Obi-Wan Kenobi has now come to its thrilling conclusion with the finale of the six-part limited Disney Plus series now available worldwide for fans of a galaxy, far, far away to enjoy at their leisure. Let's dive into the final episode, those surprise cameos and why we don't need season two.
Warning: spoilers for the complete Obi-Wan Kenobi series and wider Star Wars universe as a whole
Going into Obi-Wan Kenobi, I hadn't been this excited for Star Wars since The Force Awakens with Ewan McGregor's portrayal of the beloved Jedi Knight a favourite of mine since being a youngling myself. I quickly realised the many issues that the prequels suffered from, still enjoying them for what they were with Obi-Wan a key part of that. The new Disney Plus series has now, at long last, matched the talents of the Scottish-born actor.
Okay, let's first discuss that well-choreographed lightsaber battle between Darth Vader and his former master – I loved it. It was well-paced, provided some interesting uses of the Force (using the ground to collapse underneath Obi-Wan, for one) and ultimately, paid off emotionally as the acceptance that Anakin Skywalker is truly gone sets in. McGregor delivers his best work here, teary-eyed at the sight of his fallen Padawan.
"I am not your failure, Obi-Wan. You didn't kill Anakin Skywalker... I did," says an injured Vader. Star Wars has struggled to land emotional punches ever since Disney took over and yet, this worked. Two friends, now enemies, now aware there's no coming back as the light inside Vader's mask switches from blue to red. It was a tall task for director Deborah Chow and team, as everyone knew going into Obi-Wan Kenobi that most of the main characters couldn't die canonically, so to come out of this satisfied is a triumph for Star Wars.
Another aspect that surprisingly worked throughout was the inclusion of a young Leia. Having no inkling whatsoever that this was going to happen in the first episode did result in some concern that the princesses' presence would overshadow the main man himself, even if it set up the perfect reason to leave Tatooine. Thankfully it walked the line right (for the most part), helping set the stakes while reminding Obi-Wan of the good of the universe again, telling Leia: "You are the future." A poetic comma for the pair that we know play a vital role in each other's lives come A New Hope.
Then we have the complete polar opposite of Obi-Wan bidding farewell to Leia on the bright blues of Alderaan, as Vader returns to the lava-filled dark desolate planet of Mustafar, where he suffered his first defeat in Revenge of the Sith. Alone once more, he speaks to the Emperor (played by Ian McDiarmid in a fun cameo– shame about the makeup), further committing himself to the Dark Side and determined to wipe out Kenobi once and for all. I wonder how it all will end.
No, I will say the biggest success aside from McGregor has been the return of Hayden Christensen, who was sparingly used to a great degree. The beginning of episode five, where we flashback to the time of The Clone Wars with Anakin and Obi-Wan sparring against each other, was fan service for all the right reasons. Christensen did well with what he was given, and I hope he comes away with better memories of Star Wars as a result of it.
Moses Ingram similarly received a fitting arc for Reva, having come face-to-face with her demons via PTSD as she decides not to kill Luke Skywalker, instead choosing a different path to the one Anakin took. The downside to all of this was returning to Tatooine... again, rather than getting away from the most overused planet in the franchise. The upside was Ingram's performance, injured from her failed assassination of Darth Vader last episode, now out for revenge no matter the costs. Ingram played the part with great gusto, throwing herself at all of the fight scenes, chases and drama that unfolded.
Finally, let's discuss that big cameo: Liam Neeson. It happened! After being hinted at throughout the whole series, Liam Neeson returned in live-action as Qui-Gon Jinn for the first time since 1999's The Phantom Menance, 23 years prior. It was ever so brief but ever so satisfying. I did have a complaint, though – and no it wasn't Neeson saying he wouldn't return for a TV series ahead of me speaking with Deborah Chow – it was the timing.
For me, it would have felt more poignant to appear right before the fight with Vader to share some words of encouragement, all building into the confrontation that was about to unfold. The final scene felt a little tacked on, leaving me thinking he wasn't going to show up at all until the final seconds. It made me wonder whether discussions with Neeson were held late on.
All in all, Obi-Wan Kenobi has been refreshing for Star Wars. Its smaller-scale narrative, similar to The Mandalorian season one, and just cheaper overall look and sets worked wonders for me. Not everything needs to be about the universe imploding. This is essentially a character-driven piece that lets McGregor do what he does best while barely touching a lightsabre until halfway through the show.
It slots in nicely between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, tying these two together tastefully. No more, Disney. We don't need season two. You did it! You stuck the landing and gave us some decent Star Wars. Maybe even pump the brakes on Star Wars as a whole. I'm happy. Just let it rest. Please.
Obi-Wan Kenobi stars Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen with Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell and Benny Safdie also appearing. The full six-episode series can be watched on Disney Plus now.