kenobi are like the Smiths and Johnsons of a galaxy far far away!  Alas, old Star Wars humor never gets too old! 
  • The whole Obi-wan refusing the call was tough to watch.  Refusing to help people in need.  But there are bigger things at stake so it just helped you feel for his status in life.  They showed the repetitiveness of his days.  You can imagine he’s been doing the same thing for 10 years.  And still failing to reach out to Qui Gon.  What I take from this is…LIAM NEESON will return to Star Wars!  Will we see him or just hear him?  Remains to be “seen”.  In the “canon” he starts off as just a voice.  (Attack of the Clones, Clone Wars Animated Series)  But I believe in the novelizations he eventually was able to appear to certain Jedi.  This is one of my pet peeves from the Prequels.  They made such a big deal out of the fact that Qui-Gon didn’t disappear when he died but that he studied the LIVING FORCE.  He was the one who figured out how to become said Force Ghosts.  There wasn’t enough time at the end of Revenge of the Sith to wrap up all this stuff.   How did Leia remember images/flashes of her mother if she was only with her for a few seconds before death?  Obi-Wan is just going to train to become a force ghost?  But how???  These are things that can be explored with more time on D+.  And it feels we’re getting a little more of both of these questions.
  • LEIA - speaking of Leia.  How great was it to see child Leia and not just that?  Alderaan?  Such a beautiful place, hopefully nothing bad happens to it.  Popular meme coming out of the first episode, I can’t claim it as my own.  As a refresher to those who don’t live, breathe, eat and sleep Star Wars, Alderaan is destroyed along with Leia’s adopted family by the Death Star in A New Hope.   But it’s great to see Leia having some of Padme in her.  She pulled a switcheroo with a decoy to fake out her mother.  Later in ep 2 Obi-Wan is reminded of Padme too.   It would be great to get a Natalie Portman cameo in this show even building on Leia’s remembrance of her somehow.  Great to see Jimmy Smits back as Bail Organa and imposing wisdom on Leia.  Leia reading her cousin shows how she becomes a strong leader/senator but also shows how she might be showing force abilities without even knowing it.  We know later on she feels Luke’s presence on Cloud City and that he survived Death Star II on Endor.  We know that she Mary poppins herself back to the command ship in Last Jedi and did train to become a jedi with Luke but then quit.  She helps Rey complete her training.  But in these years prior to the original trilogy, she had no idea she was force capable.  She was using it unknowingly.  That’s a pretty cool detail.   Also, did anyone notice 3PO hanging out in the background?  She’s not Leia’s droid, but I guess Antilles did work for Bail so I guess he travels in the same circles as Leia.   And LOLA droid is awesome too.  I’ll need one for Christmas please and thank you! 
  • Anyway, Leia runs off and gets captured by Flea.  It was today years old when I realized Flea was “needles” in Back to the Future II and III.  He actually did some decent acting.  But could he at least put a Star Wars costume on instead of showing up as a Chili Pepper?  
  • This seems to be turning back into a recap!  Old habits are hard to kill.  So Bail requests help from Obi-Wan via hologram then in person.  The inquisitors were getting too close to accidentally stumbling upon him and Luke so that might have provided a little more motivation.  He admits his assignment is Luke but inevitably can’t refuse Bail.   He had told that hunted Jedi to bury his lightsaber and assume a new life as he did.  But we see Obi unearthing 2 lightsabers.  He buried Obi-Wan Kenobi and his “brother” Anakin Skywalker.   An old life long gone, but now has to resurface.  Remember Anakin’s saber will eventually go to Luke.  We saw him grab it on Mustafar in the middle of his emotional speech to burning Anakin/Vader.  
  • Obi-Wan makes his way to the public transport off to go find and rescue Leia. 

