Even after the largely underwhelming The Book of Boba Fett, I’m still here, Disney+, ready to be dazzled with more stories set in that galaxy far, far away. Even if it means spending more time on Tatooine or Mos Eisley Cantina, I’m always primed and ready for more Star Wars, especially when Obi-Wan Kenobi is involved.
This is why my inner fan burst through my chest and praised the high heavens when the new Obi-Wan Kenobi teaser trailer hit. Not only did the two-minute montage look beautiful, but it also sounded immaculate — John Williams’ “Duel of the Fates” never gets old, people. We got more of what I personally want to see in a Star Wars show, i.e. Jedi, lightsabers, Inquisitors, and the ongoing conflict with the Emperor. For all the vast galaxies, civilizations, and species that exist across this sprawling universe, Star Wars works best when it focuses on the Galactic Empire, its Stormtroopers, and dark warriors. And the Obi-Wan trailer delivers those elements and then some.
We see a cool-looking spaceship flying towards a dark space station nestled in an ocean, a look at Rupert Friend’s lightsaber-wielding Grand Inquisitor, as well as Moses Ingram’s Inquisitor Reva, and Sung Kang’s Fifth Brother. There are shots of characters running through Blade Runner-like cities, leaping over neon signs and dimly-lit alleyways; not to mention plenty of spectacular action, all of which likely encompasses the first episode.
More pivotally, we see Ewan McGregor’s weary (and Christ-like) Obi-Wan Kenobi keeping tabs on a young Luke Skywalker (whose brief cameo is a little too on the nose, but whatever) from afar, and even get a few shots of Joel Edgerton’s Uncle Owen.
In short, I’m hooked. Please, Disney, don’t blow this opportunity by turning Obi-Wan into another glorified fan-wanking exercise. We don’t need to see Obi-Wan purchase that toy spaceship Luke plays with in A New Hope. We don’t need a scene in which the grizzled Jedi bumps into Ponda Baba at the Cantina, or beckons visitors with a “Hello there!” And we certainly don’t need to hear Darth Vader exclaim something along the lines of: “I’m just a learner” during his anticipated smackdown with his former mentor.
What we do need is a reason for this show to exist, an important detail the Disney Star Wars line has overlooked. Sure, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker offered splashy entertainment, but did we really need them? Ditto with Solo and Rogue One; good films, for sure, but neither offered anything new to Star Wars lore. You learn where Han got his blaster, how he met Chewbacca and got his name in one, and a little more about the intricate plot to steal the Death Star plans in the other — but none of that information amounts to much in the grand scheme of the Star Wars saga.
Then there’s The Book of Boba Fett, a series whose sole reason for existing was to give fans the ultimate kick of seeing the legendary bounty hunter ride a Rancor. Yeah, let’s not do that again.
Instead, Obi-Wan Kenobi should explore the guilt and pain our hero feels as a result of his past failures. Perhaps he slips into the Dark Side and allows his anger to get the better of him. Or, he becomes so wracked with grief he can no longer control the Force. Either case opens the doors for some truly radical explorations into the very nature of the Jedi and/or Sith, which could be really interesting.
As for Darth Vader, let’s see what really makes him tick. Does he feel remorse for anything he’s done? Is he sad? Angry? Conflicted about his choices? Obviously, there will be a moment where Obi-Wan senses some good in him before he’s completely shrouded in darkness, but what keeps Darth lingering on the fence? This series can fully explore Anakin Skywalker in a satisfying way and make the prequels (and subsequent Clone Wars series) all the better for it. There’s a real opportunity here to do something very special.
Finally, it would be interesting to see Anakin dealing with his new condition. The series could follow him as he hunts down surviving Jedis and must adopt a new style of fighting to fit his robotic trappings. Perhaps he leans more on his abilities with the Dark Side to compensate for his lumbering physicality or takes part in new egregious acts of violence to power up his evil meter a little more. Maybe he takes on an apprentice like in The Force Unleashed games, or attempts to rally Obi-Wan to his cause.
When Obi-Wan Kenobi ends, we should know something personal about these characters we didn’t already know. Give us a reason to care about this series by adding emotional depth atop the whiz-bang action. You got McGregor back, you got Edgerton back, you got Hayden Christensen back, along with Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, the Emperor, Inquisitors … this has all the makings of a legendary Star Wars experience on par with The Empire Strikes Back.
So, as stated before, Disney Star Wars, you have my attention. But, please … don’t turn it into Bantha Poodoo.