Movie News

Why Avatar: The Last Airbender Fans Are Excited for the Live-Action Cast

Welcome, Star Wars fans, to our final recap of Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series. I’m shocked that we’re already at the end of this saga. After five episodes and approximately four and a half hours of footage, one would assume we’d have a lot to discuss heading into the finale. Alas, aside from a few solid action beats, Obi-Wan hasn’t given us much in the way of juicy content. I honestly had to meditate really hard to remember the events of the first two or three episodes.

Anyway, let’s try to stay positive here. I’m hoping the last episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi delivers the strong character and/or spectacle we’ve come to expect from Star Wars in a big way. Even though it probably won’t.

Right off the bat, I want to point out how weird it is that Disney rarely features Obi-Wan as the premium feature on its big board of products. When I flipped on Disney+ this morning, I feel like the main header should have been adorned with our Jedi hero. Instead, it plays second fiddle to Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — a film half the world has already seen! Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but the Mouse House clearly prioritizes superheroes over its crazy Jedi wizards.

RELATED: Obi-Wan Kenobi Explained: What Happened in the Series Finale?

Regardless, we’re back on Tatooine where a hick with a very discernible southern accent rudely cuts in line for some water. “You got something you wanna say,” the man says as his Confederate flag waves proudly in the distance. “I got something I wanna say,” comes the familiar voice of Reva (Moses Ingram) who Force pushes the man to the side and questions the water vendor about Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton). Frankly, I’m surprised Reva is in as good a shape as she is considering she just got stabbed by Darth Vader a few hours prior. Even Qui-Gon couldn’t— oh, never mind.

We cut to Obi-Wan and the hapless extras racing away from a Star Destroyer (and not Vader’s ship The Executor) while composer Natalie Holt replicates the music heard during the finale of the Empire Strikes Back (it’s like poetry, it rhymes). Vader watches from the bridge and demands more firepower. We see a shot very reminiscent of that chase sequence between the Millennium Falcon and the Star Destroyer in Empire Strikes— wait, are they just copying action beats from previous films?

Inside the escaping ship, Obi-Wan sits calmly amongst the hapless extras. Roken (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) does his best to calm the villagers, but he sounds more like one of those flight attendants that tell you to duck your head in the event of a plane crash. Still, no one seems remotely concerned considering the circumstances. I once experienced some mild turbulence during a flight to Seattle and nearly leapt out the window. These guys are getting shot at by a Star Destroyer and still manage to remain composed long enough to carry on meaningful conversations.

(As a side: Tala endures the “Barb from Stranger Things” treatment as there’s no mention of her great sacrifice that more or less saved everyone on this ship. Boo!)

Back on Tatooine, we see Owen with a young Luke. In a surprising move, the boy’s first line echos his father’s: “Are you an angel?” I jest, though I’m kinda disappointed we don’t see a really old Watto in this scene (the shop is a splitting image). “We need a new belt for the speeder,” Luke declares. Lars wanders in behind him looking like a tired uncle forced to babysit his bratty nephew. “A certain somebody broke the last one,” he says grouchily. Luke likes speeders, you see? I wonder if that character trait will play out in future films. The water vendor arrives and we can assume he warns Obi-Wan about Reva, or maybe he’s still mad that a hillbilly cut in line.

We then hop back to Leia chastising Obi-Wan after he reveals his plan to lure Vader away by vacating the ship. “You are the future. You’re what needs to survive,” he says. Leia stomps off and when Obi-Wan pursues, Haja (Kumail Nanjiani) intervenes. (Did he think Obi-Wan was going to abuse Leia?) “Give her space,” he says quite pointedly. Obi-Wan implores Haja to take Leia back to Alderaan as soon as he’s in the clear. “You have my word,” Haja says. That’s some stunning character growth.