Part II

This one I watched, but I’m struggling to remember all of the details.  I definitely will be rewatching all 6 after they’re released.  But the long and short of it.  Obi-Wan finds Leia and attempts to get her back to Alderaan, Reva is obsessed with finding Obi-Wan to impress Darth Vader.  Everything collides on the Hong Kong inspired planet Daiyu.  Key things to remember/discuss:
  • Obi-Wan is struggling with the Force.  He hasn’t completely shut it off like Luke in the sequel trilogy.  We know he’s trying to reach Qui-Gon.  But he’s suppressed it to live a normal life.  It’s crazy to watch Obi fight with fists and a blaster (so uncivilized!), but it makes sense in an era where holding a lightsaber is a death sentence.  
  • Kunil Nanjiani is playing himself as a fake Jedi scam artist.  This is 10 years after the fall of the republic.  Remember, by 19 years after Han Solo is a man who doesn’t even believe in the Force.  He calls it a bunch of simple tricks and nonsense.  If Han ever ran into someone like Kunil’s character it would probably enforce that point.  However, like Han this guy does have a heart and ends up helping Obi-Wan and Leia in the long run.  
  • It turns out the kidnapping was a ploy by Reva to lure out Kenobi knowing his connection to Bail Organa.  (I’ll go with it.  That’s a long shot of a ploy!)  
  • It is bizarre that the Inquisitors as a whole disagree with Reva’s tactics.  She’s very non subtle with hers while the others are trying to maintain some civility.  I was reminded through various podcasts that we should remember while this is the era of the Empire, it’s pre-Death Star.  The emperor is still trying to maintain the facade of a government.  The imperial senate isn’t disbanded until A New Hope in favor of fear of the Death Star.  Bail is still in the senate and grooming Leia to be a senator (and leader of a rebellion).  The Jedi are branded as enemies of the Republic/Empire, so the inquisitors are probably trying to maintain some sense of civility in their actions.  Reva is just angry and trying to impress.  We’ll have to get to this in a minute, but why would she know that Vader is Anakin Skywalker?  That can’t be public knowledge to everyone. 
  • The bonding between Ben and Leia is great, but it does pose questions about the original trilogy and her attachments to Obi-Wan.  The infamous hologram refers to General Kenobi who served her father in the Clone Wars.  It didn’t seem like a message to someone she knew.  Now Ben has only said his name is Ben, but she does find out he’s a Jedi and eventually finds out he knew her mother. Things are getting tricky! 
  • Long story short…there are some Breaking Bad references with the spice lab, Obi and Leia get disguises (Leia’s looking like her poncho from Return of the Jedi.  Reva catches wind and starts chasing them in a ridiculous taunting chase across the rooftops.  Leia falls and Obi blows his cover to save her with the force.  They still are able to escape with Kunil’s character’s help and just before getting off on a transport Reva reveals that Vader is alive and that it’s Anakin Skywalker.  That can’t be something everyone knows.  It goes back to the Order 66 scene.  Maybe she came in contact with Darth Vader and lived to tell the tale.  Maybe she’s mad at Obi-Wan for not rescuing her.  There’s definitely some kind of redemption tale going on here with Reva.  She probably won’t be fully bad at the end.    
  • Anyway - this absolutely shakes Obi-Wan to his core.  Everything he had lived with for the last 10 years.  He didn’t know his former apprentice was alive.  This makes sense that he wouldn’t know yet.   And this was one of the things I was excited to see with this series.  How does Obi-Wan learn that Vader survived and became “more machine than man”.  After part III we’re already there.  But there are other lines of dialogue we still have to deal with in the remaining 3 parts!  
  • Oh yeah…can’t forget Reva’s stabbing of the Grand Inquisitor.  Back to my comment about a similar looking Grand Inquisitor being alive in the Rebels show.  Is this the same guy?  If so how does he survive?  
Part III

