Let’s Discuss The Mind-Blowing Ending To Obi-Wan

Let’s Discuss The Mind-Blowing Ending To Obi-Wan
Photo: Disney / Lucasfilm

So, Obi-Wan. If nothing else, you can’t deny that it was a TV show, and that after six episodes, it has now ended its run on Disney+, at least for now. Obviously, Kotaku’s biggest Star Wars nerds — Ethan Gach, Ari Notis, and, no surprise here for longtime readers, Zack Zwiezen — had to talk about the finale, the show’s highest and lowest points, and the broader impact its events have on ~the canon~. May the Force be with us all.

Let’s Discuss The Mind-Blowing Ending To Obi-Wan

Ethan Gach: I will start by saying that I didn’t think the first half of Obi-Wan was nearly as bad as people said, and I also think the second half was much worse. And by “people said” I mean like, random headlines in my newsfeed.

Zack Zwiezen: I really enjoyed the first half and was confused by folks being so down on it.

Ari Notis: The first half of Obi-Wan does at least feature history’s funniest chase scene, that’s true.

Zack: See, I didn’t mind that at all because they had her. They knew she was screwed. So why kill yourself trying to get a kid that you know is surrounded. Personally, I respect those henchmen. I’m also lazy.

Ari: Oh, yeah, let me be clear: I say that as praise! Star Wars at its best is always a little bit silly, which is something that’s been absent from the more recent films and series.

Ethan: We should probably start with the finale. Look, I’ll be honest, I was looking at my phone the exact moment Obi-Wan sprang out of the rock pit. How did that happen?

Zack: He used the Force! As his connection to it had grown.

Ari: He…Forced his way out, you could say.

Ethan: The oldest trick in the book. Gamers rise up.

Zack: I really liked the first half of the show. But the second half and the finale were my favourite. That fight with Vader at the end was so sad.

Ethan: The Star Wars apologist has entered the chat.

Ari: Sorry, Ethan, you’re facing off against two Star Wars apologists. That fight was awesome — and then, yes, extremely heartbreaking.

Zack: The moment he sees his face, realises his friend and brother is dead and shows him mercy, the same mercy Anakin mocked in the training flashback…Damn. (It also reminded me a lot of the Ahsoka/Vader duel in Rebels! It’s like poetry, they rhyme!)

Ethan: I do think this series accomplished the sole thing it needed to, which was make the Obi-Wan/Anakin arc believable, and they did it with only two very brief scenes.

Ari: Make it believable by, like, bridging the gap between the end of the prequels and the beginning of the original trilogy?

Screenshot: Disney / LucasfilmScreenshot: Disney / Lucasfilm

Ethan: Or by bringing Hayden Christensen back after he had decades to do better line reads in his head.

Zack: It explains why Obi-Wan is so ready for Luke to kill Vader in Empire/Jedi, also. He has truly given up on him. He’s gone. That moment, when Vader smirks and says he killed Anakin. And the red tint takes over. That’s it. Obi-Wan is done with him. Even calls him Darth, a nice callback to A New Hope.

Ari: OK, but: Darth is a title! Not a name!!!

Zack: Yeah, but back when they made A New Hope, Lucas had no idea that Darth would become a title, which is really why Obi-Wan says Darth in that moment. I also want to point out that Reva is great in this show, and I’m excited to see more of her, maybe in Fallen Order 2?

Ethan: I will say that I don’t think the series earns any of its reversals, including Reva’s nonsensical two-episode motivational rollercoaster ride, or Obi-Wan not killing Vader a second time, after his second-biggest failure was not killing him the first time.

Zack: Obi-Wan shows him mercy, which is very true to his return to being a Jedi at that moment.

Ari: Obi-Wan refusing to kill Vader a second time made absolutely no sense to me. Especially since the whole reason he stole the escape ship and headed to the planet was implicitly an ego-driven mission to kill Vader!

Zack: Right! But then he realises what his friend became giving into the dark side and stops, similar to Reva.

Ethan: Darth Maul? General Grievous? Mercy has never been a Jedi thing except when it serves to make more spin-offs.

Zack: In both those instances the other person was trying to kill them. Here, Vader was down and done.

Ethan: Think of the younglings, Zack.

Zack: lol

Ethan: I also think the correct interpretation of the original prequels was that he left Vader to die. So I don’t buy this mercy shit. I think the writers just knew Vader couldn’t die because of ~THE TIMELINE~, and no one at Disney has the cojones to do what Final Fantasy is doing.

Photo: Disney / LucasfilmPhoto: Disney / Lucasfilm

Zack: Oh he totally left Vader to die. And then spent a decade terrorised by it. And trying to get over that.

