I’ve now seen the first Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi episode, and I have a report. The good news is that Ewen McGregor, Jimmy Smits, and whoever the guy is who plays Owen Lars are all in fine form. They successfully reprise their roles from the movies.
That is where the good news ends. The writing is awful. It starts with a movie recap of Episodes 1 through 3 that includes some of the more violent bits. Contrasted with the tone of Leia frolicking in the forest later, the tone swings wildly between adult-themed and kid-friendly.
The replacement Sith, “brother” this and “sister” that, do the blah blah blah exposition. They’re looking for Jedi to capture or kill, and one of them is hot to grab Kenobi. Meanwhile Kenobi is hiding on Tatooine, having abandoned all things Jedi. He’s working as a butcher and it doesn’t pay well. He doesn’t care. Other than watching from a distance over Luke, Obi-Wan has no real mission in life. He’s kind of a loser.
This idea that Kenobi has become a coward grates, and it’s not like we’ve not already seen the reluctant superhero schtick in the Star Wars universe before. The former Jedi youngling who finds Kenobi on Tatooine and begs for his help is summarily dismissed. Ben got no time for that.
Meanwhile on Alderaan, Leia casually disobeys her adoptive parents and runs away from her guards. We’re meant to find this cheeky, endearing, or otherwise cute. We don’t. The poor young actress they’ve got portraying Leia bears a passing resemblance to Carrie Fisher, but that’s the best one can say. She is not particularly athletic, so the forest chase scene is a dreadful slapstick affair. I’m not certain that a better actress could have pulled this off; it’s all trite and clunky.
After the Mandalorian, episodes of which ranged from good to great, I think viewers reasonably expected a lot better than this. I’m sure I’ll finish out Kenobi if only to see how bad it can be. I’m betting pretty bad.