Of all the Disney-produced Star Wars properties scheduled for release, Obi-Wan Kenobi was perhaps the single entity that could have saved the franchise in the wake of the disastrous sequel trilogy. For a time, it seemed like The Mandalorian might have managed it, at least until the sluggish train wreck that was The Book Of Boba Fett saw release.
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The Obi-Wan show had potential in spades, with a direct link to the franchise’s classic chronology that lent it an air of authenticity and canon that Star Wars fans could cling to. And yet, from the very first episode, it became clear that a lack of writing talent and incompetent directing were going to doom the show into total irrelevancy.
Which brings us to the sixth and final episode of this plodding mini-series, wrapping up a story that went nowhere, and adding absolutely nothing to the Star Wars mythos. In fact, the show has done more damage than anything the sequel trilogy might have managed under the haplessness of J.J. Abrams, Rian Johnson and Kathleen Kennedy.
The story picks up immediately after the pointless events of episode 5, with Vader and the Grand Inquisitor leaving Reva for dead, and in hot pursuit of a rebel ship carrying Obi-Wan Kenobi. With no hope of outrunning an Imperial Star Destroyer, Kenobi decides to sacrifice himself by launching a shuttle, and heading for a nearby planetoid.
The objective is to draw out Darth Vader by counting on his obsessive need for revenge. Meanwhile, Reva somehow managed to make her way to Tatooine in record time, despite having been stabbed through the torso (for seemingly a second time) by Vader. Her resilience would be admirable, if it weren’t so absolutely ridiculous on its face.
The fifth episode revealed that Vader secretly knew of Reva’s intentions from day one, not to mention the fact that she was one of the original Jedi younglings. The so-called “Scourge of the Jedi” sees fit to leave her alive for reasons unknown, while the Grand Inquisitor mocked her foolish pursuit of vengeance.
Speaking of which, there’s still no explanation as to how the Grand Inquisitor survived being stabbed through the chest himself, by none other than Reva. He merely shows up fit as a fiddle, and you’re supposed to believe it.
Believe it, dammit!
Reva has her sights set on murdering Luke Skywalker after discovering his location, thanks in large part to the recklessness of Bail Organa, who, despite his own insistence that communications go silent, decides to get in contact with Kenobi and put both children in jeopardy.
Not once does the show attempt to give rhyme or reason as to why Reva does the things she does. In the case of Luke, there’s simply no reason for her to pursue him in the first place, other than for the sake of revenge. However, the very notion makes little sense, as Reva would have known that Anakin cut all ties with his former life when he became Dark Lord of the Sith.
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Meanwhile, Kenobi successfully lures Vader to a barren planet where he engages in round two with his former apprentice, this time much more confident. The two engage in a brutal duel, and it must be stated that this is the single-best scene of the entire series. It’s also perhaps the only good scene of the entire series, which says a lot.
Kenobi eventually bests the Chosen One for a second time, striking his helmet and cleaving it open. This would have been an iconic scene, were it not already depicted in the animated Star Wars: Rebels TV show years before. Once again, Obi-Wan’s showrunners capitalize poorly on what came before, while botching new material outright.
The question must be asked as to why Kenobi didn’t slay the Sith Lord, but decides to walk away for a second time. Surely it can’t be mercy, since Vader makes it abundantly clear that he has no regrets about the path he’s taken, and fully intends to destroy Kenobi no matter what.
Bringing down Vader would have robbed the Empire of one of its key assets, which is why the fight either should never have taken place, or it should have been interrupted by a third party. In so doing, it would have set the stage for their final battle depicted in Episode IV: A New Hope.
Instead, Vader vows revenge in a holographic conversation with his master Darth Sidious, once again played by Ian McDiarmid. It must be said that the man could play the evil Sith Lord in his sleep at this point, and this small cameo is a far better depiction of Sidious than the entirety of Rise of Skywalker.
Speaking of cameos, audiences finally get to see Obi-Wan reunited with his master Qui-Gon Jinn in the final moments of the series, after two decades of waiting. The entire exchange lasts about 30 seconds before the series comes to a close, which is indicative of how Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi keeps tossing perfectly good opportunities into the trash bin, for inexplicable reasons.
Qui-Gon should have showed up in the middle of the series when Obi-Wan doubted himself most. Their conversation should have been drawn out for an extended period of time as Jinn departed much-needed wisdom for his former apprentice to absorb. In so doing, an enlightened Obi-Wan would have gathered the clarity needed to face Vader on a more confident note.
But no, we can’t have any of that. It’s far more important that the boring characters scurry to another utterly forgettable planet, in preparation for yet another forgettable battle that nobody will care about five minutes from now. In the grand annals of Star Wars history, characters like Haja, Roken and Tala won’t be remembered fondly, if at all.
That’s what happens when bad writers attempt to craft cookie cutout characters in an effort to stitch a bad story together, and hold it tight with safety pins. By the time episode 6 finishes its run, it’s hard to remember those fallen characters at all, whether they sacrificed themselves with thermal detonators or not.
In essence, episode 6 is a retread of the iconic Star Wars: Rebels episode “Twilight of the Apprentice,” which was a damn sight better than anything depicted here. Robbed of any sense of imagination or originality, the showrunners and writers decided to rip off their own franchise’s material, and fan backlash is already in full swing.
As it should be, because this show has been a travesty since day one.