We have 3 major settings in this part.  Mapuzo, Mustafar and Fortress Inquisitorious.  Mustafar and Vader’s castle where we get some chilling new sites.  Fortress Inquisitorious - The inquisitor’s hangout on the moon Nur. Obi-Wan and Leia are looking for their contact on Mapuzo to get Leia back to Alderaan.  The Inquisitors and Vader are hot on the trail. 
  • Seeing Darth Vader be pieced together after his Bacta Tank bath was rough but so awesome.  This dude definitely is more machine than man.  He makes contact with Reva and OMG it’s James Earl Jones but he sounds like he did in 1977!  This was nuts.  After perusing the credits it looks like JEJ is credited but so is the “respeecher” technology they used for Luke in Mandalorian.  If you haven’t watched these Disney Gallery episodes with the making of Mando and Book of Boba Fett, you’re in for a treat if you do.  The technology they are using is both amazing and super scary.  But I’m assuming we’ll get a making of for Obi-Wan and this will be a main feature.  
  • Darth promises Reva the Grand Inquisitor title or death.  Ouch!  If the other Grando is still alive then he’s just messing with her to get results.  He’s probably doing that either way.  5th Brother also wants the title and is at odds with Reva.  
  • Meanwhile Obi and Leia have a bonding trip on Mapuzo.  I loved all of this.  Apparently, there’s even a shot of Leia when her braid fell out and it looked like she had a Padawan tail.  
  • My favorite part of this whole scenario was the discussion Obi and Leia had about Padme.  And how he is not her father.  But the words he says are very reminiscent of Leia in Return of the Jedi when Luke asks what she remembers of her “real” mother.  She says mostly just images really.  And talks of how kind and sad she was.  Again, she was only with Padme as a baby.  But she is force sensitive.  Obi-Wan speaks to how he was taken from his family at a young age and just remembers “flashes” of her mother…and remembers having a brother (hmmmm foreshadowing??).  I think this discussion while maybe being a plot device was also meant to enforce Leia’s memories of her mother as well since that was another thing shoved into the post-climax of Revenge of the Sith.  Now, it would be even greater if somehow Obi-wan connects with Leia through the force and she gets these images of her mother.  Great opportunity for a Portman cameo!  
  • Of course, Obi-wan is very distraught this whole time learning that Anakin/Vader is alive.  But he has no idea what he looks like at this time.  He even has a hallucination of one Hayden Christiansen in Jedi Robes imagining what he’d look like now.  But no such luck Ben!  
  • Obi-Wan and Leia also have a run in with Muppet sounding Zach Braff as an alien, Freck.  I’m not gonna turn this into a political post, but this guy definitely seemed to fit a certain real world stereotype with his waiving of the Imperial Flag on his truck and supporting the Empire’s determination of order in the galaxy.  But read into it what you want! The tense meeting with the Storm Troopers was great and them talking their way out of it after Ben accidentally calls her Leia.  Great stuff.  Then the encounter at the gate with the laser fence slicing the trooper in half. Awesome stuff.   Loved all the jokes on Reddit about this trooper coming back 15 years later with a vendetta against Kenobi (a la Darth Maul’s animated arcs) 
  • We are introduced to the woman from Rome and Game of Thrones (Ellaria Sand? Well if Pedro is Mando, she should be a character too right!?)  Indira Varma plays Tala who is a turncoat imperial officer who is running an Underground Railroad of sorts for Jedi.  She is their contact on Mapuzo and she takes charge from here.  We learn of how many Jedi have escaped through this path including Quinlan Vos (A famous Jedi from expanded Universe lore and also was a background player in Phantom Menace and had a major arc on the Clone Wars show.  So apparently he may be still alive in this timeframe).   We have to assume Reva was once here too.  She seemed to be having some recollections when she was reading the engravings and reacting to Vader’s assault later on.  We shall see.   Apparently Tala was originally supposed to be a love interest of Kenobi.  No thanks, he already had Satine in The Clone Wars!  (FYI - she was duchess of Mandalore and Bo Karan’s sister (Katie Sackoff - she reprised the role on Mandalorian S2.  Satine and Obi-Wan were in love when he was a padawan, but he continued down the Jedi path.  He admitted he would’ve left the order for her.  She died in his arms at the hand of Maul hellbent on revenge with Kenobi.)   It would be great if they tied in Satine to Live Action, but it would be difficult given the storyline they’re following. 
  • I honestly forget how Reva tracked down Kenobi again.  Maybe it was through the imperial activity.  But she did, and 5th brother reported it to Vader.  And they all go to Mapuzo for a reunion.  Oh boy. Obi-Wan’s reaction to Vader arriving was fantastic.  Very reminiscent of his reaction to the destruction of Alderaan.  He was in the presence of his old friend and it was too much for him.  Then he watched Vader on his war path.  This is the scariest we’ve ever seen him.  He was moving slowly, and force killing anything in his way.  Including children.  (Some speculated that Reva reacted to the killing of the child.  If she was a Jedi Youngling that would make sense)  
  • But this is not the rematch we’ve been waiting for. Obi-Wan is still a shell of who he once was.  Vader seems almost disappointed at his inability to stand up to him.  “What have you become?” “I am what you made me”.  CHILLS!!!!  I mean is this actually happening?  Obi-Wan and Darth Vader facing off again???   I love that obi runs first instead of facing him.  But, it may have been a stall tactic to give Leia more time to flee.  In any case it ends with Vader attempting to burn him as he was burned.  OUCH!  But, Tala was there to rescue him.  Unfortunately, this was at the expense of Leia’s capture by Reva.  Uh oh.   