Ari: 100 per cent — you can see the shock on Ewan McGregor’s face earlier in the show when he learns Vader is still alive.

Zack: And in this show he finds peace after showing mercy.

Ethan: I think it’s clear from the show his baggage was never with leaving him to die. It was with training a baby-killer, as evidenced by the many flashbacks to Anakin killing babies, and the fact the writers made one who survived a main character.

Zack: I think he definitely had some baggage about killing his brother and friend!

Ari: Omg, that twist! I’ll fully admit I didn’t see that coming for Reva.

Zack: The moment when she explains how she lived, the timing of that…fuck. That’s not Lucasfilm’s fault, of course.

Ari: But it played so well into the mythos of Vader, too — how he knew the whole damn time, and was just toying with her for, what, like five years?

Zack: Vader loves to be extra dramatic. It’s something the comics have really amped up and I love it.

Ethan: I think she had a very compelling character, and was extremely ill-served by not getting a single first-person episode and being continually upstaged by Leia. For the record, I hate kids onscreen because they usually can’t act.

Zack: It was odd that they never gave her an episode! But also, now she can get her own show or movie or comic.

Ari: She absolutely deserved her own episode, yeah.

Zack: I think Leia’s actor was mostly solid. Her scenes with Obi-Wan remembering Padme were some of my favourites.

Ari: What’d you guys make of the whole, “There’s no way she’s a believable 10-year-old” discourse?

Zack: People need to go outside.

Ethan: The internet is dumb.

Ari: Hahahah.

Screenshot: Disney / LucasfilmScreenshot: Disney / Lucasfilm

Zack: I’ve met kids that acted like her. Kids can be smart. Can be brave. Can be dumb at any age.

Ari: Right! Which is why it was weird for the writers to sneak that line in, from Obi-Wan no less, about how she doesn’t act like a child.

Zack: I think it’s more that she’s growing up fast.

Ethan: Also, nothing in this show is believable.

Zack: Well, that too. This is Star Wars.

Ethan: Least of all Obi-Wan suddenly out-Force-pushing Vader. Is now when I show you guys my three-chart analysis of relative Jedi fighter strength?

Zack: As Han Solo said, that’s not how the Force works, Ethan

Ethan: I think it was just a very trite mechanism for trying to fix Obi-Wan’s trauma — pure-hearted wunderkid teaches old man he doesn’t have to fix the past to live in the now.

Zack: So…Star Wars?

Ari: For a series that’s become so obsessed with “letting the past die” it’s really committed to living in the past, huh.

Zack: I swear, I let it slide for this show because I love Obi-Wan, but if we go back to Tatooine again, I will scream.

Ethan: Zack, what were the conspiracy theories about Obi-Wan being a clone or from a different timeline?

Zack: Back in the old days, before the prequels, people theorised that Obi-Wan was a clone warrior from the Clone Wars: OB-1.

Ari: Oh, I get it! Obi-One!

Ethan: I do think there was an opening for them to blow up the timeline, and that at some point they will have to retcon more stuff in bigger ways and that will be fine because people are just here for the light sabers and dumb sound effects.

Zack: I want them to move forward with Star Wars, or go way back and do some High Republic stuff.

Ethan: Amazing what you can conjure with one mysterious line and not 100 books, movies, and TV shows of backstory. Can we talk about Dude Where’s My Speeder Qui-Gon?

Zack: Hey, I’ve wanted a Force ghost Qui-Gon in live-action for a long time. Dude was the first Jedi to figure that out.

Ethan: Big same, Zack. Qui-Gon is the coolest onscreen Jedi (makes sense because he’s, like, the last of a dying breed) and yet his cameo felt like it had all the TLC of an overdue school project being glued together during homeroom.

Zack: Yeah…I expected more!

Ari: Qui-Gon invented the Force ghost?

Zack: It’s a lot but, yes. I don’t want to dump all that in here.

Ethan: Ari, where have you been?

Ari: I’ve been outside! So I’ll settle for the three-sentence rundown.

Zack: Qui-Gon was extremely connected to the living Force, and was able to live beyond his mortal life. And taught Yoda this in the Clone Wars show. And presumably taught Obi-Wan.

Ari: OK, reconsidering the scenes where Obi-Wan’s trying to talk to him…those make way more sense now.

Zack: Oh, yeah. Part of the reason Obi-Wan can’t see him or talk to him at first is that, to do that, you need to be at peace with yourself. And, uh…as we saw, he had some baggage and demons to deal with.

Ari: Hence the mercy thing.

Ethan: Love to let the galaxy’s Hitler go so I can finally just vibe with my mentor in the desert.

