The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+ were absolutely extraordinary.
Rather than begin this review with a traditional lede wherein I express a thesis amidst an opening paragraph, my heart is so full of emotion that I could do nothing else than just blurt out how fantastic the show is.
Firstly, Ewan McGregor is tremendous, as we knew he would be, yet it was wonderful to see his known tremendousness expressed so well during the first two episodes. He showed a wealth of emotion just with his eyes. I felt his sadness and his guilt.
But when McGregor did deliver dialogue, he added depth to his performance, an expression even a level or two above what he showed years ago in the prequels. What I mean is that I’ll be darned, but he seemed to deliver with the inflection of the late Alec Guinness. Middle-aged Obi-Wan sounded like old Obi-Wan.
Secondly, the presence of young Leia was a pure treasure. The actress was as spunky, resourceful, and quick as the young Leia us Nerds fell in love with first in 1977. Every scene she appeared in exuded charm, even though the situations she found herself in were quite harrowing.
But isn’t that the way with Leia? Feel free to tell her the odds. Because no matter the danger, that girl is in charge of the situation.
Finally, the show felt like Star Wars. Many times it was the little things like the cut sequences that show a new little critter we’ve never seen before. They’re cheesy, yet they are also one of the little things like showing a starship approach a planet that make Star Wars Star Wars.
The costume design worked. Planet locales worked. And unlike the Vespas of Boba Fett, the gadgetry and technology felt right at home in the Star Wars galaxy.
Even a character as beloved as Obi-Wan Kenobi (or perhaps because a character is as beloved as Obi-Wan Kenobi) carries a worry that revisiting them will in some way diminish them. Focus on something new, the argument might go.
But the first couple episodes make it clear that this show will only enhance the mythos around Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ewan McGregor’s performance is more than up to the challenge. And the first couple of episodes make it clear there is a Kessel’s worth of story to mine there.
Everyone has a Star Wars hot take. Uncle Ed? Yep. Sister Edna from the convent. Yup, her too. Even Filthy Larry from outside the Knollwood Mall who would look right at home in the Mos Eisley Cantina? Especially Filthy Larry because Filthy Larry types fast because he has 11 fingers. You just never noticed it because you refused to make eye contact.
So here is my Star Wars hot take: Even though I’m a life-long Star Wars fans, I’ve cooled on the franchise. I’ve come to realize that I pretty much only like the original trilogy and The Mandalorian. But after two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, I am in love with the show.