September 29, 2022
Obi-Wan Kenobi's early episodes lean on the best of classic Star Wars

The galaxy in Star Wars is vast, and with its streaming series, Disney seems intent on exploring every single corner of it. So far, that has seen mixed success. The Mandalorian is the best new Star Wars character in years, but it turns out I really don’t need to know much more about what Boba Fett gets up to. Now we have Obi-Wan Kenobi, starring Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), which aims to fill in the gap between the original two trilogies. And for the first two episodes, at least, it works — Obi-Wan is playing the hits, reminding me why I actually care about Star Wars to begin with.

Obi-Wan is set a decade after the events of Revenge of the Sith and starts with a very helpful recap that boils down the most important parts of the prequel trilogy to just a few minutes. You don’t have to worry about midi-chlorians or Watto. All that matters is the tumultuous and tragic relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin. After the recap, the show then shifts to the tragedy at the Jedi Temple so that you remember why Obi-Wan is hiding. (This scene might be tough to watch for some viewers following recent events in Texas.)

Ten years later, Ben, as he now likes to be known, is the hermit we were first introduced to in A New Hope. Every day, he clocks in for a shift at the desert meat factory before going home to sleep in a cave. Whenever he has some free time, he spies on Luke Skywalker and his family, looking for any sign of latent Force abilities so that he can start Luke’s training. Nobody seems to like poor Ben. A Jawa tells him how much he needs to bathe, while Luke’s uncle Owen (Joel Edgerton) is outright hostile. So Ben mostly keeps to himself — and with good reason. Early on in episode one, a trio of Jedi-hunting Inquisitors land on Tatooine in search of Jedi to, well, hunt. One of them, a brash young Inquisitor known as the Third Sister (Moses Ingram), seems almost single-mindedly focused on finding Obi-Wan in particular.

But the show isn’t just set on Tatooine. (Thankfully.) The other side of the story follows Luke’s twin sister Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair), now being raised on Alderaan as a princess. She has no interest in the royal life, though, and spends most of her time shirking responsibilities to play with a cute droid named Lola in the woods. Eventually, her propensity for running off gets her in trouble when a gang of outlaws (the leader of whom is played by Flea, the bass player for the Red Hot Chili Peppers) kidnaps her. This, it turns out, is all part of the Third Sister’s plot to lure Obi-Wan out of hiding by appealing to his inherent need to help people. And so it goes that Leia’s parents convince him to come out of Jedi retirement. He’s their only hope.

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