(Spoilers follow.) Much of what some of us wanted to see in Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi didn’t happen. And that’s completely OK. We did see most of it, and overall, the Disney+ limited series (at least for now) was tremendous.
Below are 37 takeaways from Kenobi.
1. Treatment by ‘fans’ of Kenobi star Vivien Lyra Blair and Jake Lloyd
Star Wars “fans” hopefully haven’t treated Viven, who played Leia (or Grant Feely, who played Luke Skywalker) the way they treated another Star Wars child star in Jake Lloyd (and Star Wars adult actors like Ahmed Best, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Train and Moses Ingram). How well the children played their characters is beside the point (though Vivien and Grant did a great job!). Nobody, let alone children, deserve the treatment that fans gave Jake, Best Boyega, Tran, and Ingram. I don’t even want to go into some details because they are disturbing.
We’re all just trying to figure things out on this rock. And children don’t even have the tools to make that navigation successfully.
2. Qui-Gon Jinn
Qui-Gon Jinn’s appearance was a great way to end the series.
I wonder if Qui-Gon (Liam Neeson) saying “took you long enough” was a wink to fans who would have said the same thing to Qui-Gon. (And maybe said that very thing the moment they saw Qui-Gon appear.) They may have said that even if the possibility of Qui-Gon’s appearance hadn’t been hinted at multiple times during the series. Then there is the likelihood that Obi-Wan communed with Qui-Gon while in exile for 19 years given a statement from Yoda (Frank Oz) says in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, which was referenced in a prologue montage to begin the series.
3. ‘Hello there’
Obi-Wan said the line, which he has said multiple times in other Star Wars productions when meeting the boy Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely). That was probably fan service, but I’m not against fan service and it brands Obi-Wan better across the prequels, his show, and the original trilogy, where he also says the line. (And check out this anticipation and reaction by a theatrical audience to seeing Obi-Wan say “hello there” in the show.)
4. It doesn’t make sense that Reva was still alive in Kenobi
Vader stabbed Reva (Ingram) through her torso. Since that happened, that should have been the end of her.
5. The blend of Vader’s human and distorted voice and dividing his face between machine and man
It was tremendous art to visually and audibly combine Obi-Wan’s perception of Vader as Anakin and what Anakin was at that point (Vader). I also recalled seeing the mask/face divide in Star Wars Rebels. It was powerful to see it again, though.
6. Leia reaching out to Obi-Wan in A New Hope
Kenobi head writer and executive producer Joby Harold remarked on Obi-Wan saving Leia in Kenobi in terms of Leia’s (Carrie Fisher) plea to Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness) for help in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. He told The Hollywood Reporter, “It answers the question of, ‘Why him?’ So, ‘Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope,’ feels less arbitrary as a choice and a decision now that we know the depth of the history they have together. I liked the fact that it helped reinforce and better articulate a little piece of the jigsaw that is already in place.”
I thought multiple times about how tremendous it is while watching Part I.
7. Leia names her son after Obi-Wan
As Harold also told THR, “She also ends up naming her son ‘Ben’.” It makes sense that Leia would name her son after Obi-Wan since he answered her call for help and thus helped in her cause of ending tyranny in the galaxy. (It’s made sense to me since I was a boy, when I wrote stories where Leia’s son was named “Ben.”) Now that Obi-Wan rescued her when she was a girl, it seems that “Ben” would have been one of Leia’s top choices, if not the top choice. It only helps that “Ben” was Obi-Wan’s name not just when he helped her in A New Hope, but his name when he rescued her in the show.
8. Reva Sevander’s backstory that made her want to become an Inquisitor
It is an excellent idea that a youngling who survived Vader’s murder of fellow Padawans would try to get revenge on him. That was the case with Reva.
The parallels between Reva’s experiences with Vader in Revenge of the Sith and the trauma associated with it were excellent.
9. Telling stories that connect to Vader’s assault on the Jedi temple
We’ve seen that twice now, Reva’s story being the second time. Connecting the journeys of characters to the trauma they experienced is potent storytelling. And Order 66 scene that is at the start of Part I is exciting and sad. (Upon further review, it looks like young Reva, played by Ayaamii Sledge, is first seen in this scene.)
