A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part IV” Review

Darth Vader poster, Star Wars Obi-Wan KenobiSERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part IV”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Vivien Lyra Blair, Moses Ingram, Indira Varma, O’Shea Jackson Jr. 
WRITERS:
Joby Harold, Hannah Friedman
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
June 8, 2011
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan and Tala infiltrate enemy territory to find Leia.

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By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Let’s talk about this straight away: There was some buzz last week about a second season of Obi-Wan Kenobi. As much as I’ve mostly enjoyed the show so far, as far as a second season is concerned, I’m lukewarm at best. From a story perspective, Obi-Wan is supposed to be in seclusion for the 19 years between A New Hope and Revenge of the Sith. As a fan, I can buy that he briefly leaves Tatooine for a desperate situation. But if you go back to that well again, you might be pushing it too far.

Now, if they want to come back for something involving one of the other characters, perhaps even the Darth Vader miniseries that some have been buzzing about, I might be game for that. But more Obi-Wan? Nah, I think I’m good.

Then again, they can always change my mind with the right story…

In the opening minutes of the episode, we see Darth Vader in his…rejuvenation tank? Is that what it is? Is there bacta in there?

I had a thought about Darth Vader earlier this week: I’m not sure I’m a fan of Obi-Wan Kenobi showing us Anakin’s face. The unmasking of Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi is such a pivotal moment. Arguably the moment the entire original trilogy built to. Showing us Anakin’s face here waters that down a little bit, doesn’t it?

That was one of the few things I liked about Rogue One. They gave us Darth Vader in the tank, but didn’t show us his face.

Then again, Mrs. Primary Ignition had a good counterpoint to that argument: Who’s watching Obi-Wan Kenobi before they finish the original trilogy? In the modern era, that number is about as minuscule as it’ll ever be. Future generations might be another story, I suppose…

Bacta tank, Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan came out of his bacta tank before his wounds could fully heal. Does that mean he has burn scars on his body? That feels appropriate. And of course, we never saw Alec Guinness with his shirt off in the original trilogy. So there’s nothing to contradict it. Nice touch.

The planet name Jabiim rang a bell for me. In the Legends continuity, i.e. the old Star Wars publishing canon, is was the site of one of the most brutal and bloody battles of the Clone Wars. So brutal and bloody, in fact, that if I’m not mistaken there was only one survivor: Anakin Skywalker.

Indira Varma plays Tala. Mrs. Primary Ignition tells me she and The Mandalorian‘s Pedro Pascal played husband and wife on Game of Thrones. I must confess, I’m not a big enough Game of Thrones fan to remember that. I do, however, remember Pascal’s character having a pretty gruesome death scene, with his eyes being pushed back into his skull. Because that’s just how they rolled on Game of Thrones.

So that big fortress we see the Inquisitors is actually called Fortress Inquisitorius? That’s kinda lame. Then again, when you’re that sadistic and evil, I guess you can call your base whatever you want, and dare anybody to laugh at you…

I was taken aback, mostly in a good way, by how scary certain parts of this episode were. Leia being strapped into a torture contraption. The Jedi tomb with all those dead faces staring out, one of which being a child. I actually had to pause the episode at one point because my two-year-old daughter walked into the room. Powerful stuff, man.

Reva, sky, Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi

I can’t believe that Vivien Lyra Blair wasn’t even 10 years old when they shot this. Imagine being that age and performing intense scenes like this, while also feeling the pressure of playing a character like Princess Leia. She’s young, but she’s got my respect.

It bears repeating James Earl Jones really has mounted a comeback with his performance here as the voice of Darth Vader. After Rogue One and Rebels I had my doubts. But even at over 90 years old, the man has still got it.

Leia reaching out and holding Obi-Wan’s hand was a nice way to close out the episode. A great little display of humanity.

Question: Is Obi-Wan Kenobi wasting Hayden Christensen? We’re four episodes in, and his work has been mostly confined to the Darth Vader costume, with some shots of him the rejuvenation tank thrown in there. There’s nothing wrong with that, strictly speaking. But when they announced him for this show, I naturally assumed we were going to be getting flashback sequences. Something perhaps set during the events of The Clone Wars cartoon show, with Obi-Wan and Anakin in corresponding costumes. Maybe even a Rosario Dawson cameo as Ahsoka.

Is that asking too much? Maybe. Maybe not. And granted, we still have two episodes left. But all these years after his performances in the prequels were ridiculed, I think Christensen deserves to flex his acting chops a little bit. I can’t help but want that for him.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part III” Review

Leia poster, Star Wars Obi-Wan KenobiSERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part III”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Vivien Lyra Blair, Moses Ingram, Hayden Christensen, James Earl Jones (Voice)
WRITERS:
Joby Harold, Hannah Friedman, Hossein Amini, Stuart Beattie
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
June 1, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan and Leia are hunted on the mining world of Mapuzo.

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By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I mentioned previously that, going forward, Star Wars needs to take a break from setting shows in the desert. Going forward, the franchise also needs to work on avoiding what I’ll call “the Baby Yoda effect.” That is, sticking the hero or heroes with a child over the course of their journey. Specifically one that’s strong in the Force. The Mandalorian obviously did that with Grogu. The Bad Batch did it with Omega. Now this show is doing it with Leia.

