Obi-Wan Kenobi First Reviews: Possibly the 'Best Star Wars Series Yet,' Critics Say

The Force is clearly still strong with star Ewan McGregor. Critics, like fans, have only seen the first two episodes, but they're already gaga for the series.

by | May 27, 2022 | Comments

A previously untold chapter in the sprawling Star Wars saga hit Disney+ last night with the early release of the first two episodes of limited series Obi-Wan Kenobi. Critics have been busily writing up their thoughts all morning, as they weren’t provided screeners. Did the annoyance of having to rush a review like it was breaking news — on a Friday before a long holiday weekend, no less — affect critics’ opinions of the series? Maybe not, but it surely did tweak a few who might otherwise have hit the road for the beach — or a Disney resort — earlier in the day.

Truncated vacation plans aside, here’s what critics are saying about Obi-Wan Kenobi’s first two episodes:

Is This New Star Wars Story Worthwhile?

Obi-Wan Kenobi star Ewan McGregor

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s premiere is a surprisingly emotional chapter in the larger Star Wars saga. —Matt Purslow, IGN Movies

A near-perfect opening to a lost chapter in Obi-Wan’s history. —Bradley Russell, Total Film

Watching Obi-Wan Kenobi is like getting to see old friends again and going on a new adventure. — Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

Director Deborah Chow warned that this series was going to be dark, and was going to be exploring a broken Obi-Wan, and boy was she right. —Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Obi-Wan Kenobi the show is an assured, pacy and exciting new series that knows just how to use familiar elements — and, crucially, how to hold some back — in a story that is, most importantly, character-driven. —Richard Trenholm, CNET

How Is Ewan McGregor’s Performance As He Returns to the Obi-Wan Kenobi Role?

Obi-Wan Kenobi star Ewan McGregor

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Ewan McGregor slips flawlessly back into the robes. [Full review in Spanish] —Jorge Rivera Rubio, QiiBO

The stage is set for a journey that’s already left us wanting more from McGregor as this iconic Jedi beyond just the… episodes we obviously know are on the way. —Josh Wilding,

In the almost 20 years since he last played Obi-Wan, McGregor has… found a way to navigate his biggest flaw; trying to act naturally while wearing the full weight of all Alec Guinness’s mannerisms. —Stuart Heritage, Guardian

McGregor… adds new dimensions to the character, without losing the old – his dry wit, his unflappable dignity. The Jedi has returned. —Louis Chilton, Independent (UK)

Even for those of us who love the world of the prequels, McGregor is why we’re here. Hopefully the series will keep finding new worlds, literal and psychological, for him to explore. —Jesse Hassenger, New York Magazine/Vulture

How Are the Other Characters?

OBI-WAN KENOBI limited series

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Little Leia is a lot of fun. Extremely precocious and cute, like a Star Wars version of Anya from Spy X Family, and I like that her precociousness actually becomes a problem for Obi-Wan when she immediately figures out that he’s a Jedi and that the bad guys are coming after her to get to him.
Sam Barsanti, Sam Barsanti, AV Club

The one jarringly false note in Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s early episodes comes from the inclusion of a certain legacy character … Given the opportunity to expand our understanding of the character by letting them grow into their own, Obi-Wan Kenobi instead lets its reverence for the past cloud its vision for the present, and boxes them into the expected, fan-pleasing notes. —Angie Han, Hollywood Reporter

While Star Wars fans were likely expecting Obi-Wan Kenobi to revolve around the Luke/Ben dynamic, the limited series takes a hard right and focuses on the young princess from Alderaan instead. It’s a brilliant move, particularly because Blair channels the sassy, smart, and stubborn Leia to perfection. This makes her not only an immensely likable character immediately worthy of a spinoff, but also a natural and diminutive piece of kindling for a Jedi without a purpose.
Terry Terrones, Paste Magazine

How Is the Production Value?

OBI-WAN KENOBI limited series

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

“Kenobi” feels more like old-school “Star Wars” than its Disney+ predecessors, from the credits to John Williams’ rousing new theme.
Brian Truitt, USA Today

Director Deborah Chow, who did all six, gives us a beautifully paced first episode and an action-packed second that’s full of exciting chases, narrow escapes and satisfyingly crunchy fight scenes. —Pat Stacey, Irish Independent

The show follows on from the prequels seamlessly, making it feel as though Ewan has never been away while taking the quality of the production to a whole other level to make audiences feel immersed in the desolate land of Tatooine once again. — Sabrina Barr,

Does Anyone Have Anything Bad To Say About This Star Wars Prequels’ Sequel?

OBI-WAN KENOBI limited series

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

The Force is not strong with Obi-Wan Kenobi … the first two episodes of the Ewan McGregor–starring miniseries are nearly all undiluted nostalgia with no wisdom to impart and not much of a story to tell. Lacking the charm of The Mandalorian and embracing the hackneyed efforts of The Book of Boba Fett, the adrift Obi-Wan Kenobi plays way too coy and cute to be taken seriously as anything more than s slick-ish subscriber grab.
Dominic Patten, Deadline Hollywood Daily

The Star Wars franchise seems truly scared of forging new ground, and nothing in Obi-Wan Kenobi seems interested in taking any real risks. —Drew Dietsch, Giant Freakin Robot

Final Thoughts? 

OBI-WAN KENOBI limited series

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Long-suffering Star Wars devotees may find their cockles gently warmed by Obi-Wan Kenobi. —Ed Power, Daily Telegraph (UK)

Deborah Chow and the cast and crew have not only risen to the occasion, but they’ve exceeded all hopes. —Brett White, Decider

A promising start, this shows a solid understanding of its hero and hints at an exciting new adventure in those missing decades of his life. —Helen O’Hara, Empire Magazine

Answering some key questions and filling huge plot holes in the Star Wars universe, Obi-Wan Kenobi shows that a Ewan McGregor ages like a fine wine and is in no way bantha fodder. —Christie Cronan, Raising Whasians

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