Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor)

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in Lucasfilm's 'Obi-Wan Kenobi,' exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

Premiering May 27th on Disney+ are the first two episodes of the new six-part ‘Star Wars’ series, ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi.’ Ewan McGregor reprises his role as the title character, and the series is set ten years after the events of ‘Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.’ In addition to McGregor, Hayden Christensen reprises his role as Darth Vader, as well as Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse as Owen and Beru Lars, respectively.

Directed by Deborah Chow (‘The Mandalorian’), the cast also includes Moses Ingram, Rupert Friend, Sung Kang, and Kumail Nanjiani. The result is an excellent start to a series that in its first two episodes seems more like a ‘Star Wars’ movie with a clear direction of where it’s going resulting in a satisfying television experience.

The series begins with a flashback to Order 66 as we watch a few younglings escape their deaths. Flashforward ten years later, and we are introduced to the Sith Inquisitors, Grand Inquisitor (Friend), Fifth Brother (Kang), and Reva Sevander (Ingram). They are hunting down Jedi across the galaxy, and Reva seems to have a personal vendetta against Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor), who is living in exile on Tatooine watching over Luke Skywalker. Soon, Reva enacts a plan to draw Kenobi out of hiding by kidnapping someone with close ties to the Jedi. Now, Obi-Wan must decide if saving that person is worth the risk of having young Skywalker revealed.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor)

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in Lucasfilm's 'Obi-Wan Kenobi,' exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

What ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ does best is tell a ‘Star Wars’ story that we haven’t seen before. For years fans have wondered how Obi-Wan got from the character McGregor played in ‘Revenge of the Sith’ to the Alec Guinness version we were introduced to in ‘A New Hope.’ If the first two episodes are any indication, fans will have their answers by the end of the series. The callbacks and use of nostalgia definitely work, and does not feel forced or merely for fan-service.

At the risk of spoiling anything, I will say there is a twist at the end of the first episode, which was unexpected and drove the plot of the second episode. One small criticism might be that it is a similar plot to season one of ‘The Mandalorian,’ but I don’t think that storyline will continue and it did help drive the story in the opening episodes. There is a fun back and forth between Kenobi and the person that he is trying to rescue, and the series plays with that dynamic well.

The Grand Inquisitor first appeared in the animated series ‘The Clone Wars’ and makes a fantastic jump to live action. The character is both scary and formidable, and played quite well by Rupert Friend. Sung Kang also gives a strong performance as the Fifth Brother but is not given as much to do in the first two episodes.

Reva looking at city

Reva (Moses Ingram) in Lucasfilm's 'Obi-Wan Kenobi,' exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

However, the breakout character of the series is definitely Reva Sevander and Moses Ingram gives a fantastic performance as the main antagonist (so far) to Obi-Wan. Her lust for revenge, and her lack of respect for the Grand Inquisitor make her an intriguing character to explore through the rest of the series.

Hayden Christensen only makes a brief appearance in the second episode, but clearly looks set for a larger role through the remaining episodes. Joel Edgerton has a few nice scenes returning as Owen Lars and is at his best standing up to both Kenobi and Reva.

Rounding out the new characters in the premiere episodes are Kumail Nanjiani as Haja, a con man who comes in contact with Kenobi. Nanjiani brings his particular brand of humor to the role and creates a character that will be interesting to see grow through the course of the series.

Director Deborah Chow, who is no stranger to ‘Star Wars’ after working on ‘The Mandalorian,’ clearly knows how to tell a grounded and exciting story set in this unique universe. While there is a lot of action and excitement in the opening episodes, there is also time for character development, especially with Reva and the title character. Chow also sets a tone that fits both the original and prequel series, as well as what they have created on Disney+ with ‘The Mandalorian’ and ‘The Book of Boba Fett.’

Ewan McGregor

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his eopie in a scene from Lucasfilm's 'Obi-Wan Kenobi,' exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

But the series clearly belongs to Ewan McGregor, who without it would just not work. Not only is he the embodiment of Obi-Wan for generations, he is also a great actor and obviously cares about this character. He isn’t just phoning it in, he is putting on a real layered performance.

Kenobi is not the arrogant young man we met in ‘Phantom Menace’ or the confident adult we saw in ‘Attack of the Clones,’ this is an older man dealing with the mistakes of his youth. He still feels guilty about what happened to Anakin and blames himself for the fall of the Republic. That is a lot to carry, and McGregor delivers a commanding and believable performance.

In the end, ‘Obi Wan Kenobi’ is a series worthy of the character it is based on and explores fertile ground in the ‘Star Wars’ timeline. If the rest of the series is as strong as the opening episodes, fans will be extremely pleased with the outcome.

The first two episodes of ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ receives 5 out of 5 stars.

'Obi-Wan Kenobi' Poster

'Obi-Wan Kenobi' premieres on Disney+ starting May 27th.