Ari: There’s a case to be made that Obi-Wan is now partially responsible for the destruction of Alderaan.

Zack: I mean, that’s more on Tarkin and Krennic. But it also falls in line with the Obi-Wan we see in New Hope. Dude just lets Vader “win” because that’s all he wants. That whole “strike me down, and I’ll become more powerful” stuff. Personally, and I know Ewan has said he’s down for more, but I’m good with this being a one-and-done show. I think this is all we need. The comics pick up after this and tell some smaller stories, but that doesn’t need to be a show.

Ethan: I do think there is an important tension between Jedi being space police and spiritual stoics and Obi-Wan prioritising his own salvation over the material needs of his friends and peers. That’s an intriguing character wrinkle that this show wanted to have both ways.

Zack: Oh yes! This is something that the movies don’t deal with very well, but shows and comics have — the idea of these space monks also being space cops and how, over time, that ends up being the thing that does them in, that they get too obsessed with rules and protecting the galaxy and fighting in wars, and lose their way and connection to the Force.

Ethan: Where would you both rank the finale in terms of the six-part series, and if taken altogether, where would you rank it among the rest of the series and movies?

Ari: That’s still gestating for me, but I will say: This could’ve been a movie. Maybe even should’ve.

Zack: Hmmmm…I’ve been thinking about that. I think the finale was my favourite episode. And I think altogether, it’s my favourite live-action Star Wars thing since Last Jedi. It also could have been a movie! But Lucasfilm seems terrified of making those right now.

Ethan: Obviously I’d rank it above Boba Fett but below Mando. And somewhere in the bottom third of movies and series overall. I can appreciate that Disney is just throwing money at its properties to flood Disney+ with content, but the nerd in me would love for a prestige High Republic series at some point where it’s mostly just people talking in front of sci-fi backdrops.

Zack: We are getting the Acolyte, which will likely be a High Republic show! At least, based on the details that have been shared about it.

Ari: That’d be the dream, though it seems like Disney is intent on colouring in every little gap in this tiny five-decade period of Star Wars history, despite the canon spanning thousands of years of a single galaxy. Did the Reva part of the finale work for you two? Or do you, like me, think her character probably should’ve just exited (still alive, but with a cliffhanger) at the end of episode five?

Photo: Disney / LucasfilmPhoto: Disney / Lucasfilm

Zack: I wasn’t sure about it until the moment when she sees herself as Luke and realises she is becoming a monster, like Vader. That conversation between her and Obi-wan, plus that moment, worked and so I was happy to have her back for the finale. And I do think she shows up again, somewhere.

Ari: With the announcement of Fallen Order 2 taking place around the same point in the timeline, and the prevalence of Inquisitors in the first game, that seems likely, yeah. But I don’t know, I guess I just couldn’t square the logic of her going to Tattooine to murder Luke? Like what was the point of that? Other than an excuse to get her and Obi-Wan on screen together again.

Zack: She just wanted to hurt Obi-Wan, somehow. She couldn’t kill Vader and was desperate for revenge.

Ethan: I read it as her being able to kill Vader’s kid.

Ari: Is it established that she knows Luke’s his kid?

Zack: Did the message say it was Vader’s kid?

Ethan: Don’t head-canon shame me.

Zack: Lol. I did like how Luke never sees her lightsaber, so he can still be surprised to see Obi-Wan’s. It reminded me of how Anakin and General Grievous never meet in Clone Wars, so his line about the general looking short works in Revenge of the Sith.

Ethan: It’s wild they spend so much time worrying about the silly continuity stuff (and only half the time) and not, like, making good TV.

Zack: But Ethan, it was good TV?! But also I’m a sucker for them doing silly things like that to protect ~the canon~.

Ari: Honestly, shoot the canon with a Death Star cannon.

Ethan: I do think it’s telling that they spent all this money and time and basically delivered on little more than you’d get from a BioWare Old Republic cinematic trailer. Here’s to Jedi Fallen Order 2 (sorry, never gonna call it Survivor) being better than every new Star Wars thing since Disney Plus launched.

Zack: Hey, Bad Batch was great!

Ari: Let’s call it Jedi Standing-Back-Up-Again Order.

Zack: So, who’s excited about Andor?

[Everyone abandons Zack to his own personal fantasy realm in which even the prequels are considered good.]

 

Comments

  • I agree with Ethan in that the first 2 or 3 episodes were good but then the wheels came right off from episode 4 to 6, especially since there were so many incredibly dumb scenes in the last few episodes like when breaking out Leia and all Obi did was hide her under his shirt and robe and somehow no one in the fortress noticed how fucking odd and stupid it all looked or how or how incredibly the empire and the rebels in the mining base stood a few feet from each other and only a few people managed to get hit. I twas like watching the Transformers from the 80’s. But I think the biggest problem was how pointless the show was in being made. Much like the Solo movie, you knew no matter what happened, Obi and Leia would survive so it made the stakes the show tried to raise all the more pointless and it didn’t really add much to the lore of Obi. Andor should be better I hope since it appears to not feature any main stay characters from the original trilogy.