On the moisture farm, Owen explains the Reva situation to Aunt Beru (Bonnie Piesse), who, it turns out, is just as noble and strong-willed as every hero on this show. She doesn’t just make blue milk, you see? “I’m not putting anyone else in danger, Owen. We’re enough. You and me.” I wonder if those were her last words in A New Hope … Beru tosses a rifle at dumbfounded Owen and more or less tells him to suit up. “She’ll come when the suns go down.” (Kudos to the writing team for having her say suns.) How does Beru, who has presumably spent her entire life moisture farming on Tatooine, know the ways of an Inquisitor? (Beru: Action Warrior Disney+ series incoming!) Owen’s reaction is far more believable. He’s not sure what to do. And why would he? He’s not a fighter. Hell, he doesn’t even speak bocce!

MORE: Percy Jackson Series Adds New Demigods for Guest-Starring Roles

Back with Obi-Wan, Leia is still angry that her Jedi savior is planning to abandon her. For some reason, this scene is written as though our Jedi hero failed his mission? “Tell your father I tried,” he says. Huh? If Leia says anything to her father, doesn’t that mean Obi-Wan succeeded and delivered her to safety? Anyways, there’s a touching scene between the pair, and once again Vivien Lyra Blair and Ewan McGregor display solid chemistry. The whole young Leia subplot was pretty dumb, but the pair of actors made their scenes tolerable.

A few moments later, Obi-Wan again calls to Qui-Gon (who’s probably irritated at his apprentice’s constant phone calls): “I have to face him, Master,” he whispers. “Whether he dies or I do, this ends today.” Hopefully, those scars Obi-Wan sustained during his last confrontation with Vader have healed, otherwise, they might put him at a disadvantage (rolls eyes).

Roken pops in and bids farewell. Obi-Wan tells him to keep on leading. “Just getting started,” the man replies, probably hinting that we’re going to see him in (commercial voice) the upcoming Andor and/or Ahsoka TV series, coming soon to Disney+.

The rebel vessel poops out Obi-Wan’s escape craft (how big is that ship?) in front of Vader and the man in black orders his men to follow. “My Lord, we must continue our pursuit of the insurgents,” says the Grand Inquisitor adorned with a shiny new “Employee of the Month” badge. Unfortunately, Vader has seen A New Hope and knows this is just the beginning and elects to follow Kenobi instead. The Grand Inquisitor joins the other Inquisitors in doing absolutely nothing in this show.

Anyways, Obi-Wan lands on a remote planet (did they ever say which one it was?) and discovers Leia’s Mickey Mouse droid in his pocket. Hopefully, it’s not bugged this time.

Elsewhere, as predicted by Beru, Reva shows up on the moisture farm under cover of darkness. Why? I mean, she’s got a light saber and a gaping hole in her side … there aren’t many people who can stop her, let alone two farmers on a desert planet. I suppose special FX look better at night, plus Reva’s actions have to intertwine with those of Obi-Wan and Vader, otherwise what the hell are we doing?!

Vader exits his ship and (after walking a mile) comes face to face with a decidedly more noble Obi-Wan Kenobi. “The circle is now complete,” Obi-Wan says. “When I left you I was but the burner, now I can move faster.” I’m paraphrasing, of course. (McGregor recalling his “I will do what I must” line from Revenge of the Sith slaps hard.) The former pals engage in combat. Evidently, the crew that choreographed their last duel was fired, replaced by more competent talent — even if the sequence at times resembles an above-average fan film. (Curiously, the soundtrack goes very synth-heavy here — again, does Disney not own the rights to “Duel of the Fates” or “Battle of the Heroes?”)

Reva wanders about the moisture farm and is suddenly met with a hail of laser fire. (What would have happened if Owen, Beru, and Luke kept quiet? Would Reva have just, you know, left? She didn’t appear to have a firm grasp of the situation and only sprung into action when our plucky heroes fired the first shot. Also, why doesn’t Owen move Luke to a different location? It’s clear Reva is on the way. Why risk the kid? On that note, does he not have a direct line of communication to Obi-Wan? Beru said they knew this day would come, so why aren’t they better prepared? I’m overthinking this, aren’t I?)

Obi-Wan and Vader fight some more. There’s plenty of nifty lightsaber action and a few surprising Force moves. Vader smashes his hand into the ground and causes an earthquake, then tosses a bunch of rocks on Obi-Wan in a manner that reminded me of that one scene in Superman III where Evil Superman drops a heap of car scrap on poor Clark Kent.