10. Quinlan Vos being alive in Kenobi
I skipped school to read about Vos in a Clone Wars graphic novel series at my local Barnes & Noble. Needless to say, Obi-Wan’s mention of Vos made me happy and I’m excited that in the new Star Wars canon, Vos is alive at least as of Kenobi.
11. Obi-Wan meeting Luke in Kenobi
In A New Hope, Luke (Mark Hamill) knows who Obi-Wan is. It now makes more sense since the two meet in Kenobi.
Given how much Owen Lars didn’t want Obi-Wan to be part of Luke’s life, I wonder how likely it would have been that Luke knew who Obi-Wan was if Owen never allowed for familiarity at any point in time.
12. The New Hope scene of Obi-Wan’s chat in his hut with Luke
Since Vader tells Obi-Wan that he killed Anakin Skywalker, it makes more sense why Obi-Wan tells Luke in A New Hope that Vader “betrayed and murdered” Anakin. It makes the story more than Obi-Wan truly did believe that Vader “murdered” Anakin – after all, Vader himself told Obi-Wan that!
13. Obi-Wan letting Vader live at the end of their second duel in Kenobi
At the end of Obi-Wan and Vader’s second duel in the show, after he can see his face, Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) views Vader (Hayden Christensen) as Anakin, but Vader says that he killed Anakin. (It also would have probably been powerful to Obi-Wan to see the former Anakin’s face while being told through that face that Anakin is gone.) Thus, it’s clear to Obi-Wan that Anakin is no more. Obi-Wan even acknowledged that when he called Vader “Darth.” And thus, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that Obi-Wan wouldn’t have finished off Vader there.
I know that Kenobi director Deborah Chow and the four people who wrote Part VI, where the duel takes place, couldn’t have Obi-Wan do that since Vader lives past that moment in canon. However, they could have had the duel end without Obi-Wan thinking that Anakin was gone.
Obi-Wan called Vader “Darth” at the end of their second fight in the show. It’s something he repeats in A New Hope. Obi-Wan seems to be saying that Anakin traded being someone who was loved for being just another Sith Lord. It also seems possible that Obi-Wan is saying that he knew Anakin. Now, he’s just twisted and evil – just another Darth like those Obi-Wan has seen before.
15. ‘That boy was our last hope’
This line from Obi-Wan in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back lacked some sense since Obi-Wan knew that Leia is Luke’s twin sister and we’ve seen since The Empire Strikes Back that Leia is Force-sensitive. But now, given Obi-Wan’s experience with Leia and given how he regards her, as we see given how he compliments her in Part VI, this comment seems off.
16. The return of the prequel era and Hayden Christensen apparently being de-aged very little for Kenobi
The training duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin was tremendous and a portion of the duel (where they go back-to-back) occurring during Obi-Wan and Vader’s second fight in the show was an incredible commentary on their relationship. Also, it was amazing to see Christensen reprise his role as Anakin for the shots showing his Jedi temple assault. However, Christensen now looks too much older than he did when his prequels were made to not de-age him more. He should have been made to look younger. (Multiple reports claim that Christensen was de-aged, but not much.)
17. ‘I will do what I must’
Revisiting a line first heard in Revenge of the Sith, with it being said both times before Obi-Wan and Vader duel, was beautiful.
18. Obi-Wan taking his stance
It was awesome that Obi-Wan took a stance he is first seen taking just before he fights General Grievous on Utapau in Revenge of the Sith, which has become one of his characteristics.
19. Obi-Wan needs to regain his strength in the Force
It makes sense that was necessary. Obi-Wan hadn’t needed to be a Jedi for a decade – and even seemed to be indifferent to being a Jedi for a moment.
20. Obi-Wan giving Luke the toy starship seen in A New Hope
Luke probably would have thought about Obi-Wan when playing with the toy. Thus, it gives more reason why Obi-Wan was on Luke’s mind in A New Hope – any reasons for Obi-Wan being on Luke’s mind weren’t limited to one introduction nine years earlier.
21. Emperor Sheev Palpatine
It was interesting to see Ian McDiarmid actually at an age where he wouldn’t have needed to have as much makeup applied to him as it was when he played Palpatine in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. And it’s always good to see him. (Except when it doesn’t make sense.)
22. Obi-Wan is buoyed in the Force in Kenobi due to the children
Obi-Wan is able to survive his second duel in the show and gain power against Vader because his thoughts about Luke and Leia lifted him. And he probably remained concerned in the moment that Vader would find them. This is powerful. What parent who loves their children hasn’t been moved to do things they otherwise would not have done because of their kids?