What does it all mean?  First of all, there are some lines we need to remember from A New Hope that are being recontextualized here.  “Vader: When we last met I was but the learner, now I am the master.  Kenobi: Only a master of Evil Darth.”   We always assumed this meant the fight on Mustafar that turned him into the machine Sith Monster.  But now we know they must face again  and Obi-Wan must be victorious yet leave Vader alive.  Obi-Wan has to become the wisened old wizard too by A New Hope.  He must become attuned enough to become a force ghost when Vader strikes him down.  So, we must assume that Qui Gon will come to Obi-Wan in his most desperate hour and this will somehow lead to his path to “HELLO THERE!” Obi-Wan Kenobi.   We need him to defeat Vader and return to Tatooine and get Luke that ship!  Will Reva play a part somehow in saving Vader or Kenobi?  Will she sacrifice herself to one of those ends?   Will we get Anakin flashbacks to see more actual Hayden than just in the Vader suit? Seems silly to have him back and not do some flashbacks.  I’d love a clone wars flashback with live action Anakin, Obi-Wan and Asohka.   Forgot we had the cameo of Temuera Morrison as a veteran Clone Trooper.  There’s a famous clone trooper named Rex from the Clone Wars too that would be great to see as well.  That’s all on my wish list.  But, I’ll be happy with wherever they go with this.  This has been a treat so far.  I can’t believe we’re already halfway through, but I’m still excited that we have 3 more hours to be with Kenobi!  This is the most successful Disney + show to date and Ewan said he’d do more.  We’ll have to see if they leave any wiggle room at the end of these 6, but I’m sure Disney would be interested in more.  We’ll see if there’s another story to tell! 

Anyway, it’s been awhile for me posting something like this.  Hope it holds up to standards.  I really wrote it for myself, but if anyone finds value today or 20 years from now (people are still reading those LOST recaps when streaming for the first time. Crazy!), then great!   Not sure how much I’ll do for the next 3 parts but I’ll try to post something.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and see you in the next post!

6/27 - I’ve decided to add the final 3 eps to the same past to keep it all in one place. Not sure I have much to say about each episode, but we’ll see how it goes! 

Part IV

So, if any episode felt like a filler episode it was this one.  Stuff happened, but it felt a bit repetitive.  We learned more of the start of the rebellion and what happened to the Jedi but the rescue mission was a bit “been there, done that”.  We also saw Obi-wan returning back to full form in his escape with Leia.  Here’s a few points worth mentioning. 
  • So we meet the people of The Path which is an Underground Railroad for Force Sensitive beings.  But it also seems to be the early start of the rebellion.  The guy in charge (I’m terrible here and forget his name) is Ice Cube’s son and I bet we’ll see him again in the Andor series coming in August.  I think the guy we really need to know though is Wade!  Here for a second and gone forever!  We’ll never forget you Wade! 
  • Obi-Wan is healed in the bacta tank (sorta) and then hellbent on going to rescue Leia.  Everyone thinks it’s a bad idea to break into the Fortress Inquisitorious.  All good though, Cal Kestus did it in a video game exactly like Obi is going to do it so we’re all good (Jedi Fallen Order - it’s canon but no one except people like me know this).   
  • Tala offers to go with Obi-Wan and goes undercover as her Imperial officer.  Some good moments here with her convincing security to let her through. 
  • Obi has some good moments in this episode hinting at the wise force using Kenobi he becomes by A New Hope.  Also hints of prequel Kenobi here too with him using his breathing apparatus to swim into the lower levels of the Fortress.  Loved the force tap he used on the Storm Troopers to throw them off the scent.  (Right out of his Death Star stealth moves)  He also discovers a tomb of force sensitives/Jedi encased in amber.  I’m assuming these Jedi were killed and preserved somehow.  Basically what this is, I believe, is Disney retconning the Emperor’s return in the sequel trilogy to show that he’d been planning this back-up plan since the beginning.  We know that Snoke was some clone creation, we’ve seen tanks of what look like clones in the Mandalorian.  We know the imperial remnant was obsessed with Grogu because of his “midichlorian count” (they called it an ‘m’ count in Mando).   Know we’re seeing force users encased in some kind of amber.  All those midichlorians that Palpatine can use “dark science” and steal their blood and “SOMEHOW” return. They never reference the tomb again in this series, so we have to assume it’s part of the larger canon being laid.  But it also provides Obi more motivation for the fight ahead of him.  He can’t just be hidden and defeated in the desert.  He needs to play an active role. 
  • Meanwhile Leia shows off a little of her smarts while dealing with Reva.  She doesn’t give in to the interrogations, but we see where other Jedi/Force users have been tortured and we can assume this is where some were convinced to become inquisitors themselves. Obi-wan saves her in the nick of time with some help from Tala who basically has to give herself up to get Reva to flee the scene.  
  • The escape was a good time with Obi having to keep the water from coming in and using some of his classic Lightsaber moves.  But the trench coat escape?  Come on!  Hilarious yes, but no one has a trench coat in Star Wars!  Where did it come from?  
  • We had a last minute assist from Wade and the other girl in modified speeders that could hover and apparently fit more than 2 people like in Empire (It’s been confirmed they’re not exactly the same speeder).  The rescue mission was a success but Reva was able to exact her force revenge on poor Wade.  The rebellion began that day for Ice Cube Jr. and his crew.  
  • The bond between Obi-wan and Leia grew as well with them holding hands on the ride back.  This is more of a relationship than we ever knew they had and we wonder if the original canon will hold up.  (Having seen all of it I can say they did a good enough job and it helps justify why Leia would want to name her child Ben too.  There was enough justification for it before but this strengthens it).
  • Vader got a little more screen time by the end of this blasting Reva for a poor job.  We find out that Reva planted a tracking device on them (it’s LOLA!) and he seems pleased with this.  He even uses that idea himself with the Falcon in A New Hope. 
Part V