Meanwhile, Lars fights Reva with one of the numerous pieces of plastic scrap lying around the set. “What do you want,” he asks. “Justice,” Reva snaps. Look, for all the flak Ingram took about her performance in the first four episodes, she absolutely nails the bitter Inquisitor schtick in these last two outings. Dare I say, she even looks intimidating(As a side: is it wrong that I keep waiting for her to perform more parkour?) After quickly dispatching Owen and Beru, Reva takes off after Luke who runs off into the desert. (Serpentine!)

Back under the rocks, Obi-Wan thinks of a happy thought (Leia!) and escapes a crushing death (snare drum). Emboldened, Obi-Wan attacks Vader with reckless abandon. He even pulls a Ray and makes some boulders float. Their battle finally comes to head when the Jedi Knight slices off a piece of the Sith lord’s mask, revealing a monstrous Anakin underneath. Rather than finish him off on the spot, emotion gets the better of our protagonist. “Anakin,” he says solemnly.

“Anakin’s gone,” Vader growls. “I’m what remains.”

Obi-Wan completes his therapeutic session by saying what he’s wanted to say for a long time: “I’m sorry Anakin.”

In a neat display of sound mixing, Anakin’s voice is garbled with Vader’s. “You didn’t kill Anakin Skywalker,” Vader/Anni says, his mutilated face cracking an evil smile. “I did.” A beat. “The same way I will destroy you.”

Obi-Wan looks genuinely shocked at this moment. “Then my friend is truly dead,” he says, tears in his eyes. Hey, that’s like the line Luke says in Return of the Jedi! It’s poetry, it rhymes. This scene is terrific, though.

“Obi-Wan,” Vader shouts as his former BFF walks away (again). “OBI-WAAAAAN!” (This is so much better than that time Vader screamed, “NOOOOOO!”)

Back on Tatooine, Reva finds and begins torturing Luke. Clearly lacking the bravery of his sister, or the heroics that would later lead him to become a great Jedi, the young boy reacts like an actual young boy and tries to get the hell outta there, but mostly just falls down. Reva readies her death blow but stops short when she sees herself as a young child in Luke’s place. As it happens, Reva turns out to be a good guy! What a twist!

Obi-Wan lands his ship on the moisture farm and finds Owen and Beru hilariously wandering around in a circle calling out to Luke (like in A New Hope, you see!). I mean, the area around them is mostly flat desert … and since Luke is nowhere in sight, maybe head towards the rocks?

No matter. Reva turns up with the young boy in her arms. “My bad,” she says. “Now you’re free,” Obi-Wan retorts. “But also, you’re under arrest for the murder of several people (including a Jedi) and the kidnapping of Princess Leia of Alderaan.” Star Wars loves to reward last-second reclamation (?) projects, but where Darth Vader and Kylo Ren (spoiler alert) died after embracing their inner good guy (conveniently sidestepping the consequences), Reva is very much alive and free to star in her own spinoff. (I am curious to see how the character is used in future endeavors.)

We then go to Mustafar where Vader engages in a hologram chat with the Emperor. Yes, Ian McDiarmid returns to his iconic role (looking much more in line with the character we saw in Return of the Jedi than the cackling weirdo in Revenge of the Sith) to deliver dialogue ripped straight from previous films. “I wonder if your feelings are clear on this, Lord Vader,” he says after his robotic pal rages about Obi-Wan. “Perhaps your feelings for your old master have left you weakened.”

“Kenobi means nothing,” Vader retorts. Ah, so that’s why he doesn’t go looking for ole Ben before the events of A New Hope. “I serve only you, my master. Also, when are we gonna get around to figuring out how to manipulate Midi-chlorians to create life? I really want to see Padme again.” Palpatine quickly peaces out and Vader leans back in his chair as the Imperial March finally plays on the soundtrack. (So, Disney does have the rights to this theme … so, the music was a stylistic choice? Interesting.)

Back on Alderaan, Leia prepares for the day, careful to point out her hair buns from the original films. (Does she always dress in white?)  Except, this time she straps on a holster. Was Leia ever good with a blaster in the OT? I mean, sure, she could handle herself, but that wasn’t her defining characteristic … also, wasn’t Han Solo constantly frowned upon for relying too much on blasters? I’m overthinking this again, aren’t I?

