Obi-Wan Kenobi - Review
Obi-Wan Kenobi has saved its best until last in an episode that’s a near-essential piece of Star Wars viewing.
This review contains full spoilers for episode six of Obi-Wan Kenobi, now available to view on Disney+. To remind yourself of where we left off, check out our Obi-Wan Kenobi: Episode 5 Review.
Obi-Wan Kenobi has saved its best until last. Stories come to an end, and others are only enriched by a fantastic season finale that delivers on both action and emotion alike. Ewan McGregor excels in building out the legend of the Jedi Master further, delivering some of his best moments as Kenobi in an episode that’s a near-essential piece of Star Wars viewing.
Once again, Obi-Wan Kenobi serves us heavy doses of nostalgia with the A New Hope-inspired freighter chase, with Leia on board pursued by a Darth Vader aboard a Star Destroyer. But the princess isn’t his target this time around, it’s Obi-Wan. Kenobi’s decision to evacuate the ship in order to save everyone on board is an effective one on many levels – it allows for a suitably tender moment between the Jedi and young Leia, but also serves the larger story well by further reinforcing the logic of Leia calling for Kenobi the next time she finds herself in this exact situation.
Ewan McGregor has perfectly re-embodied the role of Obi-Wan throughout the series, delivering the leadership we’ve come to expect from the character, but also showing a softer side. His relationship with Leia, played charmingly by Vivien Lyra Blair, formed the crux of earlier episodes but was neglected in recent ones. It’s therefore great to see them get a dedicated moment to say their farewell for now and wrap a bow on a story that has genuinely enhanced our understanding of the characters and their connection to one another further than the films ever did.
The fight delivers in all regards and now stands as the best between the two.
The other inescapable bond the show centres around is obviously between Vader and his former master. Vader’s obsession leads to another duel between the two, and the moment Obi-Wan silently equips his lightsaber signals we’re in for a good time. The fight delivers in all regards and now stands as the best between the two, channelling the tension and grandiose nature of Mustafar without the need for gymnastics and cheesy one-liners, and also blending it with the classiness of their eventual showdown on the Death Star. It’s an exciting battle that shows Obi-Wan’s strength has returned, displaying it in impressive fashion by slinging boulders at Vader like he’s taking on an Elden Ring boss with a sorcery-heavy build.
The moonlit planet provides a cinematic backdrop for the occasion, once again proving every lightsaber duel is greatly enhanced by taking place in darkness, so red and blue can flood the screen with every swing. Natalie Holt’s reworked themes swell in the big moments, providing music fit for the occasion, even if a small part of me really wanted Duel of the Fates to drop in all its glory. The choreography is yet again a fantastic marriage of aggression and restraint, embracing a dynamic combination of swordplay and force powers.
The most effective part of the showdown is not the fight itself however, but the words spoken between the two old friends once Vader’s helmet is sliced open. For a moment in time, this all-consuming darkness retreats to reveal that a part of Anakin remains. A teary Ewan McGregor is especially superb as you really feel the sadness in Obi-Wan, his regret mirroring Anakin’s anger. Vader’s voice slipping in and out of both Hayden Christensen’s and James Earl Jones is a fantastic way of showing the ongoing battle within him, a fight the dark side is definitely winning, at least for now. This realisation that Anakin is already considered dead by Vader is seemingly enough resolution for Obi-Wan, who considers his fight to be with the former Jedi, not his new Sith form. Walking away may well give him the satisfaction and closure he needs, but you can’t help but feel like finishing him off would’ve saved the galaxy a whole lot of trouble down the line.
Vader's voice slipping in and out of both Hayden Christensen's and James Earl Jones is a fantastic way of showing the ongoing battle within him.
The finale does a reasonably good job at upping the stakes and throwing a dash of jeopardy into the mix, especially when we know that every main character – all the way down from Kenobi to Aunt Beru – is going to survive. Someone whose destination was unclear was always going to be Reva, now a hobbling husk of her former self after her humbling at the hands of Vader. She stalks the Lars homestead like something out of a slasher film, hunting for Luke to salvage some form of revenge on Anakin. This plotline serves its purpose in giving Reva a satisfactory, if not predictable, end to her story, but in truth you can’t help but let out a small sigh every time we cut back Tatooine as we’d much rather stick with the much more exciting Vader and Kenobi encounter.
This serves as a metaphor for the whole show really, which has felt caught between telling an Obi-Wan story and one about the Inquisition. Both have been done to decent effect, but you can’t help but wonder if there are two great individual series tussling within Obi-Wan Kenobi that have been meshed together to create one often unfocussed one. Although not seamlessly woven throughout this episode, it does very little to take away from an otherwise thrilling spectacle. Plus, we finally got a strong burst of the Imperial Theme and a repeat of that one line we’ve been waiting for. It turns out good things do come to those who wait.
Ewan McGregor returns in the iconic role of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi for a special event series on Disney+. The series begins 10 years after the dramatic events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith where he faced his greatest defeat, the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker turned evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.