The problem with prequels is that you know how they will end. There may be an emotion in that. the Star Wars The prequels ran into this conundrum. For many fans, knowing that Anakin Skywalker would become the towering Darth Vader didn’t detract from the enjoyment of, shall we say, Revenge of the Sithbecause his story arc felt like shading the humanity that the iconic villain had needed to shed before A new hope. In the case of a movie like rogue oneknowing that the hodgepodge of makeshift heroes we met would succeed (but at what cost?) made the breeze of a heist movie enjoyable, if only because the stakes were high on a franchise level, but based in a great work of characters.
But in both cases, you find yourself always anticipating the moment when its ending will join the story we already know. Not by chance, Obi Wan Kenobilike those other two properties, it finds itself coloring a story before the movie that started it all: A new hope. All Star Wars roads lead to it, it seems (hey, even Only, although the less we talk about that film, the better). Entering this final episode of Obi Wan Kenobi we knew a couple of things would have to happen: Obi-Wan, Leia, Luke, Owen and Beru would survive. Like Darth Vader would. Our titular Jedi would become a hermit. Oh, and the secret of Luke and Leia’s paternity would remain the same. Which means that we would end more or less where we started.
If as a narrative wager it sounds pretty boring, you’d be right. But then again, there wasn’t a lot of ambitious artistic license one could take with these characters once you decided this was the story you wanted to tell. i still wonder what Obi Wan Kenobi It would have been if these six episodes hadn’t revolved around Leia and Vader and instead focused on a deeper exploration of the character from Obi-Wan’s lonely years on Tatooine. But maybe that doesn’t sound very exciting. As soon as Disney/Lucasfilm decided that we would be pitted against Vader/Kenobi and a sassy, diminutive Leia, it became clear that what we would get would be everything we’d gotten time and time again: in fact, as I’ve pointed out in many of these summaries, this limited series has felt, at times, like a repeat of Star Wars hits. And this ending was no different. An unlikely escape from the Empire in all its might? Check. A Jedi and a Sith fighting on a remote and rocky planet? Check. Civilians fending off a powerful Sith with nothing but blasters? Check. Even a certain ghostly cameo at the end felt less like a surprise to fans (although it was) than an expected narrative necessity of a Star Wars ending.
When you sum it up, two things happened in this episode: Vader was trying to finish off Obi-Wan, and the Third Sister was trying to kill Luke. Again, we all knew how both stories would play out. Except, of course, what would happen with Third Sister (but more on that in a bit).
The showdown between Vader and Kenobi was, I’ll admit, exciting to watch. Give me the silhouette of a Jedi and a Sith fighting in a stark landscape, and I’m in. (The scene was helped, in large part, by Natalie Holt’s hauntingly dramatic score.) And the moment when Vader’s helmet is ripped. , which reveals the devastated “Anakin” underneath, created quite a striking image: a broken man who has clearly armored himself to avoid thinking he’s weak. Plus, it’s the only time Frankenstein’s casting of Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones really pays off when you see Vader/Anakin as a real man split in both literal and figurative ways: “Anakin’s gone,” you can tell. “I am what remains.” But it’s hard not to see some of Anakin there, even if those lines and that sight are what ultimately convince Obi-Wan that his former Padawan is a lost cause: only an actor of Ewan McGregor’s caliber could pull off the heightened drama of who has been called. he plays here.
On the other hand, the middle of the Third Sister episode was, shall we say, a bit underwhelming, in part because the feeling that she’s being fueled by revenge feels drained at this point. But it’s also because, for someone we’ve seen display cruelty so easily, the Third Sister felt pretty tame here as she searched for Luke. I mean, what stopped him from killing Owen and Beru, other than the story requires them to survive so we can meet up with them years later when A new hope begins? For a long time I’ve felt like Obi Wan Kenobi It was a far more compelling story when viewed through its history, a tale of vengeance turned atonement that mirrored and inverted Vader’s rather than Kenobi’s, but this final episode so paralyzed its narrative that it felt almost superfluous. Especially because we are really given no idea what happens to her. The final scenes show us what Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan, and Vader are up to and where and how their stories will unfold (which we already knew! We’ve seen the movies, folks!). However, the one character whose future we have no knowledge of is left in the dust. One wonders if maybe there is a spin-off in the works. Moses Ingram deserves one, honestly.
I’m not even going to ask if any of us needed this six episode miniseries. That question feels unnecessary in our IP-saturated media ecosystem. What I will say is that I doubt the heights of the show (Ewan, Moses, some of little Leia’s jokes) were enough to justify its existence. Every time I felt queasy seeing certain sights or enjoying a big plot twist, I’d end up just as disappointed with some narrative choice or character pacing. Perhaps Vader was talking to both Obi-Wan Kenobi and about Obi Wan Kenobi: “Your strength has returned. But your weakness remains.
- “You did not kill Anakin Skywalker. I did.” Once again, if we cannot love our Star Wars stories when they spit out dialogue as delightful and unintentionally serious as this, so what are we doing? (See also: “Who you become is up to you.”)
- Speaking of dialogue, a lot of that final scene was doing heavy lifting to make sure all the T’s were crossed and the I’s dotted. How else could you explain Obi-Wan telling Leia “No one must know or we could endanger both of us” after telling her that she could contact him if he ever needed her help? It’s a way of letting us know why she knew to ask for her help (“you’re my only hope”) when she’s in danger, but it also makes it clear why her relationship was almost non-existent/implied in that original film. Also, was it Kenobi who gave him the holster? I know the gesture was supposed to make me smile, but mostly it made me roll my eyes. Sometimes all the details don’t need to be explicitly planted elsewhere: not even his most distinctive wardrobe piece was his own creation!
- Considering we got cameos from the Emperor and Qui-Gon’s ghost (Liam Neeson!), I’m surprised the show’s creators couldn’t find time to include other fan favorites for the sole reason that they could: Where was our glimpse of Jar Jar Binks? A clue as to what C3PO and R2D2 were up to? (Though honestly, it also made me wonder what happened to Lola. If we know one thing about droids it’s that they’re tough! RIP Lola, wherever you’ve ended up!)
- Where is he Star Wars franchise go from here? I can’t imagine we’ll get a second season of Obi Wan Kenobi (Although, really, I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney/Lucasfilm found another way to stretch this story out in a way that feels unnecessary and lucrative.) Until then, may the force be with us all!