The penultimate episode follows Kenobi and The Path crew on Jabiim and their ultimate escape from the Empire’s clutches.  It also shows Kenobi taking a more active role in protecting the future of the rebellion as opposed to staying hidden and watching over Luke in defeat.  
  • When Hayden Christiansen was cast in this show everyone hoped we’d get to see flashbacks to Anakin and a chance to flush out his character a little more with a tad better writing.  While most hoped it would be “Clone Wars / Jedi” Anakin with a shot at seeing Asohka too, I don’t think many predicted it would be “Attack of the Clones / Padawan” Anakin.  I mean this little Saber spar duel could have taken place directly before or parallel to events of Attack of the Clones.  It seems to precede the conversation Anakin and Padme have in that film where he says “in most ways. In a lot of ways, I’m really ahead of him” refereeing to Obi-Wan.  There’s another line “It’s all Obi-Wan’s fault, he’s holding me back!”  It all plays into this.  But while it flushes out his Anakin character it also alludes to present day Vader’s strategies and how Obi-Wan knows he can outsmart him. It was very LOST-ish where the flashbacks informed the present day story.  So obviously, I dug it!  
  • Time was short and The Path needed to escape the planet.  Obi-Wan gave a spin on his “you can’t win but there are alternatives to fighting” speech that he gave in A New Hope.  He suggested fleeing, but of course Darkside LOLA trapped them in as the Empire approached.  No fear, this gave Leia a perfect plot for the episode.  They needed someone short to go fix the door controls.  She eventually figures out that LOLA has a restraining bolt attached and gets it off resolving that whole story line.  
  • Obi-Wan offers to delay the troops by facing Reva - through a door.  This is where we get her much needed and easily predicted backstory.  She was the girl at the Jedi Temple in the beginning of the series.  From what we saw in the flashbacks it seems she was even stabbed by Anakin/Vader.  She’s done some pretty bad things, but it was all in service of getting close to Vader to kill him.  She asked where Obi-Wan was, why she didn’t save them at the temple.  I mean, I get it.  It’s meant to refer to Obi and Yoda going into hiding in the effort to conceal Luke and Leia.  But, at the time the Jedi Temple was being assaulted Kenobi was on Utapau riding a dragon had just defeated General Grievous and then his troops turned on him.  The first thing he did was find Yoda and come back to the temple to add a message to stay as far away from Coruscant as possible.  Anyway, Obi-Wan just apologized to Reva instead.  He asks for her help, but she initially declines and we get a first fight with the storm troopers and Reva.  
  • Some great Obi-Wan lightsabering vs. storm troopers here.  Unfortunately we see the end of Tala and her droid in which she sacrifices herself for the rebellion.  We thought we might see her in Andor, but it was not meant to be.  
  • They are cornered and the gate is still closed so the ships can’t get out. Kenobi gives up his weapons and his Bail Organa communicator.  (Oops we need a sidebar on that.  Come on Bail why on earth would you, Obi and Yoda go to the lengths to hide those children then in your most despearate hour send a message that isn’t even in code.  “We fear for the worst.  I will go to Tatooine and help Owen with the Boy”. WHAAAT!?!?!)
  • He surrenders to Reva and troops, but he tells Reva he’s bringing Vader to her to kill.  Then for some reason he’s taken by 2 storm troopers behind the doors and he’s able to take them down and run back to The Path crew.  Vader is on his way to Obi-Wan.  Everyone races for the ship as the gate is open.  Haja has Obi’s stuff and drops the communicator.  Vader is approaching and a ship takes off.  Vader pulls the ship from the sky back to the ground and rips it open.  We’ve been waiting to see force powers like this ever since The Force Unleashed video game.  People were mad at Last Jedi because Luke didn’t showcase awesome powers like this.  But what they won’t admit is this is very un-Jedi like and what we got from Luke in the end is the ultimate Jedi move (Force Illusion/Self-Sacrifice).  
  • Anyway, turns out Vader was fooled again just like he was in his sparring flashback.  There was a 2nd ship that got away. The first was a decoy!  Reva came to finish the job on Vader and what proceeded was an awesome show of Vader’s strength.  He didn’t even think Reva deserved his lightsaber to be unsheathed.  So he just kept her at bay with the Force until he stole her Inquisitor saber and separated it into 2 blades showing a very Asohka-like pose.  He stabbed Reva in the gut similar to how she was stabbed in the Jedi Temple (We assume).  A stab to the gut used to mean death (AKA Qui Gon Jin), but there wasn’t enough explanation here for how she survives OR how the Grand Inquisitor survived too!  He came rolling in and Vader explained how he knew what Reva was up to the whole time.  She was left for dead until she found the Organa communicator and got enough information that would lead her to Tatooine to one Luke Skywalker sleeping in his bed. Obi-Wan got a “bad feeling about this” but then eventually shrugged it off.

