A moment ago at the start of the first episode of Obi Wan KenobiThe two-part premiere of Who, while a shrewd observation of how Jedi function as characters, seems explicitly designed to explain why it all happens like this: Reva, the Sith inquisitor known as the Third Sister (Moses Ingram), notes that “the Jedi code is like an itch”. Jedi can’t resist helping someone in trouble, so if you want to flush out a hidden Jedi, just start hurting people and you’ll end up with a blue or green lightsaber in your face.
Reva’s trick works great on Nari, a terrible Jedi who somehow survived an entire decade of pursuit by the Empire, even though her version of “hiding” is more like “just being a Jedi and hoping.” let no one notice.” See, Obi Wan Kenobi— if Disney+’s recap of the prequels and its prologue scene, which we’ll get to later, didn’t warn you — takes place in the increasingly crowded window between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and the original star warswith the Emperor’s Order 66 turning the Jedi into criminals and his Sith Inquisitors (introduced in Star Wars: Rebels) hunting down the few that remain.
Obi-Wan himself doesn’t show up for a while in the first episode, and when he does, he seemingly serves as a counterpoint to Reva’s argument about the Jedi. He spends his days working with a crew on Tatooine that harvests a large dead monster, cuts its pieces into meat, and then receives its daily salary from a paying robot. When one of Obi-Wan’s co-workers complains about not getting as much as he’s due, another guy yells at him. Obi-Wan watches this happen, rather than standing up against the (admittedly petty) tyranny.
At night, he returns home to his cave and occasionally sneaks out into the desert to spy on baby Luke Skywalker (sent to live with his aunt and uncle in their humidity farm at the end of Episode III), and that’s it for Obi-Wan…until Nari shows up and demands it, swinging her lightsaber to prove he’s a Jedi and ignoring Obi-Wan’s pleas to shut up and shut up. accept that the Empire has won. “The days of the Jedi are over,” he said. But, as Reva said, he’ll have to scratch that itch eventually.
Which brings us to the surprising main plot of these first two episodes: young Leia Organa, played by Vivien Lyra Blair, embarks on pranks on her adopted planet of Alderaan. She flees a fancy party thrown by her parents (including a welcome return from Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa) and is captured by a criminal jerk named Vect, playfully played by Flea. Bail Organa asks Obi-Wan for help, as he is the only one who knows there is more to Leia than just being the adopted daughter of a famous politician. Obi-Wan initially refuses, but after seeing Nari dead and hanged in the middle of town, he relents and agrees to break his oath to keep an eye on Luke so he can go save Leia.
This is where the show runs into a bunch of star wars cannon problems he creates for himself simply out of a desire to give something to Obi-Wan do beyond sitting in a desert to the events of the original film. Leia’s “help me Obi-Wan Kenobi” message from Leia that she gives to R2-D2 in the film seems to imply that she and Obi-Wan don’t know each other, but she does eventually meet Obi-Wan in part two. from the premiere and she hears him called Obi-Wan, despite her insistence that he be called “Ben”.
It’s too early to tell if this is a problem as this is only the premiere and there are still a lot of episodes left, but as star wars nerd who questions the need for some of these big, important spin-off stories, I can’t help but notice.
The good news is that the second episode is much more interesting and exciting than the first, with Obi-Wan using the Game Boy Advance he stashed in his secret Jedi box to track Leia to Los Angeles from blade runneror at least the star wars version of it. Dressing like a Jedi and carrying his lightsaber on his hip, Obi-Wan has adopted Nari’s wildly unsuccessful version of “hiding”, and a child promptly invites him to meet an oddly helpful Jedi named Haja Estree (Kumail Nanjiani, clearly having fun).
Haja helps the Force-sensitive kids get out of town, and though he lies about being a Jedi, his heart is still pretty clearly in the right place. He guides Obi-Wan to Flea’s lair, and after sabotaging some sort of drug lab, Obi-Wan fights with henchmen who cleverly show that he can no longer defend himself effortlessly in a fight – he’s been in a cave for a decade, after all, seeding some continuity for the fact that he’s going to turn into Alec Guinness in a few years.
When talking about Obi-Wan’s age, little Leia repeatedly makes reference to how old he is, which is definitely not the case, but it seems like a little nod to the audience to dispel the angst. inconsistency of Ewan McGregor’s appearance compared to Guinness. Also: Little Leia is a lot of fun. Extremely precocious and cute, like a star wars Anya’s version of Spy X Familyand I love that his precociousness becomes a problem for Obi-Wan when she immediately realizes he’s a Jedi and the bad guys are chasing her to get to him.
That being said, I would also note that the complexity of this evil plot, with Reva kidnapping Bail’s daughter Organa simply because she knows Obi-Wan met Bail during the Clone Wars and wants to flush out Obi- Wan, is nonsense. She has no way of knowing that Bail won’t send his army, as Leia assumes he will. It’s just very convenient for Reva that Bail to have to keep the abduction silent and therefore cannot ask anyone other than Obi-Wan for help, although she would have had no reason to assume that he would want to remain silent… no matter who the father is of Leia, she is the adopted daughter of a famous senator! It can be a big deal if she gets kidnapped, and no one is going to think “wait, why does this guy care so much about his daughter getting kidnapped?”
Obi-Wan eventually earns Leia’s trust by using his powers to stop her from falling, and with the help of Haja (he’s a nice guy!), they find a way to escape. Before that, however, Obi-Wan tells Leia that she reminds him of someone he knew, a “fearless and stubborn” woman, making this perhaps the first time. already this star wars acknowledged the existence of Padme Amidala since his death. It’s nice to see that not everyone in the Skywalker family has to define themselves by their relationship (or lack thereof) with Darth Vader.
And hey, the episode ends with Obi-Wan learning from Reva that Vader is indeed still alive, and we get a hard cut to a wrinkled and roasted anakin floating in a tub with a breathing mask. Of course…it will really break the canon if Obi-Wan and Vader meet anytime before A new hopebut we will see how Obi Wan Kenobi handle it.
- Reva has obviously been one of those padawans all along, right? Why show it any other way? And if it’s so obvious, why not just make it explicit?
- About “why show that”…um, it probably wouldn’t have hurt Disney to throw a disclaimer or something in front of this episode just to let everyone know that the first thing you’ll see is what’s basically cops shoot kids. Definitely not Disney defaultbut it still hits hard after this week.
- The meaningless sci-fi babble in each Alderaan scene was very different star wars volume. Yes, there are things about “blow up womp rats” and “banthaa poodoo” in the movies, but every line in those scenes was “it’s like raising a glor-ag” or “you’ll get sweetmallows”. What’s wrong with Han Solo saying “I’ll see you in hell” and all that?
- It’s worth saying that the basic plot here – a Jedi in hiding after Order 66, working a menial job, forced to expose himself under threat from Imperial inquisitors – is very much like Jedi: Fallen Order. This game also spent time humanizing (so to speak) a Sith Inquisitor, specifically the second sister, with Reva here being the third sister.
- Good morning! I won’t be your regular Obi Wan Kenobi to recap. I’m just jumping in for this week. If you want to know my star wars cred to determine whether my opinions are valid or not, my ranking is: 1. The Last Jedi2. All others including other shows, 3. The Rise of Skywalker. Oh, look at the clock! I leave you!