‘Obi Wan Kenobi’ is a step in the right direction

Disney has finally produced some worthwhile ‘Star Wars’ content

Iconic characters are at the heart of the show.
Photo: 

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars was unencumbered by Disney’s incessant need to pump out as much content as humanly possible. 

Disney bought the rights to Star Wars when it acquired Lucasfilm for four billion dollars back in 2012. Now, in 2022, after their much-maligned ‘sequel’ trilogy, several mediocre spin-offs, and two TV shows, Disney has finally delivered quality content with Obi Wan Kenobi.

Ewan McGregor has reprised his role as the titular hero he first played in the infamous prequel trilogy from the early 2000s. No matter how you feel about the terrible dialogue, midichlorians, and boring space politics in those films, his charismatic portrayal of the legendary Jedi gave us countless memorable moments and lines.

There could be no Obi Wan Kenobi TV show without McGregor, and it’s clear from the first episode that the actor is fully invested in the role once again.

Given the circumstances in which this post-Revenge of the Sith Obi Wan finds himself, he plays the character with an appropriate amount of weariness. McGregor sells all the internal plight and torment with careful facial expressions and body language.

Yet, truth be told, we all saw this coming. Nobody was worried about whether McGregor could recapture the magic from all those years ago. Rather, we were worried about whether Disney would trap him in another underwhelming corporate mess.

The last decade of Disney-produced content has made it clear the company values quantity over quality—when it comes to Star Wars and all their other franchises.

From 1977 to 2005, we got six Star Wars movies. From 2015 to 2022, they’ve pumped out five movies and three TV shows that garnered extremely mixed reviews.

The Force Awakens was a fun retread of familiar plot points that introduced us to a new generation of heroes. Unfortunately, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker were non-sensical messes that broke the rules of the Force and basic storytelling.

These sequel films were an uncomfortable seesaw of pointlessly re-writing old narratives and desperate pandering to long-time fans. In Disney’s pursuit of making money, they seemed to forget that people love Star Wars for its characters, first and foremost.

On the TV side, The Mandalorian was a smash hit despite its episodic format that lacks an overarching storyline. The Book of Boba Fett was just bad. In many ways, Obi Wan is the course correction fans have been so desperately awaiting.

Kenobi could have easily coasted on fan service alone—Obi Wan and Darth Vader duking it out is reason enough to sit through six episodes. However, where the show succeeds is by deepening existing relationships in the long-running saga.

Its six episodes dig into Obi Wan’s broken relationship with Anakin Skywalker as he protects a young Princess Leia. The new faces and storylines are admittedly not as interesting, but still enrich the world around the characters we do care about.

With all that said, the show isn’t perfect. Its sets and visual effects would have seriously benefitted from Disney opening their purse a little wider. The production values aren’t on the level we have come to expect from Star Wars, which is disappointing, to say the least.

Nonetheless, Kenobi is a major step in the right direction for the company. It’s surely taken longer than we might have hoped, but at last the Force is strong with Disney Star Wars.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.