Serial Consumer celebrates and interrogates Evan’s relationship to franchised media and his addiction to purchasing its licensed products.
“You remind me of someone.”
Unlike The Mandalorian, Obi-Wan Kenobi is telling one story split into six chapters. One weakness of this approach is that a lot of series just spin their wheels hour-to-hour, with minimal character progression. That works in some drama series, less so in action-oriented spectacles. Thankfully both Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe Disney+ shows have generally avoided this problem, and Obi-Wan Kenobi is no different.
Picking up where Part I left off, Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) has found himself on the seedy underworld planet of Daiyu in search of the captive Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair). He’s conducting his investigation without using the Force, as doing so would likely draw unwanted attention to his quest. It’s a disadvantage but not one that hampers his ability to quickly find Leia and the men who captured her — although maybe a spiritual connection to the world would’ve clued him into the fact that his quarry was setting up an ambush. This segment of the show is really the only bit I was a little disappointed by because we’ve seen Obi-Wan on an investigation before (his entire subplot in Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones is a gumshoe riff), and you’d think he would anticipate an ambush. Whatever. He gets out of it just fine, and then it’s off to the races, with an aging “Ben” Kenobi trying to save a smarter-than-her-years Leia in the galactic underworld, with Sith Inquisitors and bounty hunters in hot pursuit.
There’s so much to love in this episode. First and foremost, the alien designs are great. I love Dinosaur Man, the bounty hunter who tries to snipe our heroes off a rooftop. We see a galactic drug den, too. So many odd aliens who feel fresh out of 1977, built with what feel like odds and ends in a costuming workshop, just like the classic Mos Eisley Cantina. One of the problems in the sequels (and even the prequels) is that the aliens all looked too well-designed. Dinosaur Man looks like someone found a velociraptor model in the dumpster behind Jurassic World: Dominion, buried under the remains of Colin Trevorrow’s blockbuster career. Perfect.
This is where we meet Haja (Kumail Nanjiani), the “bandit with a heart of gold” of this series whose arc is mercifully free of moral red herrings. I hope this is not the last we see of him.
Reva (Moses Ingram) gets more development here, too, where we learn she’s the “least” of the Inquisitorious. Both premiere episodes show that the rest of her brothers and sisters think less of her methods, which are far more brutal than theirs. The Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) is particularly condescending. Reva is driven by as-yet-unrevealed motivations to really suck up to Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen), and she sees Kenobi as her ticket into his good graces. She knows Vader is secretly Anakin Skywalker, although it’s never been quite clear how much of the galaxy is also aware of that fact. Obi-Wan certainly wasn’t until Reva reveals it to him in the closing moments of the episode.
That brings us back to canon questions and the fact that it was never really established whether Obi-Wan knew Anakin survived Mustafar at the time of their duel. It was always assumed he simply learned Vader was alive through the galactic grapevine, I guess, but turning the moment into an entire series about him facing down his fallen apprentice is such an awesome idea that I can’t believe it’s never been done before.
Speaking of canon: The end of the episode has Reva stab the Grand Inquisitor after he tries to capture Obi-Wan and take all the credit. Fans on message boards are screaming over the seeming breach of continuity with Star Wars: Rebels (where we see the Inquisitor die, like, for reals), but c’mon. A stab through the gut? That kind of stuff happens all the time in Star Wars. Worst case scenario is that he ends up saved by some fucking Mods.
Part II has some great action and fun character work between Obi-Wan and Leia. It furthers the overall story and gets us closer to the promised showdown between a Jedi Master and his former Padawan while also expanding on Reva’s character. In a way, it also makes Ben Solo’s namesake even more meaningful: Leia isn’t just naming her son after a man she barely met once upon a time, she’s naming him after a Jedi who saved her as a young girl.
But all of this greatness pales in comparison to the moment that almost made me scream with glee in the middle of the night. It’s just a short cameo, of course, but one that means the world to fans of all this Star Wars expanded media. While walking the streets of Daiyu, Obi-Wan hears a familiar voice. It’s a clone, played by Temura Morrison himself, asking for some spare change. I’ve waxed poetic about how great the Clones are in all of my coverage of The Bad Batch and how much I love the fact that it’s an excuse to throw Morrison into every corner of the galaxy. He was done a severe disservice by The Book of Boba Fett, but my greatest hope for this new line of Disney+ shows is that he’ll have a turn at playing Clone Captain Rex in the Ahsoka series. This moment gives me so much hope that will happen.
- I don’t believe Obi-Wan ever gives Leia his real name.
- Instead of creating Daiyu, why not just adapt Nar Shaddaa? It’s the classic crime planet in Star Wars, but the live-action series are steadfastly avoiding it. It’s already in the comics.
- Big fan of all these creepy monsters and worm people.
- I laughed when Obi-Wan hurt his hand on the Zabrak bandit’s head horns. Always felt like we were done a disservice never seeing Darth Maul head-butt someone.
- Great to see the Grand Inquisitor spin his lightsaber!
- The moment where Obi-Wan tells Leia she reminds him of Padmé is just chef’s kiss.
- Reva’s unnecessary but badass flips across rooftops are so over-the-top and wonderful.
- Cool to see Second Sister, too.
- “You don’t have to call me that. I’m just Leia.”
- It’s great how Leia is smart enough to figure out the plot … and smart enough to draw the wrong conclusion.
- Cool to see another droid the same model as 4-LOM.
- GIVE ME LIVE-ACTION REX, PLEASE!
- Same as Part I.
- 6” Dinosaur Man, baby.
- 6″ Second Sister (I’ll buy every Inquisitor they release, frankly)
- 6″ Stormtrooper re-release (I own two; I should own more, right?)