It ends on pure lunacy when Reva attempts to kill Luke Skywalker on Tatooine, before having a last-minute change of heart. We all knew this is the direction the story was going to go, because modern-day LucasFilm is incapable of stepping outside of its own comfort zone.
It’s up to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru to defend against Reva’s onslaught on the Lars homestead, but for what purpose? A New Hope established these two characters as having lived a simple and peaceful life, raising Luke as their own. Having Imperial Inquisitors show up at their doorstep feels like a bridge too far.
And of course, Beru ends up becoming the strong militant female warrior in this episode, while Owen follows along like a puppy, because that’s how Disney likes to roll nowadays. In so doing, Beru behaves nothing like her cinematic counterpart, yet we’re supposed to believe she’s ready to throw down while the grizzled and gruff Owen would hesitate.
The last-minute Luke plot arc feels embarrassing and awkward from the first moment. At least the theory is paper-thin-plausible when it comes to Leia, a character with an elevated intergalactic social rank. She should never have been involved in the storyline either, since it completely contradicts her character’s knowledge of Obi-Wan Kenobi as shown in A New Hope.
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A lot of shade has been thrown at Moses Ingram for her unbelievability in the role of Reva, but let’s face facts – the character should never have existed in the first place. Obi-Wan becomes a trojan horse for a new character who doesn’t make the least bit of sense, and has no actual future as the franchise crawls forward on its hands and knees.
That being said, Ingram deserves credit for finally showing some acting prowess at the end, when she breaks down into tears. She’s doubtlessly got the chops; she’s simply the wrong casting choice for this character, and that’s where it starts and stops. Reva is boring, uninteresting and bland, and neither skin color nor gender would change that fact.
There are rumors that Reva will be getting her own show in the near future, to which we say “Do it, LucasFilm. We dare you!”
The episode ends with Obi-Wan and Leia sharing a warm embrace, suggesting the two have forged a bond that will last a lifetime. Yet, when Kenobi sacrifices himself in A New Hope, she’s there comforting Luke Skywalker, as if she never knew the man to begin with. Some have attempted to use the “Ben” vs. “Obi-Wan” argument to skirt this issue, but it doesn’t pan out, seeing as how Leia recognizes both name references in A New Hope.
As of this writing, Obi-Wan Kenobi currently holds a lackluster 62% audience rating on RottenTomatoes, while the typical cabal of boot-kissing access media sites fawn over it with all the denial and dishonesty of anyone who remembers the Phantom Menace effect. This is a terrible show, top to bottom, and it should never have been green-lit.
All Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi has managed to do is irredeemably break canon at several crucial points, which means it cannot be taken seriously as a genuine Star Wars product. Like much of the Star Wars content produced after Disney bought the franchise, it’s nothing but absurd and desperate fan fiction run amok, to the detriment of everything that came before it.
One has to wonder what’s running through George Lucas’s head at this point. He started out as a renegade staunchly opposed to large corporate influence over his beloved creation, which is why he self-produced his own films to begin with. After selling the rights to Disney, it’s hard to believe he hasn’t sunk his face firmly into both palms and cried out in lamentation over what he’s done.
Recent Star Wars material has been akin to Darth Vader soaking in a bacta tank in full denial that he’s never going to fully heal. The franchise has been on life support, with only a faint glimmer of hope, sort of like a match threatening to blow out with the slightest breeze.
Thanks to the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, all hope is lost. Star Wars is officially dead, and there’s no turning back now. No matter how bad things were before, there were always avenues that could lead to redemption, but Obi-Wan did something different. It stabbed the core of the franchise straight through the heart, almost on purpose, and killed the patient.
No future Star Wars movie or TV show will be able to reverse the damage, which means longtime fans are now faced with a decision – view the original six Lucas-produced movies (and the former Expanded Universe) as official canon, while rejecting anything made by Disney, or embrace the suck, and let the enemy win.
As it stands, Obi-Wan Kenobi is the single-worst piece of Star Wars content Disney has produced to date, far worse than either The Last Jedi, or The Rise Of Skywalker. That doesn’t happen by accident. Rather, it takes commitment and determination.
There’s always some fleeting dream that Disney will one day give up the rights to Star Wars when their stock tanks into oblivion, at which point the new rights holders will exorcise all their material from canon. However, that’s a long shot, and it’s recommended that Star Wars fans simply cut their losses at this point, and move on. I have always been a long-term optimist, but I now believe that Star Wars has been dealt a mortal blow that it cannot recover from.
There’s a pivotal scene in episode 6 where Obi-Wan tells Leia a little bit about her mother and father, and the traits she inherited from both. It’s incredibly emotional, but for all the wrong reasons. Rather than serve as a heartfelt nod to the Star Wars material of a pre-Disney age, it’s instead a sorrowful reminder of just how far the franchise has fallen since George Lucas turned over the rights.
Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi didn’t just kill the franchise – it bludgeoned it to death with all the fury and hatred of a serial killer, while gaslighting fans into believing that it was paying them service. Don’t believe the lies. Instead, reject the hypocrisy, and hold Disney accountable for finally killing the most un-killable franchise in pop culture history.
Truly, hats off to you, Disney. You’ve managed the impossible.
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- A somewhat good Vader vs. Kenobi rematch
- A respectable Sidious cameo
- One bittersweet emotional scene between Leia and Kenobi
- Rips off everything that came before
- One wasted opportunity after another
- Concludes a series that went absolutely nowhere