Part VI

There will be many debates on whether this should’ve been a movie vs. a TV show, how the lack of success of Solo and the Fan Outcry after Last Jedi changed the trajectory of Disney owned Star Wars.  But, I’m pretty happy with what we got with Obi-Wan Kenobi.  We definitely got some more character introspection with both Obi-Wan and Anakin/Darth Vader that there would be no room for in a movie.  Sure, the effects took a TV Budget Cut.  It seemed like they didn’t even always come on par with the Mandalorian.  But, for the most part, it still felt like big budget Star Wars so I’m good with it!  Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.  We have a final conflict to get to here! 

The final episode focused mainly on Obi-Wan’s final conflict with Vader (before A New Hope of course), Reva’s assault on the Lars homestead and then closing up loose ends introduced by the show (or enriching original canon if you choose to see it that way!).  

  • Obi/Leia/Roken and crew are getting chased by a Star Destroyer and the hyper drive is shot.  It doesn’t take long for Obi-Wan to realize that they aren’t going to make it.  He know she can lure Vader to him and let the Rebellion live on for another day.  He puts Haja (sp I’m not looking it up again) in charge of getting Leia home and he agrees to it showing his character’s growth through his 3 brief appearances in the show.  He says his goodbye’s to Leia but not before admitting he’s afraid and needing a LOLA in his life to calm his fears.  And then he sets off.  Vader, of course, takes the bait even though the Grand Inquisitor wisely (or unwisely - it’s Vader) challenges his line of thinking.  
  • They both come to this random moon alone and face off with some good dialogue interspersed.  “Have you come to destroy me Obi-Wan?”  In a repeat line and pose from Revenge of the Sith “I will do what I must”.  Instead of Vader saying “you will try” he now says “then you will die!”  Now, we know Obi-Wan must win this conflict as we’re retconning canon here.  Vader says in A New Hope “When I left you I was the learner, now I am the master” or something like that.  We always assumed it meant Mustafar.  The line can be interpreted different ways and doesn’t necessarily have to meant their last encounter.  But Disney was very careful.  
  • The fight was awesome.  If anything, it was the music that suffered.  John Williams did create the Obi Theme but the show was scored by another. And they didn’t use classic Star Wars music for the fight.  But it was still good.  Vader does appear to win at one point digging Obi into a pit.  You know they had to debate if Vader would say “who has the high ground now OBI….WAN?!?!?!”    But they resisted with all their might and went for it being implicit.   
  • Cut to Obi having flashes of who he’s fighting for and seeing Leia and Luke and his connections to both.  He blasts out of the rocks and levels up into BEAST MODE Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi!   We see hints of Rey with him using the force to pummel Vader with rocks.  And then he just goes to town on Vader.  He slashes his back, destroys his respirator and then gets a piece of the helmet off.  
  • The Helmet Thing - this is a call back to Star Wars: Rebels season 2 finale “Twilight of the Apprentice”.  Asohka comes face to face with Vader and discovers that it’s her master Anakin Skywalker.  She gets the left side of his helmet off and actually hears Anakin’s voice calling out to her.  But it’s just for a moment then Vader is back.  Both Asohka and Obi-Wan have to come face to face with Anakin and realize he’s gone.  (I highly recommend watching Rebels but if you’re only going to watch one episode, watch that one.  It’s Top Tier Star Wars.  One of the best Star Wars contents in any form.  There are parallels to draw here to both Asohka and Obi being able to remove parts of the helmet and only Luke removes the entire helmet.  It is after Vader is already redeemed of course, but it is still pretty poetic.  
  • Great lines here that support canon and the continuous retconning of canon all the way back to Empire Strikes Back.  Ben originally tells Luke Vader killed his father.  It wasn’t until later George decided Vader would be Luke’s father.  So we have Anakin and Vader both speaking to Obi-Wan here and basically letting him off the hook.  Vader wants credit for killing Anakin.  Obi-Wan then says a line similar to what Luke says in Return of the Jedi.  “Then my friend (father) is truly dead.”  This goes on to support Ghost Ben telling Luke what he told him was true from a certain point of view.  It’s what Ben has to believe to move on.  Anakin and Vader are 2 different people all together.  His friend was murdered.  He didn’t cause the downfall of Anakin Skywalker.   