  • The pacing in this series was bad and Reva’s PTSD should’ve been on show far sooner in the series than leaving it to the last two episodes. All of Obi-Wan’s discussions with the refugee crew in VI should’ve been cut entirely, because it was a waste of time and added nothing to the finale. The shaky cam was also fucking terrible and whoever decided to have that as the default camera should feel terrible because it made the show nearly unwatchable. There’s so many little problems with the show that should’ve and could’ve easily been fixed to improve the viewing experience.

    • Added nothing to the finale? the only reason he is facing Vader is to save Leia and to buy them time. The whole point of the Jedi is be peace keepers, to help those who need it. In the first episode he failed that one Jedi, in this last episode he has come full circle and is finally re-embracing his full connection to the force, those refugees ARE the reason he is fighting Vader. Acts of kindness and bravery like that is the fuel for Jedi’s, just like emo-whining fuels the Sith.

      • None of that has to be shown on screen after last episode clearly established the situation of Obi-Wan helping them. Show, don’t tell. We don’t need a pointless rehash, when we could’ve immediately cut to Obi-Wan in the drop ship as it leaves the main ship, with him asking Qui-Gon for help there as he flies off to act as a distraction, then we could’ve had a cut to the refugees being unhappy and had that all conveyed in under a minute. None of that opening segment was at all necessary and it could’ve been instead used to give us more meat in the Lars vs Reva or Obi-Wan vs Vader or Reva and Obi-Wan scenes as befitting of a final episode. We already know Obi-Wan’s a decent human being, because he already showed that last episode. It doesn’t need to bludgeon us and waste time to make that point. It’s sloppy writing that it wasn’t condensed.

    • I did notice the shaky cam, and prefer it not to be used because it’s just such a weird perspective shift, but I can’t say it made it near-unwatchable. Does it cause you motion sickness or something?

      • I got terrible motion sickness and headaches watching it. It was okay during the action scenes, but during the low movement scenes it really messed with me. I’d rate the series much higher, for more than any other reason, if they released a version without the shaky cam. It was the largest negative impact on my viewing experience.

  • It was just so amazing. Sure I am not sure I agree with some of it, but the same can be said about any Star Wars ever. I love that the last fight is storytelling via fighting stances, generations in the making. I also like that Obi-wan just walks away, because unlike the million fans who knows what the future holds, Obi-wan wasnt fighting Vader to save the world, he wasnt fighting him to defeat, he was literally only fighting him because he was buying time to save Leia, by way of saving all the refugees.

    PS He called him Darth in this, not as a name, not because it is a title but to completely dehumanise him, Vader is proud he killed Anakin (apparently) and proud of the machine he has become, to call him Darth was an almost sarcastic mocking of his Sith vanity.

    • I might not call it amazing, but I do not in any way think it was the dumpster fire some people are screaming that it was.

      I really feel like I was watching an ENTIRELY different show to those people acting like they butchered everything Obi-Wan and Obi-Wan adjacent. Because as far as I’m concerned there was a lot to like.

      Though I do agree with part of louie’s comment above about Reva, and think her entire character arc would have gone over quite a bit better if her true motivations were revealed a little earlier than they were instead of basically at the end.

      • I’m in the same boat as you and would give it a 6 or 7 out of 10. Most of those points would be lost to the shaky cam and questionable pacing, not the characterisation in and of itself. A lot of little things in this series added up, but it wasn’t because it was a dumpster fire in the character department. They were mainly technical problems with the execution like the scoring, pacing, stunt work, shaky cam etc. and getting rid of the shaky cam alone would be a huge improvement.

  • As one of the biggest haters of the sequels, I thought this was pretty damn good. It had some low moments, like the chase of Leia in the woods, the Leia-in-a-coat moment, some script issues and issues with consistency of performance but overall it was great classic star wars.

    Unlike many, I loved Leia’s performance; I thought she got the attitude and confidence of her older self quite right.

    I saw Reva’s story as a youngling hunting Vader, stopping at nothing to do so, and her redemption, coming from a mile away so I don’t have much to say about that unlike others.

    Episode 6 was fantastic. And after Luke being dumpstered by Ep 8 it was nice to see Vader and Obi Wan be treated well in this series. Personally I think they should just leave it there, any more just risks screwing up what they managed to pull off here…

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