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The ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Entrance Survey

Ewan McGregor dawns his Jedi robes for the first time in 17 years this week. What are we most excited about? Which other characters will appear? And is it time to leave Tatooine?

Disney+/Ringer illustration

On Wednesday, Obi-Wan Kenobi returns to our screens for the first time since 2005, with Ewan McGregor reprising his role as the titular Jedi master and frequent Skywalker mentor. Before the first episode drops, let’s talk about our hopes, expectations, and dreams for the new series.


1. What are you most hyped for heading into Obi-Wan Kenobi?

Ben Lindbergh: The moment when Obi-Wan discovers (or confirms) that Vader is—or once was—Anakin. Obi and Ani, Ewan and Hayden—preemptive prequel chills.

Jack McCluskey: This is basic, I know, but six hours of Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan. Riding through the desert, keeping a watchful eye on young Luke from a distance, throwing down with bad guys in a hallway, the Scottish actor can do it all as everyone’s favorite Jedi master (though whether he’s a good Jedi master is a valid question, given what happens to his charges after they train with him).

Arjuna Ramgopal: Seeing Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan again! He’s the best part of the prequels, an iconic performance that elevated those movies beyond what they were. Our collective love for Obi has been sustained by years of Clone Wars, but to see the guy who played young Obi do it again is exhilarating.

Daniel Chin: It’s been 17 years since Ewan McGregor last played the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, aside from a couple of voice cameos in the latest Star Wars trilogy. I’m just excited to see this character back on screen again after so long.

Jomi Adeniran: When Ewan McGregor lights his saber again for the first time in eons … I am going to lose my freaking mind.

2. Are you on board with the idea of an Obi-Wan–Darth Vader duel set between Episode III and Episode IV?

Chin: On one hand, I feel like another duel will lessen the significance of their rematch in Episode IV (not to mention how the dialogue between the master and his former student won’t work as well anymore), and the suspense of this inevitable clash is stifled by the fact that we know that both will come out of it unscathed. But it’s also been almost 20 years since Episode III was released and 45 years since Episode IV, how can you not be at least a little excited for another entry into one of the most iconic rivalries in cinematic history?

Adeniran: Hell yeah! The only Vader-Obi-Wan fight scene we get is in A New Hope and that’s not it. We deserve a fight like Ahsoka had vs. Vader at the end of Rebels Season 2.

McCluskey: I have a hard time picturing a duel between the two playing out in a satisfying way, given what we know will happen in Episode IV. Master and pupil already had an incredibly dramatic battle on Mustafar, with Obi-Wan sparing Anakin’s life and allowing him to become Darth Vader. Perhaps if Obi-Wan choosing to fight Vader led to some terrible, unintended consequence for another character in the show it would add resonance to Kenobi’s future choice to lay down his lightsaber. But the audience would really have to care about that character for it to mean much, so the show would have some work to do to pull that off.

Lindbergh: Initially I wasn’t, because I thought it might mess with existing continuity or undercut the significance of their reunion in Episode IV. Now, though, I’m fully on board with director Deborah Chow’s advocacy for Vader’s inclusion. Not only would it be tough to tell a satisfying story about Obi-Wan without involving Vader, but we know so much more about the Anakin-Obi-Wan relationship than audiences (or, for that matter, George Lucas) did when Alec Guinness and David Prowse slapped sticks for two minutes in 1977. That single scene still works as a coda, but it doesn’t do justice to the richness of the relationship that’s been explored since then, so another showdown shouldn’t be redundant (though it doesn’t need to include a duel).

Ramgopal: Not entirely, but I’m going to trust that the team behind this show have a good idea in place to make it all work. Similar to Rogue One, you can recontextualize and add layers to storytelling that enhances but does not diminish what has come before. I want to believe that this show wouldn’t be getting made if it completely screwed up the Star Wars canon.

3. Which preexisting character not named Kenobi, Skywalker, or Lars do you most want to see in Obi-Wan Kenobi?

McCluskey: I don’t expect to see Yoda, but I would be happy to find out what he’s up to on Dagobah during this time period.

Ramgopal: Give me flashbacks of Duchess Satine and Obi in their younger days. It’s the GREATEST love story Star Wars has ever had (apologies to Frog Lady and her husband from Mando Season 2). I’d love to see a live-action version of this character in a flashback as our old pal Ben Kenobi reminisces on what could have been if Satine had only said the word!

Adeniran: I NEED Satine to show up. I won’t hate the show if she doesn’t, but I will CRY if she does.

