This week marks the final episode of the first season of the series “Obi-Wan Kenobi”, and it’s certainly been an interesting trip down memory lane. Especially for those who grew up watching George Lucas’ prequel trilogy. Over the years we’ve seen shows like “Star Wars: Rebels” and “The Bad Batch” fill in the gaps between “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” and “Episode IV: The New Hope”.
And while we’ve grown to love new heroes like Ahsoka Tano, Kanan Jarrus, Ezra Bridger and Clone Force 99, we couldn’t help but wish to see more of what the old guard were up to. After waiting for over a decade and a half, we finally get to see our beloved Obi-Wan Kenobi in live-action again with his journey from honored Jedi Master to the grizzled, old Ben Kenobi.
This new series has delivered some stunning nostalgic highs with some standout episodes, along with some frustrating lows in others. Needless to say, it’s not quite the happy landing we were hoping for. With that in mind, we’re here to rank each episode of the first season of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” from worst to best and to discuss the fate of the series.
6. Part II
One of the most contentious elements of the series was the way they handle Princess Leia as a child. Some people love it…us not so much. Nearly half the episode is spent seeing her either being an utter, inconsiderate brat to Kenobi or running away from him!
Also, the Third Sister, Reva, supposedly “killing” the Grand Inquisitor in this episode feels utterly tedious. We all know he’s going to come back because he’s in “Star Wars: Rebels”! So all the tension of seeing Reva slowly rise to the rank of Grand Inquisitor feels so pointless. The only highlight here is Ewan McGregor’s phenomenal performance as a distraught Kenobi realising that his former apprentice is actually the Empire’s most deadly enforcer, Darth Vader. The sheer shock and fear in his face is brilliant. Seriously, just skip to the last 5 minutes of “Part II” and call it a day.
5. Part I
There’s nothing particularly terrible about this episode but also nothing much to rave about. It’s understandable seeing that this episode is mostly meant to set up the key players in the other episodes to come. Leia’s introduction as a headstrong, erudite child by Vivien Lyra Blair walks a rather thin line being endearing and grating. One that throughly flats into the territory of the latter in “Part II”.
One thing we did enjoy seeing was the live-action depictions of the Inquisitors, namely how they operate among civilians. If Disney decided to make an entire series revolving around them, we’d be totally down for it! One minor gripe we have is the way the Grand Inquisitor, who is a Pau’an, looks nothing like his “Rebels” version or the other Pau’ans seen in “Revenge of the Sith”. We’ll forgive them for this because of that killer Order 66 scene at the beginning.
4. Part IV
As fans of “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order”, we got a major kick out of seeing Fortress Inquistorius! The famed headquarters of the Empire’s very own Jedi hunters. This episode’s a fairly straight-forward one with Obi-Wan sneaking into the fort trying to rescue Leia from the clutches of the Third Sister. A fun caper for sure but not without a number of discrepancies that broke our immersion. The most glaring being Reva’s ability to block entire blaster bolts from a ship. That’s karking nonsense right there! Still the episode manages to make up for it with some intriguing details. Seeing that haunting museum of encased Jedi corpses is such a great visual reminder of how horrifying the world of Star Wars can be.
3. Part III
Now we’re getting to the good stuff! In this episode, we get to see a more vulnerable side of Kenobi and Leia in a father-daughter relationship. In spite of the Organa’s love for her, there’s still a part of the young princess who sees herself as an orphan looking for her parents. Someone who’s hoping to better understand her place in the universe by understanding her lineage. Kenobi sees this internal turmoil and is himself struggling to reveal the truth to her, worried it might cause more damage. It’s a heart-wrenching scene that McGregor and Blair did wonderful justice too! The absolute highlight of the episode though is Vader hunting Kenobi down. The Dark Lord of the Sith lives up to his title with stunning brutality and effortless cruelty. Him dragging Kenobi across a field of fire is a brilliant bit of poetic justice right there.
2. Part V
“Part V” is not a perfect episode but it does give us some of the best moments in the history of live-action Star Wars. The way the episode juxtaposes a young Anakin Skywalker, played by a not-so-young Hayden Christensen, training with Obi Wan in the past with Vader’s hunt for Kenobi in the present is an inspired choice. It serves to exemplify how shades of Darth Vader were always in Anakin during his Jedi days and how his immaturity as a Padawan still informs his decisions in the series.
It humanises Vader in a way that feels earned and believable. He’s not yet the perfect cold, calculative killing machine we see in the original trilogy. He is still the learner as he states in “New Hope”. That being said, he is in no way lacking raw power. Watching him pull down a ship with the Force and effortlessly defeat the Third Sister without ever using his own lightsabre had us running around the room like younglings trying to escape Vader in the temple. What? Too soon?
1. Part VI
Ding, ding Round 2! No distractions. No Inquisitors. No allies. It’s not just a spectacular duel though. There’s so much history and emotion behind every strike on the sabre. The same hate that fuelled Vader in the fiery planes of Mustafar are rekindled as we see Kenobi muster all his strength and willpower to strike down his beloved brother in the Force. The challenge here is trying to inject meaningful stakes in spite of the fact that we already know the outcome of the battle: both of them survive.
The true climax of the show isn’t Kenobi standing over Vader in triumphant victory. No, rather it comes from the catharsis of Kenobi finally learning to let go of his guilt and shame with Vader essentially absolving his master of the battle on Mustafar. There is nothing to forgive because Kenobi didn’t kill Anakin, Vader did. The smile we see through Vader’s damaged helmet is the stuff of nightmares and yet also a confirmation of Kenobi’s role in the wider conflict. It is not his destiny to bring Vader back to the Light, that belongs to another. Overall, this season finale provides satisfying closure to the duo.
Will there be a Season 2?
Well, the answer to this question is complicated. Actors Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen have definitely expressed interesting in doing a second season. In an interview with British GQ, McGregor has said “I really hope we do another” and Christensen in an interview with Radio Times said “I think there’s certainly more there to explore and I would be so excited to get to do so“. In a interview with Entertainment Today (ET) though, director Deborah Chow was less than certain about the future of the series stating “Well, frankly, we did set out to do that as a limited series. But I think if there’s huge engagement and people really want more Obi-Wan, we’ll certainly give that consideration because the fans, they speak to us.” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy expressed similar sentiments as well.
With Kenobi and Vader’s reunion arc mostly wrapped up, is there any direction the series can possibly go into from here? The series takes place nine years before the events of “A New Hope”. During his time in exile, Kenobi rarely leaves the desert planet of Tatooine, and is always keeping watch over young Luke. The most exciting thing that happened to him was his final duel with Maul as see in “Star Wars: Rebels” two years before “A New Hope”. Beyond that, it’s all quiet for Ben. If Chow wishes to avoid breaking “Rebels” canon, it leaves her with only 7 years to play around with Kenobi’s past. So to answer the question: no, not really. That being said, if enough fans respond well to the series, Kenendy and Chow could see our dear Jedi tackle the wretched hive of scum and villainy of the planet. Perhaps, he and Reva could join up to battle the Inquisitors.
So what do you think “Obi-Wan Kenobi”? Do you think the series should get a second season? Be sure to let us know in the comments and to catch it on Disney+ Hotstar today!