Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is about “a time of darkness in the galaxy”

Image: Star Wars:Obi-Wan Kenobi/Disney+
Image: Star Wars:Obi-Wan Kenobi/Disney+ /

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is the next Star Wars show slated to land on Disney+, and the anticipation is strong. The six-episode limited series will see Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen reprise their roles as Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader from the Star Wars prequel films. Those movies left off on a pretty bleak note; at the end of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the Jedi were all but eradicated, the Galactic Empire was on the rise, and Anakin had finally completed his transformation into Darth Vader after being left for dead by his former master and brother-in-arms. Revenge of the Sith set up a long, dark period for the Galaxy which would only start to unravel decades later in the first film of the original trilogy, A New Hope.

It’s into this bleak landscape that viewers will step when Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres. “It takes place 10 years after Revenge of the Sith, in a time of darkness in the galaxy,” series writer Joby Harold told Entertainment Weekly. “The Empire is in the ascendancy. And all the horrors that come with the Empire are being made manifest throughout the galaxy. And the Jedi Order as we know them are being all but wiped out. So everything that was in the prequels has crumbled.”

As the Star Wars Rebels animated series made clear, Obi-Wan and Yoda weren’t the only Jedi to escape Order 66. There were a handful of others, but don’t get too hopeful. At the start of Obi-Wan Kenobi, it’s all those scattered few can do to stay alive. “Those surviving Jedi, those that do survive, are on the run,” explained Harold, “and they’re in hiding. And Vader and his Inquisitors are chasing them to the end of the galaxy.”

Obi-Wan Kenobi will face a crisis of faith in the limited Star Wars series

Regardless of any other Jedi who may or may not appear, this show is all about Obi-Wan grappling with his shattered hopes. Before Order 66 he was a paragon of the Jedi Order, but with it all but wiped out, he’ll be dealing with some pretty heavy emotions.

“Within that hopeless fatalistic world, we find possibly the most famous of all our surviving Jedi in hiding struggling with that faith that defines the Jedi, and wanting to hold onto it and hoping to regain that faith within that sort of hopeless world,” Harold said. “Within that environment and that galaxy, his faith is tested. And he goes on a journey that allows him to travel from that character that we saw in the last of the prequels, where [McGregor] really felt like he was embodying Obi-Wan Kenobi to a pretty extraordinary degree, and ends with him as the more finished article that Sir Alec Guinness gave to the world in A New Hope. And so in this very specific time in the history of Star Wars, when the Jedi are on run, we get to sort of stand next to and watch Obi-Wan as he runs the gauntlet and has to survive a pretty extraordinary experience.”

We don’t know the details of this “extraordinary experience,” but you can bet that Obi-Wan’s former padawan Darth Vader is going to factor into it in a pretty big way. “Obi-Wan is defined by his past to a pretty great degree,” Harold said. “I mean, Obi-Wan and Anakin [Hayden Christensen] share so much screen time together. They’re so close that everything that he’s experienced and everything that happened with Anakin cannot help but define him. And we meet a man who’s very much defined by that history, whether he wants to be or not.”

"Part of the journey of what he goes through is reconciling that past and coming to understand it and coming to understand his place in it. And that journey and the places he has to go emotionally as well as physically, and some of those battles he has to fight, are very much to do with facing that past and understanding who he was, his part in his own history, in the history of others."

Thinking about all the stuff that Obi-Wan went through in the prequels, and how the young apprentice he had raised since boyhood spiraled into the Dark Side and took the entire galaxy with him…yeah, we’re betting Obi-Wan’s going to be doing quite a bit of reckoning with his past.

The battle for Obi-Wan Kenobi’s hope and the continuing spirit of the Jedi commences on May 27, when the first two episodes of the series drop on Disney+.

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