  • Now, I guess we have to go with the whole Jedi can’t kill a defenseless person.  It’s not the Jedi Way. Mace was going to do it to Palpatine.  Obi should’ve done it here.  But he can’t kill his friend no matter what form he’s in. So he leaves again because “original trilogy” has to happen. 
  • To finish the Vader story he returns to Mustafar hell-bent on finding Kenobi but we get an Emperor cameo.  He’s concerned that Vader’s feelings aren’t clear on this matter.  Vader affirms he only serves his master and then we get the Imperial March theme signifying that this is the moment that Darth Vader truly becomes Darth Vader and erases any fragments of Anakin Skywalker until Luke feels the conflict in Return of the Jedi.  Of course, even Vader suggests turning Luke in Empire and asks Luke to help him overthrow the emperor.  So, there was conflict then too.  But, that’s what the show is going for here. 
  • Reva - this was a rough storyline.  Great to see some action at the Lars homestead but her motives are absolutely unclear.  Did she know it’s an offspring of Anakin that she wanted to kill as revenge for the Jedi Temple killings?  I thought for sure she was going to find out what Obi-Wan was doing there and then sacrifice herself to help him.  Finally understanding the larger purpose.  I guess something similar happened, but I was more worried about Luke seeing a lightsaber before he even knew what one was.  They came close 2 times but it didn’t happen.  Now, we must remember back in the first episode of this show Reva and Owen did meet in that marketplace.  So she knew where to start lookin for him.  And hey, who know Beru was like AWESOME?  She wanted to defend their family and she slighted Owen for shunning Ben away.  Long Story short - Luke is told the Tusken Raiders (Sand people) are coming and they need to hide and defend themselves.  Owen and Beru both get some great moments.  Luke flees and Reva chases but can’t bring herself to kill him.  Ben does some “FAST TRAVEL” video game stuff and is there in minutes from wherever he was and absolves Reva to whatever spinoff show awaits her.  
  • The Wrap-Up segment - We return to Alderaan and Ben and Leia have an emotional farewell.  Leia has come to terms with her place in the galaxy and has some little gifts from Obi-Wan as part of her wardrobe.  Ben returns LOLA to Leia and it’s hilarious that it rests in her new holster.  Obi-Wan gives Leia some lasting statements about both her parents.  Obi-Wan is able to speak of Anakin as if he’s a separate entity than Darth Vader.  Most importantly, he tells Bail to call on him if he’s ever needed and tells Leia to be very careful if she ever needs him.  No one can know they know each other.  (Thus, allowing her famous message in A New Hope to stand the test of retconning)  
  • Ben returns to Tatooine and packs up his cave.  We know he lives in a hut on a cliff in the original film.  But first he goes to the Lars Homestead with the T-16 Skyhopper.  He tells Owen to let Luke be a boy and he’s good raising him without much oversight from Ben.   Owen softens up a little and in an emotional moment allows Ben to meet Luke.  We know Luke knows Ben in original Star Wars for the hilarious line.  “Obi-Wan Kenobi, I wonder if she means OLD BEN Kenobi.  Old Ben lives out beyond the Dune Sea.”  I mean this coming from a kid whose name is still Skywalker while trying to live a secret life.  Anyway, memers around the world breathed a sigh of relief when Obi-Wan said his famous line for the 3rd time.  First to R2-D2 in A New Hope, 2nd (and most Memed) to General Grievous and now to the savior of the Jedi Order: Luke Skywalker.  “HELLO THERE!!!!”   Perfect placement of the line.   Luke gets his ship that he’ll be playing with in A New Hope and met his future mentor.   
  • I forgot also to mention that Leia’s retconned relationship with Ben Kenobi allows for her naming of her child, Ben to make an even more emotional impact. 
  • The final scene is one we knew had to be coming but they waited until the final moment of the show.  Qui Gon Jin as a Force Ghost appears!  The first man to return from the netherworld of the force and teach Yoda and Obi-Wan how to do it as well.  Yoda goes on this journey in the Clone Wars animated series.  Now Obi-Wan will start his training with Qui Gon.  Obi-Wan is on his way to becoming the wised old Jedi that sacrifices himself for Luke and Leia in A New Hope.  But is he there yet? 