23. ‘The Imperial March’
Out loud, I said “just play The Imperial March” while seeing Vader as he marches on Jabiim in Part V, but I am fine with it having been saved for the end of the scene where Vader speaks with Palpatine. Further, I would have wanted that had I known there would be a Vader-Palpatine scene.
24. ‘Will I ever see you again?’
This is word-for-word a line that Anakin says in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Thus, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Leia says the same thing. Perhaps it’s also supposed to suggest that Leia loves Obi-Wan, like Anakin loved his mother, Shmi Skywalker (Pernilla August).
25. ‘Years ago, you served my father in the Clone Wars’
When Leia says this in A New Hope, it seems that she did so to familiarize Obi-Wan with her. Now, it seems that she more likely would have referred to her own experience with him.
26. Owen Lars’ antagonism towards Obi-Wan as seen in A New Hope
This reinforced Owen’s feelings towards Obi-Wan in A New Hope and reinforced that there was a barrier between Luke and his knowledge of the outside world as it pertained to him, who he was, and his potential. That’s not saying that Owen (Joel Edgerton) and Beru Lars (Bonnie Piesse) shouldn’t be commended for raising Luke.
And Owen was a good guy. It was impactful to see Owen be so serious about his duty to take care of Luke just after Owen and Obi-Wan talked near the end of Part VI. I’m sure that’s actually why Owen didn’t want Obi-Wan involved in Luke’s life.
27. The return of ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away’
Seeing the famous phrase again in a new Star Wars production (and the first in a Disney+ show, given my research and recollection) was thrilling. I would have been fine if at least all the canon Star Wars productions had started that way.
28. Vader’s castle
I loved to see Vader’s castle as I did in Rogue One: A Star Wars: Story. It’s horrible that Vader has to be where he was immolated.
29. Portrayals how evil Vader is
Vader is so evil at this point and that was well-portrayed in Kenobi. Perhaps the best example of this was seeing him snap a man’s neck through the Force.
30. References by Vader to Obi-Wan in the original trilogy
Besides all occurrences between the two characters prior to Kenobi, Vader has even more reason to obsess over Obi-Wan given that he failed in hunting Obi-Wan and lost another lightsaber duel to him. Thus, even though remarks like “Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me” and “Obi-Wan has taught you well” make sense even if Vader wasn’t obsessed with him.
31. The prequel montage
The montage, which began the show, was great. And seeing the scene where Anakin learns that Palpatine is the Sith Lord the Jedi seek reminded me of how good that scene is. I don’t doubt that part of the reason is it allowed McDiarmid to use acting skills as he did when starring in several Shakespeare plays.
32. Vader visuals
Thrusting his hand forward at neck level to use the Force against Reva. Stopping a ship and tearing doors off it, both through the Force. Holding a double-bladed lightsaber.
Visuals of Vader in Kenobi were riveting.
And I’m sure fans of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game loved the ship visuals.
33. Remarks by Vader to Obi-Wan in A New Hope
In A New Hope, before Vader and Obi-Wan begin their duel, Vader says, “When I left you, I was but the learner.” Because of the show, there have been two duels since Vader left the Jedi Order. Thus, it’s a little off for Vader to reference something preceding other encounters they have had.
34. Obi-Wan letting Luke grow up
At the end of Part VI, Obi-Wan said that Luke should be able to grow up. He seems to have retreated from wanting to train Luke at a younger age than he started doing – in an earlier episode, Obi-Wan told Owen that Luke must be trained. Obi-Wan did preface it with “when the time comes,” but a point of the show seems to have been that Obi-Wan came to favor letting Luke be a kid and grow up. That also explains why Obi-Wan didn’t start training him any earlier than 19 years old if he still believed in the old Jedi Order protocol of training Padawans young.
35. ‘May the Force be with you’
It was emotional to see Tala Durith (Indira Varma) say that before she pays the ultimate sacrifice. The phrase was as well-used as it ever has been in the Star Wars franchise.
36. Vader trying to exact revenge on Obi-Wan
Vader was fortunate to be in a position in Part III to try to get Obi-Wan to burn as Vader burned in Revenge of the Sith. However, I still liked it.
37. ‘It’s a tomb’
The Empire showcased Jedi they murdered. Chilling.