‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ did the impossible: he made all Star Wars fans happy

Just before Obi Wan Kenobi released the disney more in may, i wrote about the show’s imminent release.

I believed that, for one reason or another, Obi-Wan Kenobi felt like a last hope for Star Wars under Disney. After a incohesive sequel trilogysome unpredictable spin-offs and a handful of lackluster TV shows, I was left with no enthusiasm for Star Wars.

Obi-Wan Kenobi felt like a last resort for my own Star Wars fandom.

Even though I disliked almost all of Disney’s Star Wars output, I had a feeling that Obi-Wan Kenobi had a decent shot at being “good.” The stakes in a show centered around such a key character, combined with the potential the show had to bridge the gap between the prequels and the originals, set the stage for a new kind of Star Wars nostalgia. The children who grew up with the prequels are now adults. Don’t they deserve the kind of fan service that Disney has provided for the last decade?

Moses Ingram as Obi-Wan

Moses Ingram created one of the most memorable new characters in recent Star Wars history.

Disney

I thought so. But he also believed that the series had the potential to occupy a new middle ground. One that appealed not only to newer Star Wars fans, but everybody fans. And you know what? For the most part, that’s exactly how it played out.

Obi-Wan Kenobi was… unbelievable?

Sure, the actress who played Leia seemed too young to play a 10-year-old girl. Sure, she was part of one of the funniest chase scenes in television history.

Y Of course (this is my last insurance, I promise), the stakes were lowered knowing that Leia, Luke, and Obi-Wan would survive the show’s encounters.

But despite all those certainties, against all odds, Obi-Wan Kenobi managed to be the best TV show Disney has produced since acquiring Star Wars.

Perhaps most impressively, it accomplished the impossible: it made (almost) every Star Wars fan happy.

Hello!

Most fans tend to have toxic elements, but Star Wars fans are among the most difficult to please.

I suspect it’s because Star Wars is so vast, so ubiquitously intertwined with people’s personal histories, that it’s impossible to reconcile them. They all have their Star Wars imprint, their own idea of ​​what it should represent. I loved The Last Jedi because it showed me that Star Wars could reinvent itself, that Star Wars could make interesting decisions, operate in shades of gray. Others hated The Last Jedi because it felt like a betrayal of the characters they grew up with.

Anakin Skywalker smiles at Obi Wan Kenobi

Anakin Skywalker makes a few appearances on the show.

lucasfilm

Perhaps the best compliment I could pay Obi-Wan Kenobi is that most Star Wars fans, outside of the racists who came after Moses Ingram – Enjoy it. Almost across the board.

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan has a huge role to play in this. His performance, widely considered a highlight in the prequels, is perfect in the show. McGregor has a charisma and vulnerability that elevate Star Wars, even at its worst. You believe Obi-Wan when he has a crisis of confidence. You feel connected to his struggles and encouraged when he overcomes his own doubts and rises to the occasion.

But I think Obi-Wan is successful mainly because he seamlessly connects two different Star Wars fan bases. He takes the best of the prequels, the aesthetic of him, McGregor, and combines it with the most timeless part of the original trilogy: Vader as an irredeemable, overwhelming villain to be feared at all costs.

With those two elements in place, Obi-Wan Kenobi, despite his faults, simply plays. The cleverly choreographed lightsaber duels between the two were spot on.

Darth Vader, his helmet broken and revealing Anakin Skywalker's burned face beneath, raises his red lightsaber at Obi-Wan Kenobi.

You may want to fix that Ani.

lucasfilm

But the portrayal of Darth Vader is perhaps the show’s greatest strength. In the middle parts of the show, he goes on a rampage as an ultra-violent slasher villain, and it’s incredibly exciting. I don’t think Vader has ever felt so terrifying. Still, his insecurities feel raw and by the end, the damaged mask of him, the broken body of him, you get a real sense of what he’s fighting and how far he’s gone.

Disney’s need to endlessly plug the gaps in Star Wars’ increasingly rigid metanarrative has always felt strange. A universe that once felt impressive and gigantic has become as small as a snowball. But Obi-Wan Kenobi felt like a story worth telling, a story that created a connective tissue that all Star Wars fans could resonate with. A story that everyone, with their own unique ideas about what Star Wars should be – could be left behind.

That, in itself, feels like a huge accomplishment.

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