Obi-Wan Kenobi lands in our galaxy later next month, with the first two episodes dropping simultaneously on Disney+. In what already promises to be a massive weekend for fans thanks to Star Wars Celebration, the highly-anticipated series becomes a reality after years of campaigning for Ewan McGregor's return. After 17 years, the Jedi Master is finally back.
Things are off to a promising start, as the teaser trailer released in March blew the minds of fans worldwide. Aside from the memeing of the Grand Inquisitor's appearance, the Star Wars faithful have been extremely impressed with the production quality the series boasts and the promise of big things to come when it debuts. Major discussion about the narrative won't transpire until the show's run has concluded, but the gist is evident.
The era in which Obi-Wan Kenobi is set is called the Dark Times for a reason. As the Empire reigns with little open pushback, any Jedi lucky enough to survive Order 66 are being hunted down and defeated. Darth Vader oversees the operation to eliminate members of the ancient religion, dispatching his Inquisitors to deal with the lesser Jedi who are unworthy of his time.
With the titular character leaving Tatooine, Obi-Wan Kenobi is set to give another look at this haunting experience - only the Imperial forces will be up against one of the greatest Jedi of his generation. To make the series a story worth telling, it's necessary to force Kenobi off-world and challenge his faith in the Order before facing his fallen pupil, something the screenwriter has given considerable thought to.
Obi-Wan Kenobi Writer Talks Vader and Hope
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, screenwriter Joby Harold made clear that Obi-Wan Kenobi viewers are in for an inherently darker story than most Star Wars projects:
"It takes place 10 years after Revenge of the Sith, in a time of darkness in the galaxy. The Empire is in the ascendancy. And all the horrors that come with the Empire are being made manifest throughout the galaxy. And the Jedi Order as we know them are being all but wiped out. So everything that was in the prequels has crumbled."
The byproduct of the prequels' events was Darth Vader - who relentlessly pursues any surviving Jedi:
"Those surviving Jedi, those that do survive, are on the run, and they're in hiding. And Vader and his Inquisitors are chasing them to the end of the galaxy."
Obi-Wan himself has struggled to find hope and faith in the ways of the Jedi, something the screenwriter promises will be explored:
"Within that hopeless fatalistic world, we find possibly the most famous of all our surviving Jedi in hiding struggling with that faith that defines the Jedi, and wanting to hold onto it and hoping to regain that faith within that sort of hopeless world."
As the series progresses, Obi-Wan will be tested and regain his faith, leading to the wizened mentor seen in A New Hope:
"Within that environment and that galaxy, his faith is tested. And he goes on a journey that allows him to travel from that character that we saw in the last of the prequels, where [McGregor] really felt like he was embodying Obi-Wan Kenobi to a pretty extraordinary degree, and ends with him as the more finished article that Sir Alec Guinness gave to the world in A New Hope. And so in this very specific time in the history of Star Wars, when the Jedi are on run, we get to sort of stand next to and watch Obi-Wan as he runs the gauntlet and has to survive a pretty extraordinary experience."
The Master's Journey
By all accounts, it sounds like Obi-Wan Kenobi will be character defining for the titular hero. Obi-Wan was largely a completed work when Revenge of the Sith came along, serving as the mature mentor and brother figure to Anakin Skywalker - but his blind faith in the Jedi Code left his friend vulnerable to manipulation. With Anakin turning and the Jedi falling, it's little wonder why Kenobi would have a crisis of faith.
As the character's mentality in A New Hope dictates, Obi-Wan will triumph over the challenges he faces and come out stronger than before. Sometimes seemingly complete characters need to be broken down and built back up in order to grow, and that's precisely what will be happening with Kenobi. The Jedi Master feels responsible for so much of what went wrong with Anakin, and this upcoming journey will lead to inner peace.
The only way for him to truly conquer his demons is to face them - and in this case, that means confronting Darth Vader. Anakin Skywalker's story is a tragedy, but he can't be reached by his former master. While Obi-Wan may try, he'll come to realize that Anakin is too far gone and there's nothing he can do. What Luke managed to accomplish years later was nothing short of improbable, but that isn't something Kenobi will be capable of.
It doesn't seem likely that the Inquisitors will give Obi-Wan much of a run for his money. Perhaps a first encounter will show that he's rusty, but a duel with Vader is where things truly become challenging. Obi-Wan will be up against a figure who outmatches him in size and power, and the man behind the mask will be tormenting the Jedi. Through perseverance and belief in the Jedi way, Kenobi will come out strong and turn into the crazy old wizard living out beyond the Dune Sea.
Obi-Wan Kenobi debuts on Disney+ on May 27.