Chin: Ahsoka. I loved seeing Rosario Dawson bring the beloved animated character to life in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, and it was a delight to witness her alongside (CGI) Luke Skywalker in the latter. It’d be even better to see her reunited with Kenobi or her old master in Anakin.

Lindbergh:

4. How much more Tatooine can you take?

Ramgopal: Please, no more. Give me ANYTHING ELSE other than sand. I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.

Lindbergh: When Anakin complained that sand “gets everywhere,” he could have been talking about Tatooine’s tendency to show up in almost every on-screen Star Wars story. After The Book of Boba Fett, I need a Tatooine detox, which is why I’m relieved that Obi-Wan won’t entirely take place there.

Chin: I wouldn’t be the first to say it, but I don’t like sand. I’m hoping the stay in Tatooine is brief this time.

McCluskey: Not too much. One of the reasons The Mandalorian appealed to me was that Din Djarin brought us to other places—places with their own looks and their own stories. The Book of Boba Fett was interesting as an idea, and I’m glad that the Tusken Raiders got a little bit of backstory beyond “baddies who live in the desert,” but it spent too much time stuck in the sand (sorry). Also, it gave us (or cursed us with?) this:

Adeniran: ENOUGH FROM THE SAND PLANET!

5. Please explain why Obi-Wan kept the name “Kenobi” while in hiding.

Adeniran: Branding, clearly. Kenobi is a baller name, why would he change the coolest name in the galaxy?

Lindbergh: In ascending order of plausibility: “Kenobi” is the “Smith” or “Johnson” of the Star Wars universe? He’s living off the grid, so almost nobody knows his surname anyway? It’s a big galaxy and he’s hiding on the planet that’s farthest from its bright center, so he figured it would probably be fine? George Lucas may not have fully figured out the trilogy before he finished Episode IV?

McCluskey: Either “Kenobi” is to Star Wars what “Smith” or “Williams” is to the U.S., or it was just too much trouble to trek down to Mos Eisley to fill out all those name change forms at the DSV (Department of Space Vehicles).

Ramgopal: He’s such a badass that he doesn’t need to hide. He wants them to come after him. He is VENGEANCE. HE IS OBI-WAN. Honestly I have no idea, it never made sense and we just have to chalk it up to hiding in plain sight. I’m sure we’ll get a line or two referencing his terrible job at hiding.

Chin: You know, you raise a good question here. The guy must’ve thought that changing his first name to “Ben” would’ve done the trick.


6. Are you into the Inquisitors as Imperial mini-bosses?

Ramgopal: The Inquisitors are so cool in Rebels and added a great layer to explain the reach and power of the Empire, particularly Vader himself. I hope they’re able to explain some more of their origins in this show, much like they were able to do in Rebels itself.

McCluskey: I’ll be honest—I don’t know much about them, but they look pretty dope in the trailer! Hunting Jedi, spinning red sabers, and marching around at the head of a stormtrooper column seems like a solid foundation for an antagonist in a six-episode miniseries that has relatively low stakes by design.

Adeniran: Yes because those guys ain’t with the smoke. Ezra and Kanan had those dudes running rampant, could you imagine what OBI-Wan FREAKING KENOBI would do to them???

Packwatch.

Lindbergh: Rebels, Charles Soule’s Darth Vader comics, and Jedi: Fallen Order have me in the mood for more Inquisitorius.

Chin: That’s fine by me, my only question is: Sung Kang, what did they do to you?!

7. How nostalgic for the Star Wars prequels are you feeling these days?

Lindbergh: My nostalgia meter is set somewhere between blasting the prequel soundtracks (which were always great) and deciding after 20 years that Attack of the Clones was good, actually. (It was not.)

Chin: All they had to do was play “Duel of the Fates’’ in the first Obi-Wan Kenobi trailer to get me excited for this series. John Williams’s soundtracks have a way of instantly transporting me back to my childhood.

McCluskey: My wife and I rewatched them a few years ago, and while some parts of the prequel trilogy definitely held up better than I remembered, ultimately I’d say:

But who knows, maybe seeing youngish Obi-Wan sorting through his feelings about his various failings will get those nostalgic juices flowing again.

Ramgopal: The prequels will always have a special place in my heart as I was a literal kid when they came out. The Phantom Menace was a perfect movie for 7-year-old me! Clone Wars has helped add context to some of the bigger moments in the trilogy as time has passed. I think Obi-Wan has the ability to help add some connective tissue between the prequel and original trilogy. I have no doubt I’ll be watching the prequel trilogy again before and after this show has aired.

Adeniran: I will be rewatching Revenge of the Sith ahead of Obi-Wan … I love myself and my happiness so I will be skipping The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.