Since his breakout role as heroin addict Mark Renton in Trainspotting, Ewan McGregor has remained one of the few actors who seems to balance high-profile roles in the Star Wars universe and DCEU as well as maintain his indie film roots and still surprise us. Part of what made his role as Renton different was he was playing a drug addict without the same tropes common in made-for-TV movies and vanity projects.
When he was cast as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, he had big shoes to fill. Unfortunately, he came off as more of a sidekick rather than a leading role. But he grew in the role. When Revenge of the Sith ended, Kenobi went into exile to the desert planet of Tattoine to look over the young Luke Skywalker. I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt that movie ended anti-climatic even though we knew what was happening next.
The Disney-Plus series Obi-Wan Kenobi acts as a nice continuation as well as that in-between story we needed between Sith and A New Hope. Despite some criticism by fans who are upset that people of color or women are given roles in these movies, the series showed how a man struggling with guilt came to turns with actions beyond his control. At the end of Sith, Kenobi felt his actions toward his apprentice Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) led him to seek the attention from Emperor Palpatine also masquerading as Darth Sidious, a Sith lord. In the end, he thought he was forced to kill Skywalker in defense.
However, at the end of this series, Kenobi has realized that Skywalker has survived and is now Darth Vadar. When Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair) is kidnapped, her parents, Bail and Breha (Jimmy Smits and Simone Kessell) seek out Kenobi to rescue her. Reluctant at first, he does so while at the same time being pursued by the Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) along with Inquisitor Reva, Third Sister (Moses Ingram) who has a secret grudge to settle. Apparently, Reva was one of the young Jedi students that Skywalker and the stormtroopers killed on Coruscant. She played dead and has sent grown up battling hatred.
Reva (and Ingram particularly) became a topic of hatred among fans for two reasons – she’s a woman and she’s black. Despite criticism that the series focused too much on her and not on Leia or Kenobi, I don’t think it’s fair. Her role was more of an antagonist. You got to have a good villain and Ingram does a good job. Sadly, Star Wars fans, like comic book fans and Star Trek fans aren’t the most tolerant or inclusive.
As for Blair (who played the Sandra Bullock’s daughter, Girl in Bird Box), she portrays the young Leia with a little bit of mischief and a lot of piss and vinegar. The best scenes are between her and Kenobi as it helps her to understand who her real mother was as well as Kenobi coming to grips with his past.
I don’t know why Star Wars fans hated this so much. It seems ever since the prequels, they’ve gotten uglier. I’ll admit J.J. Abrams wasn’t the best choice for the last trilogy but Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni did a good job with The Mandalorian. I think the problem is too many fans have their own ideas of what would make a good movie or series and when they don’t see it that way, they get upset. Need I remind them that George Lucas made the first Star Wars in 1977 as a kids movie. This is like conservatives freaking out that the scene where the planting of the American flag wasn’t in First Man.
And maybe if you’re a Star Wars fan, you’re not supposed to like everything. I never got into the Clone Wars cartoon series. But that doesn’t mean, I’m going to chastise it like a racist, sexist bigot. They did the same thing with The Book of Boba Fett. It makes me wonder what they’re really upset with.
Regardless, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a nice series to help bridge the two trilogies. While I think it’ll be the last time we’ll see McGregor as the titular character as well as Christensen as Skywalker/Vadar, you got to let some things go. We all know what happens next and we need to just let it happen.
What do you think. Please comment.