At first, probably the most distinct factor about Obi-Wan Kenobi within the new period of Star Wars is that, for the primary time because the franchise transitioned to TV, it wasn’t a couple of man in a helmet. No disrespect to The Mandalorian or The Book of Boba Fett, however they’re exhibits that had been bought on iconography greater than character — one thing they reminded audiences of each time the Star Wars franchise emblem appeared on display screen after flashes of robots and helmets. Only one character wears a masks in Obi-Wan Kenobi: Darth Vader, and its presence or lack thereof is at all times significant. Across its temporary six-episode run, Obi-Wan stopped the spectacle to give attention to individuals — and it principally resonates as a distinction to how a lot I’ve missed them in different Star Wars tales.
At the guts of this are Obi-Wan’s two central performances. As Obi-Wan, Ewan McGregor performs a broken man in exile, a soldier who is aware of he misplaced the warfare however remains to be being requested to struggle it, holding fixed vigil from afar over the younger Luke Skywalker. As befits the character that shares the collection’ title, each word of Obi-Wan’s journey rings true, largely because of McGregor’s efficiency.
History helps right here. McGregor returning to the position he first performed over 20 years in the past and redefined for a second era of Star Wars followers helps underline his depiction of a burdened man thanklessly safeguarding what’s left of his legacy. He doesn’t communicate as a lot as he used to, however his actions inform a narrative — hiding from view and scrambling from fights within the first half of the present, and transferring and combating with dedication within the second half. Across six episodes, Obi-Wan goes from a shattered Jedi barely comfy utilizing the Force anymore to a person who has as soon as once more discovered energy and objective.
Opposing him is Moses Ingram’s Reva, a relentless, pushed Inquisitor working for Darth Vader to hunt Kenobi down. As Reva, Ingram is formidable, fueled by ardour and rage, an amazing bodily presence in a world more and more outlined by larger-than-life figures with obscured faces. Unfortunately, Ingram’s efficiency is underserved by the story she’s in. Clear motivations, as soon as revealed, result in baffling actions as her story reaches its climax.
Reva, as it’s slowly revealed, was a survivor of Anakin’s youngling bloodbath in Revenge of the Sith, and has turn into zealous in pursuit of Obi-Wan as a part of an extended gambit to get shut sufficient to Darth Vader to kill him in revenge. There’s a tragic story right here, one that you may infer from Ingram’s efficiency — as Reva is regularly broken down and constructed again up in her quest for revenge — however it’s one which strains credulity as Reva’s story ends together with her in pursuit of Luke Skywalker, even when her purpose of killing Vader is now lengthy gone.
In spite of the distinction in execution of their tales, each Obi-Wan and Reva’s arcs emotionally floor Obi-Wan Kenobi of their particular give attention to loss. Put merely, they’re there as an example the distinction between dropping and being misplaced. Obi-Wan by no means says this theme out loud, however it’s the rationale why the present can nonetheless really feel worthwhile regardless of its standing as a prequel the place the fates of most main characters are recognized from the outset, significantly its protagonist.
What the viewer doesn’t know coming in is Obi-Wan’s interiority: Is previous Ben Kenobi at his publish in A New Hope out of obligation or devotion? Has his loss in Revenge of the Sith crammed him with despair or resolve? The house for Obi-Wan Kenobi to say something significant in any respect is extremely slim, so it has no selection however to give attention to emotions — to the credit score of director Deborah Chow and her many collaborators, it conveys them nicely sufficient that when Obi-Wan stands in entrance of younger Leia Organa or a ship filled with refugees, it’s potential to care about whether or not or not he can discover it in himself to encourage them.
Or that, when Kenobi has what seems to be his penultimate showdown together with his former apprentice earlier than they reunite as previous males in A New Hope, it’s clear that they’re burying the individuals they had been within the prequels and turning into who they are going to be within the unique trilogy. In this, Hayden Christensen’s temporary return as Anakin makes Obi-Wan Kenobi probably the most significant fashionable invocation of Darth Vader but, as his scarred visage briefly seen by means of a cut up helmet within the closing episode offers viewers a glimpse of what the warfare has price. Darth Vader in title vows to turn into Darth Vader in objective, laying apart his failed makes an attempt at revenge to completely turn into the gloved fist of a fascist Emperor.
It can’t be understated that the uphill wrestle for resonance Obi-Wan Kenobi confronted is an issue of Star Wars’ personal design. The present state of the franchise is one in all timidity, preferring to financial institution on the eagerness of previous followers over the work of successful new ones. Ultimately, Obi-Wan Kenobi is an uneven work a couple of man now not sure of his place in an enormous and still-ongoing endeavor.
In that uncertainty, cynicism took root, as it’s wont to do. But that cynicism — whether or not it stems from a fictional character processing his place after dropping a warfare the dangerous guys received, or the problem of artists and craftspeople making an attempt to make artwork in probably the most business atmosphere possible — could be overcome, even when it’s justified. You simply need to discover a approach, discover one thing human to carry on to. Obi-Wan Kenobi broke a Jedi down and constructed him as much as be an individual once more. You can see it on his face.