+++ Opinion +++
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” is a series that seems made for me: for “Star Wars’ fans who grew up watching the prequel trilogy. Who always didn’t think Episodes I-III were as bad as the fans of the first three films. And who would like to see more of the characters from “The Phantom Menace” and Co. – above all from the great Ewan McGregor.
So I really enjoyed watching Obi-Wan Kenobi. Still, I would never say that the Disney+ series absolutely needed it – and most importantly, it doesn’t need more than one season.
Sure, the time between “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope” is quite exciting and has so far been relatively little explored in film and series form. And I look forward to more adventures from a galaxy far, far away set in this era, such as the upcoming Rogue One prequel Andor.
Yet The problem with “Obi-Wan Kenobi” is that you can no longer tell new stories with the character without repeating yourself. That’s why I can only agree with Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy and Obi-Wan director Deborah Chow when they say that it takes a good reason to continue the series. Hopefully this is serious, because in Hollywood it’s easy to find a half-baked reason for a sequel.
A new storyline for Obi-Wan could of course be found. He will just sit around on Tatooine and meditate for the next few years, so he could go on one or the other adventure. But that alone is not enough. The real question is: What else do you want to tell about the character? How should she develop further?
In addition to the gripping staging by Deborah Chow, that was the greatest strength of the first (and hopefully only) season “Obi-Wan Kenobi”: The focus was on the main character and her development, less on the fan service, the cameos and the like.
As a result, Chow, showrunner Joby Harold, and their team allowed Obi-Wan to undergo a predictable, but no less satisfying, transformation—ending in the finale, which (like the rest of the series) isn’t perfect, but leaves little room for a sequel :
He starts out as a broken man struggling with the mistakes and choices of his past. Through the search for young Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) and a bitter first confrontation with Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader, he slowly finds his way back on track (and into power). And in the end, Obi-Wan is able to defeat his former student and friend and realizes that he is beyond saving.
Obi-Wan overcomes his guilt, or at least learns to come to terms with it. The stage is set for the reunion with Luke and Leia and the final confrontation with Vader in Episode IV and even the appearance of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), teased from episode 1, still found space.
Honestly, what’s next? While the plans for an “Obi-Wan” film trilogy that screenwriter Stuart Beattie recently revealed are all well and good, I don’t think it would last through a full second season. Does anyone really need a detailed explanation as to why Obi-Wan sacrifices himself in Episode IV? It feels as unnecessary as the origin story of Han Solo’s last name.
For example, I’d rather watch a spin-off about ex-Inquisitor Reva (at least as long as Obi-Wan doesn’t play a part in it), which is rumored to be in the works. Because there is actually more to tell about this character.
One notices very clearly in “Obi-Wan Kenobi” that Reva was supposed to die in episode 5 and that was subsequently changed. That’s why I suddenly didn’t understand the character in the finale, which had been clearly defined and played so well by Moses Ingram, but only felt it as an unnecessary distraction from the actual core of the story.
With its own series, Lucasfilm could make up for this pitfall and tell the character better – just like they did with “Obi-Wan Kenobi”.