Ricky Church reviews the finale of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi…
The end has come for Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series and the finale did not disappoint at all. The sixth and final episode was emotional, tragic and impactful as Obi-Wan and Darth Vader met once again for a confrontation that reshapes certain aspects of the Original Trilogy. Director Deborah Chow and stars Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Moses Ingram and many more stick a landing that is satisfying and earned, especially if this is the last we see of McGregor as Obi-Wan.
It can be safe to say Star Wars fans went into this series with a pretty high bar set as Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy teased “the rematch of the century” between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader at the series’ initial announcement years ago. ‘Part VI’ certainly lived up to that promise as Obi-Wan once again used himself as a diversion to allow Leia, Roken and the many other families time to escape Darth Vader and his Star Destroyer, setting the stage for another encounter between the two old friends. For a fight that is already a foregone conclusion given Obi-Wan and Vader have their final confrontation 9 years from this point in time, it is pretty impressive how much tension the show was able to capture. Every blow felt powerful and the choreography was extremely well done with how much it harkened back to the Prequel style while also mixing in the Original’s more traditional style. For Vader in particular, he wasn’t spinning or jumping around nearly as much as Obi-Wan with his Prequel-like moves, but he wasn’t a slouch either as the choreography combined Vader’s brute size and strength with his lightsaber skills to show he could still take on Obi-Wan in a fight like this.
However, the real strength of their battle came on the emotional front as Obi-Wan and Vader each confronted their traumatic pasts. Vader’s partial unmasking was a standout sequence with terrific performances from both McGregor and Christensen. The pain and regret on McGregor’s face was incredibly tragic and his delivery of “I’m sorry” felt full of sorrow, but what topped it was Christensen’s reply. It’s an intriguing twist on their initial meeting in ‘Part III’ where Vader said “I am made what you made me” only to now absolve Obi-Wan of his guilt by admitting “I am not your failure. You didn’t kill Anakin Skywalker.” That brief glimmer of Anakin coming to the forefront was played perfectly by Christensen through what little of his face could be seen as well as the difference in his tone as Darth Vader (even if the blue and red lighting to signify the metaphorical change in personas was not very subtle). It put a nice cap on Obi-Wan and Vader’s relationship as well as cementing the belief Obi-Wan would later tell Luke on how Anakin Skywalker does not exist anymore.
Of course, the Obi-Wan/Vader fight wasn’t the only showdown the finale offered as there was still Reva’s loose end to tie up, bringing the series full circle to where it began. Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse were great in their brief roles as Owen and Beru Lars in what was a surprising development as they prepared their home to take on Reva themselves. It was a nice turn of events as it allowed the Obi-Wan story to focus on its own resolution while the secondary story largely came down to Owen, Beru and Reva’s own agency. Moses Ingram once again delivered a layered performance as Reva sought some sort of vengeance against Vader anyway she could with killing Luke and it was great to see Owen and Beru lock and load to protect their adoptive son (it makes one almost want to see events from A New Hope from their perspective to see if they died similarly preventing the Empire from tracking down Luke).
Ingram really sold the turmoil within Reva and this marked the first time audiences truly saw her. Her conversation with Obi-Wan was both bittersweet and cathartic as she faced her fear of becoming someone like Vader and the Inquisitors. Obi-Wan even began sounding much more like his older self, passing down some sage pieces of wisdom and compassion to Reva that helped her push past her pain and anger. Whether or not this is the last we see of Reva, Ingram did a great job throughout the season juxtaposing Reva’s arc with Vader’s and presenting a different kind of antagonist than we’ve seen in a Star Wars property lately.
Chow’s direction and Joby Harold’s script was great with how character-driven the story was. It would have been easy throughout the whole season to film plenty of action-packed sequences of Obi-Wan brandishing his lightsaber and epic duels with Vader and the Inquisitors, but they instead placed the emphasis on the emotion to explore how Obi-Wan became the wise Jedi Master Luke meets in A New Hope. The callbacks and call-forwards weren’t too on the nose either, whether it was the episode re-doing Vader’s chopped mask from Star Wars Rebels, Obi-Wan referring to Vader simply as ‘Darth’, or other references to The Last Jedi, A New Hope and “Hello there.” Even the cameos from Ian McDiarmid’s Palaptine and Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon were tastefully done in how they didn’t overpower the stories or characters they interacted with, but more signified the evolution they achieved.
Simply put, Obi-Wan Kenobi delivered on the character level and the performances from McGregor, Christensen, Ingram, Edgerton, Piesse and especially Vivien Lyra Blair as young Leia were fantastic. If this truly marks the final time we see McGregor as Obi-Wan (and make no mistake, there is plenty of potential to further explore Obi-Wan’s trials on Tatooine), the series has put a nice finishing touch on his tenure in the galaxy far, far away.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.