Ewan McGregor gets the “Star Wars” adventure he so desperately deserves.
By Brad Gullickson Published 10 March 2022
Star Wars Explained is our ongoing series where we dive into the latest Star Wars shows, movies, trailers and reports to guess the future of the franchise. This entry cuts into the Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi trailer and discusses some notable moments.
Whatever your opinion of the star wars prequels, we can all agree that Ewan McGregor was perfectly interpreted as the young version of Alec Guinness. It juggled wisdom, bravado and naivety convincingly, presenting a Jedi Knight on the brink of a tragic fall. Now, 17 years after we last saw him as a Clone Wars crusader, McGregor returns to the role. However, this time he is center stage, in star wars: Obi–Wan Kenobi.
We’re months away from release (May 25), but the first trailer is here, and it’s packed with plenty of goodies. The Obi-Wan we see below is in an incredibly different headspace than he was in during Revenge of the Sith, or where he will be when he faces Darth Vader for the last time. This Obi-Wan is not quite in exile, but his hope hangs on oblivion. His eggs are all in one basket, and that basket is called Luke Skywalker.
We see a lot of sand in the trailer, but the director of the series Deborah Chow promises Obi–Wan Kenobi will escape Tatooine. She does not try to reproduce Boba Fett’s Bookthe dusty visual palette of . Phew. And from what we can tell here, some seriously sinister and familiar agents will pull Obi-Wan out of hiding.
So, let’s dive into this thing and get out some shots. Obi–Wan Kenobi exists in a particularly unpleasant time within star wars continuity, and that seems aligned with where a lot of our own thoughts might linger these days. Darkness surrounds us; Can we be the light to chart a path for others? Plus, uh, there are some potential hidden cameos here among all the other goofy cameos front and center.
“The fight is over…we lost.” The trailer opens with an Obi-Wan dealing with the aftermath of the Clone Wars. The Republic is no more. The Empire takes over the entire universe. The light was extinguished by darkness, a darkness that consumed his best friend.
Obi–Wan Kenobi exists somewhere along the timeline near star wars: The bad lot. As we have seen in this series, this era is a dark landscape. Our heroes try to operate in secret, fighting the good fight in small battles, hoping that one small victory can lead to another. The Obi-Wan we meet in this series will undoubtedly be at rock bottom. Having so dramatically lost his crushed ego, it’s easy to imagine his cynicism on the rise. Yet he still holds Qui-Gon Jinn’s chosen prophecy close to his heart. Anakin was one strikeout, but there is another. There is always another.
“Now that’s podracing!”
The hermit keeps his distance. From his perch, Kenobi spies on the child he rescued and placed in Owen’s care (Joel Edgerton) and Beru Lars (Bonnie Piesse). Climbed aboard a cabana, young Luke Skywalker attempts his best podracing posture, unknowingly mimicking his father’s victorious performance in The Phantom Menace.
Watching McGregor observe Skywalker is one of the best bits of the trailer. What must his Obi-Wan be thinking? The little boy below represents an unknowable possibility. If he bears a fraction of his father’s skills, he could be a formidable force for good or evil. Considering where Obi-Wan resides emotionally, little Luke represents the lingering Light Side. He is the new hope on the horizon.
Of course, with our Return of the Jedi and The Last Jedi knowledge, we know that the child will help and hinder the future. Maybe no person is a thing. Maybe that’s what the Jedi got wrong in the prequels?
Darth Vader’s Jedi Kill Squad
Obi–Wan Kenobi will introduce Jedi Hunters to real-life action. Sitting with his back to the camera, we see Fifth Brother (Sung Kang) addressing Inquisitor Reva (Moses Ingram), a new cannon character. As explained in the star wars: rebels animated series, these Imperial agents work directly for Darth Vader, traveling the galaxy in search of rogue Jedi. Obi-Wan Kenobi would definitely top the list.
We know Vader, played by Hayden Christensenwill come back in Obi–Wan Kenobi and that a clash between them will be an epic rematch to rival whoever left Anakin in pieces on Mustafar. It doesn’t sound like something we’ll get for the first half of the show or even the first two-thirds. Vader will hang like a poisonous shadow over the series, with the action mostly centering on Reva and the Grand Inquisitor (Friend Rupert). These hunters will have a lot to prove to impress their Sith boss.
“The Jedi can’t help who they are…their compassion leaves a mark.” The Grand Inquisitor’s voiceover plays as Reva, seemingly Force, chokes bad sap on the streets of Mos Eisley as Owen looks on. Is she there for Obi-Wan? The question and its possible answer are curious.