To be clear, I’m not saying children shouldn’t be used in Star Wars stories. I just want to avoid Star Wars telling the same kinds of stories over and over again.

James Earl Jones is the voice of Darth Vader. He’s always been the voice of Darth Vader, and as long as he’s alive and wants to do it, he should be the voice of Darth Vader.

That being said, I had some slight issues with his performances in Rogue One and what I’ve seen of Rebels. My contention has been that he doesn’t sound as mean or as evil as Darth Vader should. Not like Darth Vader, but rather, Mufasa saying Darth Vader’s lines. Am I imagining it? Am I expecting too much? Maybe and maybe. But that’s my argument and I’m sticking to it.

However, I’m pleased to say that thus far, that problem hasn’t been present in Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is the best James Earl Jones has sounded as Vader since Disney purchased the franchise. I’m not sure whether to attribute that to good direction, Mr. Jones simply having a good day in the recording booth, or something else. Either way, I’m grateful for it.

Obi-Wan’s hallucination of Anakin from a distance, dark cloak and all, was a brilliant touch. Great shot too.

When Hayden Christensen was announced for this series, I figured they’d use him for flashback sequences. I’m sure those are still coming. But that’s another, clever way to use him without the Darth Vader suit.

Fifth Brother, played by Sung Kang, doesn’t have a conventional name the way Reva, the Third Sister, has one. But might I suggest…Hat Guy. Because that’s a variation on what most people, especially those of us who haven’t seen him in Rebels, are calling him.

Zach Braff provides the voice for Freck the transport pilot. Is that how they got him to star in that Cheaper By the Dozen remake for Disney+?

“Hey man, do this and we’ll throw in a part in Star Wars.”

“I am what you made me.” That line, delivered by Vader to Obi-Wan, is great. The entire presentation of Darth Vader in this episode is fantastic. The sense of terror and dread in his scenes is palpable. He truly comes off like the monster he is.

That’s especially true when he drags Obi-Wan through the flames. He wants to torture, maim, and disfigure his old master. But he also wants to savor the moment. Those shots of the Darth Vader suit in the light from the flames looked great too.

Leia offering to go forward on your own so Tala can go back for Obi-Wan is a nice little character moment for her. One of numerous character moments the show has given her thus far.

Well, so much for Obi-Wan’s first use of a lightsaber in a decade being a memorable moment. Still, I appreciate that he was largely helpless against Vader, and that we didn’t jump right into a super-choreographed sword fight. The man hasn’t been a Jedi in 10 years. To say his skills would be rusty is an understatement…

So…why did Vader let Obi-Wan go? The camera stayed on him for awhile, which seems to imply that he was pondering his next move. My only guess is that he figures he can follow Obi-Wan’s trail, and perhaps sniff out dissenters. That would seem to be the only thing that makes sense.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: From Animation to Live Action

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2:E3. “Chapter 11: The Heiress.”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Katee Sackhoff, Mercedes Varnado
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR:
Bryce Dallas Howard
PREMIERE DATE:
November 13, 2020
SYNOPSIS: 
Mando meets a trio of his own kind, and winds up taking on the Empire once again.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This episode requires a decent amount of exposition, only some of which we actually got. Katee Sackhoff’s character is Bo-Katan Kryze. Long story short, her sister was the duchess of Mandalore. Thus, her trying to get the Darksaber. 

“The Purge,” meanwhile, was when the Empire killed most of the Mandalorian people, forcing the survivors into hiding. All this stuff was covered between the Clone Wars and Rebels cartoon shows.

I’m fairly certain this is the first time we’ve seen an ocean dock in live-action Star WarsIt makes for a different vibe. I like it. That’s one of the things that’s been so great about The Mandalorian. It shows us the Star Wars universe from different angles.

When Bo-Katan dropped out of the sky, Mrs. Primary Ignition exclaimed: “It’s a lady Mandalorian!” I’m hoping there were a lot of little girls in the audience saying the same thing.

There’s been a lot of talk about what a “true” Mandalorian is. We know Jango Fett and Boba Fett weren’t. And now we get talk that Din Djarin isn’t. Can we maybe get some clarification on this issue? I’m a Star Wars geek, and even I’m confused….

I was curious to see how they’d credit WWE’s Sasha Banks, who plays Koska Reeves. They used her real name, Mercedes Varnado. Which makes sense, of course. I’m not the world’s biggest Sasha Banks fan. But I was proud of her for this. She even got a decent number of lines and wasn’t just a muscular body in the background.

Even after all this time, I’m still getting used to Star Wars music that isn’t a classical score. Case in point, the sort of industrial-style beat they had going during the action sequence aboard the Imperial ship. It works. It’s just not traditional Star Wars.

Hey! Stormtrooper! When you see a grenade rolling toward you, maybe…I’unno…kick the damn thing away instead of staring down at it like a friggin’ nincompoop!!!

And there it is. Destination: Ahsoka Tano. Here’s my question: Katee Sackhoff voiced Bo-Katan Kryze for the cartoons, and now she’s playing the role live. Did they even ask Ashley Eckstein if she wanted to play Ahsoka? Nothing against Rosario Dawson, of course. But it seemed like Eckstein was up for it. Yes, Dawson is a renowned on-camera actress, as opposed to Eckstein who’s more famous for voice acting. But Eckstein had a hand in the creation of the character. She should have had the chance to play Ahsoka if she wanted it.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.