There is a scene against the top of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith that encapsulates the entirety that went flawed with the prequel trilogy.
Anakin Skywalker, Force wunderkind became emo Jedi slayer, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, his former chum and sensei, are engaged in a lightsaber duel, ostensibly to the loss of life. This come across is the fruits of 3 movies’ price of glacial-paced inevitability. A grasp who should kill his scholar. A scholar satisfied he’s been betrayed through his mentor. There will have to be pleasure; a crescendo of emotion and tragedy. But there isn’t. Instead, we get unconvincing CG lava sploshing hither and thither; peril-free leaping from one excessive factor to every other excessive factor; and we get this:
Obi-Wan: “Anakin, chancellor Palpatine is evil!”
Anakin: “From my point of view, the Jedi are evil!”
But even guff as unhealthy as that isn’t the largest drawback with the scene, or the prequels as an entire. The largest drawback used to be how riotously dull this struggle used to be – and, through extension, all 3 movies have been – as a result of we already knew the end result. Fans had recognized it for many years. Watching it spread in actual time used to be like paying attention to an workplace bore let you know in pitiless element in regards to the intricacies in their trip.
The worst factor used to be, Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan and Hayden Christensen as Anakin have been making an attempt their very best. The fault by no means lay with them. Which is why the inside track that each actors would reprise their roles for a Disney+ Obi-Wan collection, set a decade after the occasions of Episode III, used to be so welcome. It can be a do-over. Maybe it might even make up for the prequels’ overuse of greasy and weightless CGI, the rhythmless enhancing, stodgy exposition, or the forged of characters with slightly a unmarried definable feature but even so “that one has a bushier beard”.
Obi-Wan Kenobi the TV display has typically felt just like the worthy prequel we by no means had. The scripts sound as though they have been written through individuals who have, in the future of their lives, stated phrases to different people. As we’ve come to be expecting since The Mandalorian, the manufacturing design and results are so sensational as to be slightly noticeable. There are not more garbage green-screen units or unconvincing CG characters whose explosive deaths would come up with an actual, being worried thrill that you should most effective safely admit to a therapist. There is not one of the Senate plodding that smothered the prequels underneath a fatberg of stultifying nonsense. It feels just like the TV display had a tick list of each flaw the prequels had, and set about addressing all of them. Apart from one, this is.
The one it failed to deal with used to be, unfortunately, the largest; the issue that led to that lightsaber duel on the finish of Revenge of the Sith to, in some way, be duller than a Fisher Price butterknife: just like the prequels ahead of it, Obi-Wan Kenobi isn’t even remotely gripping, thrilling or moreish, as a result of we already know precisely what will occur. And what will occur is that this: not anything.
At no level – from their conferences, escapes, duels, captures and preposterous, trenchcoat-dependent rescues – has it felt like Obi-Wan, Leia and even Darth Vader have been in any peril, as a result of we all know they weren’t. They all live on unscathed till Episode IV. Like the prequels, audiences are going into Obi-Wan Kenobi realizing who lives and who dies, making the entire thing really feel like an excessively pricey, very good-looking access in an appendix. The prequel movies have been a slog for lots of causes, however excessive on that checklist is that not anything took place at any level that used to be remotely surprising. Obi-Wan Kenobi, up to now no less than, is circling that very same plughole of ennui. There aren’t any stakes, no threat, not anything of substance for us to sink our tooth into, and a howling vacuum the place there will have to be a thriller to get to the bottom of.
The method round this, clearly, is to introduce secondary characters about whose fates we’re unaware. This is what The Clone Wars (the animated collection set between Episodes II and III) did, and that succeeded in unspooling a excellent, sprawling narrative out of it. This is how Better Call Saul went from Breaking Bad prequel to most definitely the most efficient TV display ever made. Prequels and high-stakes pleasure don’t must be mutually unique, if the prequel in query is mindful that it must do greater than simply let us know how one thing we already know came about, came about. The Star Wars prequel movies failed in that recognize. As nice as Obi-Wan Kenobi is in some ways, it hasn’t but controlled to try this. Characters exist only to be within the orbit of the Obi-Wans, Darths and Leias about whose fates we all know all an excessive amount of, with (spoiler alert) figures like Indira Varma’s in short attention-grabbing undercover rebellion Tala Durith being offered and got rid of ahead of she may turn into a determine of authentic importance.
If, as rumoured, season two is in construction, there may be nonetheless (a brand new) hope. As counterintuitive as it could sound, a display known as Obi-Wan Kenobi must slightly be about Obi-Wan Kenobi, and lean into new gamers like Moses Ingram’s morally ambiguous Reva Sevander – now one among most effective two newly offered characters of observe, along O’Shea Jackson Jr’s Roken. The supporting solid desperately must develop, and we wish to care about the ones new additions. If it doesn’t and we don’t, the entire display is simply every other pricey lightsaber duel close to some naff CG lava that even essentially the most dedicated Star Wars nerd (and I’m pointing two thumbs at my very own Boba Fett T-shirt right here) will in finding themselves suffering to care about. Come on, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my most effective hope.