The recently concluded “Obi-Wan” had a number of tough hurdles to climb.
There has been an increase in nostalgia for the Star Wars prequel films in recent years. Some of that nostalgia is from people who have fond memories of seeing “The Phantom Menace” as children, and don’t really mind or care about how goofy that film got.
And some of that fond nostalgia is from people who feel that, for all of the stilted dialogue, directing and acting, at least George Lucas was trying to do something with the films, as the story of a society’s collapse into fascism and a hero’s moral collapse was, for many fans, a more interesting story than the films later overseen by J.J. Abrams, which are often criticized as being well-made rehashes of the original Star Wars trilogy.
But even if the prequels have a better reputation than they did maybe a decade ago, it’s far from the case that they’ve been completely rehabilitated in the public’s imagination.
People were furious at the time about the prequel films’ strange plot choices (so many mentions of midichlorians, so many discussions of trade routes), childish pandering (let’s not talk about Jar-Jar Binks) and often stilted performances, and that animosity still burns in many corners of the fan internet.
While Abrams’ films, starting with “The Force Awakens,” were arguably trying too hard to recreate the original trilogy’s magic, there is a reason why he seemed intent on pretending that the prequels never happened.
But beyond having to tackle the legacy of the prequels head-on, Disney (DIS) and “Obi-Wan” creator and director Deborah Chow also had the problem inherent to all prequels: the audience knows for a fact that certain characters can't die.
So while the narrative pull of “Princess Leia is captured and Obi-Wan has to rescue her” is a compelling pitch, we all know that she’s going to be fine, as will Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan can’t vanquish Darth Vader for good or else the original trilogy won’t happen. There’s an inherent ceiling on what a prequel can do, story wise, which is why smart prequels like “Better Call Saul” focus on world-building and deepening our understanding of established characters.
Beyond that, there’s the matter of giving just enough nods to the lore of Star Wars without collapsing into a season-long game of fan service.
So with that in mind, how did this season of “Obi-Wan” do?
Will There Be Another Season Of “Obi-Wan?”
The main reason that the “Obi-Wan” series happened in the first place was that after years of trying to politely distance himself from the films, Ewan McGregor began mentioning in interviews that he’d be up for revisiting the character. And Disney, always eager to make more Star Wars content, got to work, though the show’s plot line had to be retooled drastically before production finally began.
McGregor has already expressed a desire to do more with the character, telling British GQ, “I really hope we do another. If I could do one of these every now and again — I’d just be happy about it.”
But Chow recently seems a bit more hesitant, telling Entertainment Tonight, “For this one, we really did conceive it to be a limited series. It really is one big story with a beginning, middle and end. So, we weren’t thinking past that.”
“I think, you know, if it was to go forward, it would only be if there was a real reason for another one,” Chow added.
Lucasfilm president and “Obi-Wan” executive producer Kathleen Kennedy, generally considered the overseer of the Star Wars franchise, echoed Chow’s comments.
“Well, frankly, we did set out to do that as a limited series. But I think if there’s huge engagement and people really want more Obi-Wan, we’ll certainly give that consideration because the fans, they speak to us. And if we feel like, ‘OK, there’s a real reason to do this; it’s answering the why, then we’ll do it. But we’ll see.”
So…maybe? The show was a hit, bringing in more than 11 million viewers, and if McGregor wants to do another one, there’s a pretty strong chance it will happen eventually, even if the last episode (no spoilers, don’t worry) wraps things up in a way that it’s not clear where the story could go.
So What Did Twitter Think of “Obi-Wan” As A Whole?
Fans and critics certainly had their issues with “Obi-Wan,” mainly with the plot. While there are certain inherent limitations to what a show like this can do, sometimes the mechanism of the story just became thunderingly obvious. As The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh pointed out, there’s a lot of moments where characters are left for dead only to not be dead.
But beyond that, McGregor’s performance has been praised, with the actor smoothly handling the titular character’s progression from feeling guilty and defeated into the heroic character fans know from “A New Hope.”
And fans of Hayden Christensen that have long argued that the actor didn’t deserve the amount of scorn he received for from the prequels for his portrayal of the man who would be Darth Vader felt a level of vindication from “Obi-Wan,” especially for a climactic and highly emotional final battle that let the actor bring a level of pain to Vader that felt revelatory.
A show like this is going to draw audiences in with familiar actors and characters, but it needs fresh faces to truly sing. And a few racist idiots aside, Moses Ingram's performance as Reva Sevander aka the villainous Inquisitor Third Sister wowed many critics and fans, with the actor bringing a level of nuance to her character's vacillation between hero and villain.
So as is often the case with the Star Wars franchise, you have to take the good with the bad. Fortunately, most people think the latter didn’t outweigh the former.
The Hollywood Reporter thought the finale was poignant, deepening the tragedy of Darth Vader.
IGN was pretty satisfied as well.
Entertainment Weekly liked the Anakin Skywalker moment, but otherwise felt the series felt short.
Io9 also had a more mixed take.
The Mary Sue already wants another season!