Ewan McGregor returns to our screens, 17 years after his last appearance. Are the first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi a success?
In a very distant galaxy, a famous Jedi formalizes his return to our screens. 17 years later Revenge of the Sith, Ewan McGregor puts on the Obi-Wan Kenobi costume again, to the delight of fans of the saga. But is this return of the Jedi an intergalactic slap? Guaranteed spoiler-free review.
As fans celebrate the saga Star Wars, Disney+ finally unveils its new series inspired by the universe imagined by George Lucas. After The Mandalorianwhich introduced new characters, and The Boba Fett Book which relied on the popularity of the bounty hunter, Obi-Wan Kenobi hopes to play the nostalgia card with young and old fans. Three generations of spectators who should learn more about the destiny of this iconic character of the license.
Ten years after the birth of the Empire, Obi-Wan Kenobi keeps a low profile on Tatooine. In a battered galaxy, he is responsible for watching over the young Skywalker while making sure to stay away from the Inquisitors’ radars. These former Jedi, having fallen to the dark side of the force, hunt down the last survivors of the Order to impose once and for all the dominance of Palpatine and his minions.
But when a troop lands on the planet with two suns, this tranquility will be upset. Obi-Wan, who wanted to put his Jedi past behind him, has no choice but to retrieve his lightsaber to fight this new threat.
A Jedi you will become again
The first episode immerses us in the heart of the daily life of Obi-Wan, who now calls himself Ben. On Tatooine, the former Jedi lives a peaceful and solitary existence, working as a temporary worker on the local construction site. This is also the whole objective of this first episode, to confront Obi-Wan with his past to prepare the sequence of events.
A rather welcome slowness of narration, which makes it possible to contextualize the work and to dwell on the stigmata of previous opuses. A rebirth before the eyes of the spectators, who already see the epic confrontation between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan looming.
Whether we like the trilogy of the 2000s or not, we have to admit that the characters born of this vintage are among the most interesting. Obi-Wan is even arguably the densest protagonist, this series promises to add a few more layers.
Silent, Ewan McGregor finds with ease the character he camped for three opuses. Time has passed, it is adorned with an unprecedented gravity for the occasion. If McGregor’s talent is well established, this transfer adds a new star to his list. Obi-Wan is not quite the wise old manA New Hopebut also not the young Jedi who evolved alongside Qui-Gon Jinn.
However, we will have to wait for the second episode to get to the heart of the matter. And what a subject! Without saying too much about the plot, we will simply say that the narration takes paths that we were far from imagining. If the fan service is there, the narration does not forget to build a coherent course for its protagonists, at least on the first two episodes that we were able to discover.
Obi-Wan Kenobi gave birth to a new and most unexpected duo, but quite delightful. It will be hoped that this dynamic will be explored in more detail in the next sections. We won’t say more to preserve the surprise.
A new page to write
It’s the first time a live action production has explored the void between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. If the screenwriters Hossein Amini, Joby Harold and Andrew Stanton are moving on marked ground, the series must remain consistent with the rest of the saga, the idea of looking at the rise of the Empire is rather attractive.
These first episodes also perfectly manage to transcribe the way in which the regime crushes with its iron fist any hope of freedom in the very distant galaxy. The introductory scene is particularly striking, the tension is constant.
These first two parts succeed rather well in their business, juggling between pure moments of action and fights, and more introspective scenes; all with the aim of preparing the spectators for a dantesque meeting. For the moment, Obi-Wan Kenobi succeed where The Boba Fett Book failed, the production really has things to tell.
Like at home
Visually, the series deviates from the codes of the saga. Exit the transitions, the realization is imbued with a wind of renewal. Deborah Chow, who had already worked on a few episodes of the series The Mandalorian, puts all his talent at the service of this new adventure. Unprecedented in the Disney + galaxy, she will be behind the camera for all episodes.
If the fights of Boba Fett book clearly lacked impact and vigour, Obi-Wan Kenobi regales us with gripping and brutal action scenes. An effective staging that pays off just as much during quieter moments.
Deborah Chow also immortalizes the mythical settings of Tatooine, desert expanses that come to life thanks to Stagecraft technology from Industrial Light and Magic. Designed by the company for The Mandalorianthese LED screens display infinitely modular virtual sets.
A little like the painted canvases used in the early hours of cinema, these ultra-realistic decors allow you to work on the textures of the backgrounds with precision. Deborah Chow, who has already experimented with the process on The Mandalorianexploits it again with ease.
Even in the second episode, when the series plunges us into the heart of a steampunk atmosphere, the result is simply stunning. Add to that all the creatures that can be encountered in the series, in CGI or in costumes, and you have a joyful dive into the buzzing universe of the saga.
A note of nostalgia
The fans are obviously at the heart of the creative process of this series, Lucasfilm pays tribute to them by calling on John Williams for some scores. The composer orchestrated the theme ofObi Wanbut it is Natalie Holt who oversees the project.
After working on Loki, once again at Disney +, she delivers a much less thunderous score than in the cinematographic saga. Original music that is no less striking, although sometimes a little too far back.
The first two episodes of‘Obi-Wan Kenobi are a great surprise. After the disappointment Boba Fett bookthe saga Star Wars on the small screen finds colors, for our greatest pleasure. Let’s hope the series continues this momentum.
Discover Obi-Wan on Disney+