Obi-Wan surprises everyone with an appearance, which seems foolhardy considering everyone in the galaxy is looking for him. (Meanwhile, Owen and Beru are back on Tatooine protecting Luke — alone.) Leia is more excited to see her Mickey Mouse droid. “I fear for her future,” Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) says, nodding to Leia (no one tell him about Alderaan). “The Empire grows stronger and bolder.”

“Well, if you ever need my help again, you know where to find me,” Obi-Wan says. (Coming soon to Disney+: Obi-Wan Season 2.) He then turns to Leia. “Princess Leia Organa,” the Jedi Master says, “you are wise, discerning, kindhearted. These are qualities that came from your mother.” Huh? Padme was fond of aggressive negotiations, but I don’t recall much wisdom displayed by the former Mrs. Darth Vader. I mean, she married Darth Vader! “But you are also passionate and fearless, forthright. And these are gifts from your father.” Obi-Wan obviously forgot about the time Anakin was reprimanded by Yoda and the Jedi Council for possessing, oh, what was it — that’s right — FEAR! Doesn’t fear lead to anger blah, blah … Has Obi-Wan learned a damned thing on this show? (This nitpick is more a fault of the prequels than Obi-Wan Kenobi, but you gotta work within the defined constructs of the Star Wars franchise — otherwise what the hell are we doing here?)

Later, Obi-Wan returns to his cave on Tatooine and packs his bags presumably to relocate to a more civilized apartment — or, at least a home with running water and TV. He makes a quick stop at the moisture farm (imagine if someone were indeed following him during these last two trips) and speaks to Owen about the the boy. “Take good care of him,” he says. “Also, don’t be a colossal dick.” (Owen doesn’t hear this part.)

“Ben,” Owen says, “do you wanna meet him?”

Smiling, Obi-Wan wanders over to young Luke and says … wait for it … “Hello there.” Remember, like he said in A New Hope?

We don’t get the rest of the conversation.

Anyways, Obi-Wan heads off into the desert and bumps into Qui-Gon Jinn’s Force ghost, as portrayed by Liam Neeson. “Well,” the deceased Jedi Master says, “Took you long enough.” Apparently, the afterlife has taught Qui-Gon the ways of the asshole. “I was always here, Obi-Wan,” he says. “You were just not ready to see. Come on, we’ve got a ways to go.”

Obi-Wan, now fully reborn, smiles and heads off after his former master to play Dejarik in his new apartment, smoke some death sticks, and probably spy on Yoda.

Roll credits.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Finale: Final Thoughts

OK, so, that was the first season of Obi-Wan Kenobi. I need more time to process this final episode, but overall I was entertained. Frustrated, but entertained. For whatever reason, Star Wars can’t seem to find on a consistent beat to march to. While some of what we see is good (even very good), the high points make the low points all the more irritating. Really, this series would have made a solid 2-hour film, and I fully expect a number of fan edits to rework the 6 hours of footage into a more streamlined experience.

Honestly, I felt like this final episode (and the series entire) came to life when Deborah Chow jettisoned the extraneous (and bland) supporting characters and focused exclusively on Obi-Wan and Anakin’s bitter relationship. We needed more scenes between the two old friends and more exploration of Vader’s inward conflict. Those elements alone are enough to carry an entire season’s worth of content. And while side characters such as Reva became more interesting as the series wore on, I can’t help but feel her inclusion (as well as Leia’s) distracted from the show’s overall purpose — Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Still, a majority of the action, particularly in the second half of the season, was very good — at least by TV standards. I’m not sure I learned anything new that totally justified the need for an Obi-Wan show, but overall I was entertained and occasionally dazzled. If I had to grade all six episodes, I’d probably reward Obi-Wan with a B, if not a B-. Far too many missteps and missed opportunities hindered what should have been a relatively easy slam dunk for the Mouse House.

At some point, I do think Disney will get it right and reward audiences with a spectacular Star Wars outing. Until then, I suppose we have to enjoy the high points when they come whilst waiting for grander adventures in that galaxy far, far away.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button