Will there be a 2nd season of Obi-Wan?  This was a pretty wrapped up series and intended to be a limited series.  But now the writer of the movies that got scrapped confirmed that this was originally designed as a Trilogy of films and that the series we just got only covers the first film.  The 2nd film was to be around how Obi-Wan becomes that self-sacrificing Jedi.  He didn’t delve into the 3rd.  We know the whole crew enjoyed making this series and that Kathleen Kennedy said they would only do more if they had a good idea.  It seems there is a runway here that they haven’t been speaking of.   Considering this is the highest rated Disney+ show yet it’s a safe bet we’re going to get more Obi-Wan in some form.   I also would bet that Ewan might show up in flashback form in the Asohka series (as Hayden is also rumored to star in it as well).  

When all is said and done, I’m glad that we have the Obi-Wan series in our lives.  I will rewatch it, maybe not as often as the films but they did a solid job.  Bringing Vader back to his 1977 glory was a feat that I can’t wait to watch the making of.  (Surely we’ll get a new episode of Disney Gallery soon on D+).  Ewan was awesome returning to the Kenobi role.  Even seeing Owens and Beru again aging into their A New Hope counterparts.  All of it worked.  Reva - she needed some work but her story mostly worked in the end.  It was just the execution as it always is with any show.  

Anyway, that’s all I have. I mainly wrote this for myself, but am excited to talk to anyone that wants to in the comments.  Hope you enjoyed my semi-return from blogging retirement as I go back into hibernation. I’ll see you next time I’m inspired! 


MJ said...

Wow. Waiting for more to drop

Mike V. said...

3 to go! I’m already annoyed. Have kids sports conflicts Wednesday. I’m still going to want to watch it when we get home even if it’s 10pm! Lol

Mike V. said...

Part IV added. I’ll write up V and VI when I get the chance!

Mike V. said...

Part V added! I’ll get to the finale as soon as I can.

Mike V. said...

Part VI up and I’m spent lol

Mj said...

Seen 1,2 and 3 now. As expected Owen wants Ben to stay away. I don't have any issues with that Jedi hunter chick. Just saw the one with Martel's lover fr GofT in it.

Mike V. said...

Joel Edgerton really did a great job channeling Owen. Just luck of casting on George’s part 20 years ago. Lol yeah Tala is great. The actress was in Rome too before thrones. Reva is fine. She has some good moments and maybe some baffling tones too. We’ll talk more when you’re finished!

MJ said...

Finished Friday or Saturday. We enjoyed it. Loved Leia coming out in her full Leia ensemble lol. I really had no issues with Reva (didn't use name cause I read MIGHT be Reva from other shows). Knew Hayden Christensen was in it but was a surprise for my husband.

Mike V. said...

Hayden was in the Vader suit for most of the show. Maybe not the final duel until his mask came off. But he did some great work. While Vader’s voice was James Earl Jones it was 1977 James Earl Jones. The credits show Respeecher technology was used. So some are speculating it was Hayden’s acting and converting it to James’s voice. There will for sure be a disney gallery episode about the making of Obi-Wan. Looking forward to it!

Reva was fine - but there are definitely some questions on her motivation in part 6. You can assume that the name Owen drew her back to the village where she met Owen. You can assume that the person that gave him up also told him he has a nephew named Luke Skywalker…then you can assume that Reva was going to get revenge for Anakin killing kids in the temple. But these are all assumptions. Why couldn’t they put something like that in the show? Instead we just see her hellbent on revenge on a child that she has no idea who it is. We can only assume.

News has come out now from the original writer who was working on a film trilogy for Obi-Wan (before Solo flopped and before Iger needed content to populate Disney +). He said that the story of the first movie was pretty much covered in these 6 parts. He knew what he wanted to do for the 2nd movie. He wanted to focus on Obi-WAN’s readiness to sacrifice himself for Luke and Leia. You see that he sees Luke and Leia are together on the Death Star…and then he just flips a switch and goes “yep I’m going to die now”. He wanted to dive into what made him prepared for that. He didn’t give scoop on what movie 3 would’ve been. But I’d say with 90% certainty based on the ratings success of Obi…we’re getting a season 2. We’ll see.

Only reservation I have is that the films would’ve looked better. You can tell there were budget cuts in this show to get 6 hours out of it. And also..probably to pay Ewan to be in the show. He ain’t cheap! But the performances were great. And that really matters in the end.

Loved seeing Leia come into her own in this show and them covering up the fact that she “acts” like she doesn’t know him in the infamous “help me obi-wan kenobi. You’re my only hope” message. Loved Obi-WAN’s description of Leia’s parents and how he’s acknowledged that Vader is NOT truly Anakin Skywalker. He has separated them as 2 different people so that George’s original retcon works even better lol.

That’s the beauty of Star Wars…it continuously changes as more content is added. Prequels, sequels, it all somehow adds to the next content you see and the content you saw 45 years ago. Craziness!