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Obi-Wan Kenobi TV Reviews: What Are Critics' First Reactions?

Obi-Wan Kenobi
By Richard Nebens

Following a three-month hiatus, Lucasfilm and Disney are officially back in business with the release of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor's first time with the live-action franchise in 17 years. With this series having been in development for most of the past three years, anticipation is at an all-time high to see the former Jedi Master take the spotlight once again.

Obi-Wan Kenobi comes with four decades of history behind it in the long-standing Star Wars franchise, finally filling in the Jedi's unknown story between the events of 2005's Revenge of the Sith and 1977's A New Hope. Tasked with protecting a young Luke Skywalker from the Dark Side's Inquisitors, first seen in the animated Star Wars: Rebels series, McGregor's hero is in for possibly his most challenging adventure ever.

During this weekend's Star Wars Celebration, fans at the event had the opportunity to watch the first two full episodes with the show's stars themselves - namely McGregor and Darth Vader star Hayden Christensen. Now, as fans across the world partake in those two episodes and reunite with McGregor's iconic Star Wars heroes, the first reactions to Obi-Wan's Disney+ story have been released into the wild.

Fans & Critics Share First Reactions to Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Star Wars

Fans and critics at Star Wars Celebration 2022 shared their reactions to the first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, which played in full at the event before releasing on Disney+ at 12:00 am ET (three hours ahead of schedule).

Total Film noted the "unexpected way" in which Obi-Wan gets pulled into the action during Episode 1:

"First episode over — and wow, what a start to Obi-Wan, a very special premier that pulls Obi into the action in a very unexpected way. Glad they’re releasing two at once, because one is not enough!"

ComicBook's Brandon Davis described the first entry as "really surprising" with "a really intriguing start," hinting how much it feels like more is on the way in the latter four episodes:

"Obi-Wan Kenobi's first episode is really surprising! I really enjoyed it in ways that I wasn’t expecting. Some big character moments and surprising plot lines drive it to set up a really intriguing start. It feels like there’s still so much more to come."

Davis shared an update after Episode 2, simply telling fans to find out how good it is for themselves:

"Obi-Wan Kenobi gets off to a great start. Loved the first 2 episodes. Just watch it. No spoilers here!"

JoBlo gave Obi-Wan's first episode a perfect score, praising it as a "fantastic bridge" between the first two Star Wars trilogies and noting how fans were in tears in the audience at Celebration:

"Obi-Wan is 10/10. Absolutely fantastic bridge between the prequels and original trilogy. People are crying in the audience. Full review soon."

Newsy correspondent Clayton Sandell called the series a straight-up "masterpiece:"

"Obi-Wan Kenobi is a masterpiece. The best of Star Wars, old and new. Truly next-level. Incredibly cinematic storytelling with so many surprises.  It’s going to occupy a very, very special place in the Star Wars pantheon."

YouTuber Warren Thompson aka Cosmic Wonder praised the series' nostalgic story elements:

"The first 2 episodes of Kenobi are amazing. Full of nostalgia and really go into how Obi Wan feels after episode 3 ROTS. Amazing story so far. AMAZING. I’m hooked."

Obi-Wan Kenobi left Collider's Maggie Lovitt "speechless," simply calling the first two episodes "incredible."

The Direct's own Andrew Gilman expressed how the show "feels cinematic and character driven" more so than any other Star Wars Disney+ show to date:

"Fantastic start for Obi-Wan Kenobi. The series feels cinematic and character driven in ways that other Star Wars projects haven't. Intensity is up to 11."

Nerdist's Lee Travis praised McGregor for "(bringing) the emotion" as an aged-up Obi-Wan, calling his eye-acting "next level:"

"Obi-Wan Kenobi first reactions, Ewan McGregor brings the emotion as an older Kenobi. His eye acting is next level. The sorrow of the galaxy is center stage and felt everywhere."

Laughing Place was at a loss for words other than telling fans to "expect the unexpected:"

"The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi are GREAT and SURPRISING as all heck. I don’t know what else to say except expect the unexpected and prepare for so many amazing moments."

Podcast host Alden Diaz had nothing but praise for director Deborah Chow, saying that she simply doesn't miss after her work on The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan Kenobi:

"Between her work on The Mandalorian & Obi-Wan Kenobi, Deborah Chow has now directed four of my all-time favorite installments of Star Wars. This. Woman. Does. Not. Miss. A genius. A brilliant artist."

Screen Rant's Ash Crossan put it quite simply in saying that the show "is very good."

Gizmodo's James Whitbrook felt that the show's callbacks and connections to the wider franchise managed to avoid modern Star Wars' perceived tendency to fall into "emotional manipulation," whilst praising Ewan McGregor's performance:

"Obi-Wan Kenobi... is good. It's the rare example of modern SW leaning on continuity connections that make sense instead of emotional manipulation, and it's anchored in a truly incredible performance by Ewan McGregor as a broken, haunted man relearning who he is. I'm impressed!"

Obi-Wan Kenobi got Comicbook.com's Jenna Anderson feeling emotional, saying that she had "forgotten what it’s like to feel this unabashedly, hopelessly in love with Star Wars:"

"I cried maybe half a dozen times watching the first two Obi-Wan Kenobi episodes. Everything about this show already feels so incredibly special. Deborah Chow and Natalie Holt are GOATS. I’d forgotten what it’s like to feel this unabashedly, hopelessly in love with Star Wars."

Charles Murphy of Murphy's Multiverse used his reaction to call for director Deborah Chow to get more work:

"Thoroughly loved these episodes of Obi-Wan. As expected, Deborah Chow nailed it. Please give her more work."

Film/TV critic Tessa Smith had much praise for many of the characters, including Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan, Moses Ingram's Reva, and Kumail Nanjiani's Haja, but admitted that a certain spoiler was what pushed the series over the edge for her:

"Obi-Wan Kenobi is visually stunning with MASSIVE action sequences! Incredible to see Ewan back! Reva is badass. Kumail is hilarious (of course) but it's [SPOILERS] who STEALS THE SHOW! That ep 2 cliffhanger will leave fans with CHILLS. I'm SHOOK."

Decider shared their reaction to the series, calling Deborah Chow's direction an "auteur vision:"

"Obi-Wan review! First two episodes screened at Star Wars Celebration — a nail biting thriller that feels larger than any previous Star Wars series. An auteur vision of the galaxy with a heart wrenching performance from Ewan McGregor. It feels like the first real Star Wars *drama*."

The Force is With Obi-Wan Kenobi

Looking at these first reactions to Lucasfilm’s third live-action Disney+ show, this franchise shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Whether it be new stories like The Mandalorian or blasts to the past like Andor and Obi-Wan Kenobi itself, the galaxy far, far away brings yet another thrilling piece of content to add to the growing legacy. 

While no spoilers have made it to the public yet, Lucasfilm and Disney surprised fans by releasing the first two episodes on Disney+ at 9PM PST instead of its usual midnight slot. This allows viewers to start the discussion even sooner about how Obi-Wan comes back into the fold, celebrating the intergalactic franchise's return to glory.

The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi are now available to stream on Disney+.