Obi Wan Kenobi (Lucasfilm) on Disney+
With all of the gaps currently being filled in by series like Star Wars Rebels and the Bad Batch, even in a rather masterful way, it’s a bit of a strange experience to see flashbacks to any of the prequel trilogy before the beginning of a new series – but that’s what we’re treated to at the beginning of Obi Wan Kenobi, who is again portrayed by Ewan MacGregor – a bit wiser after the recklessness of those years, who found himself bound to Tattooine. For the first in a long time, it seems a character has a legitimate reason to be stuck on a desert planet in this franchise – watching over the Skywalker farm as the former council expected him to do.
It’s a perilous time to be a Jedi – with Imperial Order 66 in full swing. The newly established Empire is determined to bring down all memory of the Old Republic and do it in rather swift order – which is why they’ve enlisted the help of Sith Inquisitors alongside the Imperial troops. With Obi Wan being one of the most formidable Jedi masters left and a hero of the Clone Wars, he’s fairly high at the top of the list – and forced to act in a way that’s antithetical to pretty much everything he’s believed in, as he shuns former pupils who have so far managed to avoid the carnage, spending his days not making eye contact with anyone who might remember what he did just a few years ago.
There aren’t a whole lot of Jedi left – so the Sith lords need to resort to new ways to draw them out of hiding – beyond traveling from town to town, and attacking random citizens, knowing that any remaining knights will try to rescue that person. What seems a bit unconvincing is that we don’t really see anyone with a particular prejudice against Jedis yet – something that would inevitably occur before a formal effort to exterminate them.
Until now, the inquisitors have been rather insidious-looking alien monsters in every incarnation, but one of the most ruthless may in fact be an ordinary human – Reva Sevander (played here by newcomer Moses Ingram). She’s hard all that intimidating – and in fact, at her first appearance, we wonder if she’ll gradually come to question everything she was taught as a student of the Sith. This would be a fatal mistake, however, particularly in an age when the Star Wars franchise generally does a good job of character arcs on their villains – even in the more divisive projects like THE LAST JEDI.
The inquisitors themselves eviscerate village after village in their path, stopping a few who dare to speak out against the Empire and its love of tyranny, but no one all that prominent. Reva isn’t so much disillusioned by all the slaughter as she is disappointed that they still have yet to catch their biggest fish. After being consumed with enough guilt at seeing his own kind slaughtered, Kenobi ultimately heeds a call from Bail Organa to rescue the future Princess Leia – unaware that his loyalty to the Old Republic has dragged him into the Sith’ greatest trap yet. It’s one that will surely please the Grand Inquisitor and the rather elusive Darth Vader, and if it doesn’t – Reva can just slaughter them. The Empire, after all, is ruthless, and loyalty only needs to run one way.