When we meet Obi-Wan and Luke on Tattooine in A new hope, it doesn’t appear that Vader or the Empire are aware of their presence there. Thanks to star wars Marvel Comics, we know that Vader only becomes aware of Luke Skywalker’s existence after his Death Star dogfight with him. Whatever happens in Obi–Wan Kenobi can’t break this timeline.
So, is Obi-Wan leaving Tatooine to remove the scent of Luke Skywalker? It seems very likely. And whatever happens off-world between the Jedi Hunters and Obi-Wan will convince them never to look at Tatooine again until two mindless droids crash-land there.
“Where is he?”
As for the first trailer for Obi Wan Kenobi is concerned, the big bad of the series is the Grand Inquisitor. Seeing him in live-action is a little weird, because Friend’s face can’t be as thin as his. Star Wars: Rebels iteration. The actor leans heavily into his sinister voice and the spinning sabers cast an ominous glow over his mug, but the jury is still out on his creep factor.
The Grand Inquisitor is Vader’s number one watchdog. He is probably most famous for allowing his own death at the hands of Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) in the rebels episode “Fire Across the Galaxy”. He submitted to their duel because he believed his disappearance would incur Vader’s wrath. Yes, he loves his master so much. If only his master felt the same.
jedi breaking bad
Below the Grand Inquisitor is the Fifth Brother, seen here marching with Stormtroopers on the Hong Kong-inspired planet Daiyu. He was a Jedi who survived Order 66 and immediately switched sides when things looked most dire. He trained directly under Vader and even lost a hand in a practice session.
After the death of the Grand Inquisitor in rebels, Vader tasks Fifth Brother with destroying Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger. Eventually, he meets his demise alongside the Seventh Sister and Eighth Brother when they engage with former Sith Maul and former Jedi Ahsoka Tano. Hard is not always enough.
“No match for a good blaster.”
Inquisitor Reva encounters a dark figure in a Daiyu alley. It was a hard blow that made the hairs on my neck stand on end. His opponent’s blaster certainly looks like the one Han Solo usually carried. Is the villain’s return here possible?
Good, Solo: A Star Wars Story took place about 10 to 13 years before A new hope. Based on Luke Skywalker’s age in the trailer, Obi–Pale Kenobi seems fixed about 10 years later Revenge of the Sithi.e. 19 years before A new hope. So that would mean Obi–Wan Kenobi takes place right after Solomaking it a perfect place to continue the Maul/Crimson Dawn tease from that movie.
Han Solo might be on the hunt for these gangsters, which might bring him face to face with Reva. But not Obi-Wan. We know these two only met at the canteen in Mos Eisley. We also know that when they met, Han seemed pretty adamant that the Force was just a bunch of hokum. If he saw Reva in action, would he harbor such a feeling? Or maybe when Han mocks the ancient Jedi religion in A new hope, he does a bit of a pirate show. Play it cool.
Or, maybe, it’s just someone else’s blaster. Like, say, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), which we know for sure will have a show later down the line.
A mighty herd
The trailer cuts from the alley being pulled towards Obi-Wan Kenobi in a rooftop skirmish and blaster fire interrupting a flock of green birds. Their form is somewhat reminiscent of the Green Convor who frequently followed Ahsoka Tano. This bird, named Morai, was more owl-like in shape than these winged beauties, but we shouldn’t just dismiss them as poultry decoration.
In animated shows, animals have enormous significance. They are extensions of the Force, often protectors for our heroes. Obi-Wan Kenobi could definitely use creature friends even if they’re just comforting. And the placement of this shot towards the climax of the trailer suggests significance beyond enhancing the action.
What or who could emerge below them? Ahsoka Tano arrives at Obi–Wan Kenobi is not out of the realm of possibility. No one knew Anakin Skywalker better than his master and apprentice. They would have a lot to discuss in a post Revenge of the Sith meeting.
At the start of this story, neither should know Vader’s true identity. Tano doesn’t learn the truth until rebels. Obi-Wan doesn’t seem shocked by Vader’s appearance in A new hope. Obviously, it had been a while since they had seen each other, but the dark samurai outfit raised no eyebrows for Obi-Wan. So Vader’s reveal will happen on Disney+.
We crave it. We need it. We will get it.
Obi–Wan Kenobi starts broadcasting on Disney+ on May 25.
Related Topics: Ewan McGregor, Star Wars, Star Wars Explained
Brad Gullickson is a weekly columnist for Film School Rejects and senior curator for One Perfect Shot. When he’s not talking about movies here, he’s talking about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Follow him on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He she)