Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 1 Sends The Exiled Jedi Master On One Final Mission

"Obi-Wan Kenobi" is the newest television offering in the "Star Wars" universe. Originally conceived as a feature film, director Deborah Chow transformed it into a six-episode Disney+ event and the first two episodes have dropped.

The first episode begins in the opening moments of Order 66, as Darth Vader and the 501st march upon the Jedi temple, slaughtering Jedi. Then, as the titles reveal, we skip ahead 10 years to Tatooine. Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) is now going by the name of Ben, hiding on the desert planet and watching over Luke Skywalker. Hunting a young Jedi on the run brings the Inquisitors to Tatooine, where one Inquisitor in particular, Reva (Moses Ingram), aka the Third Sister, wants to be hunting larger game. She hatches a scheme to draw Obi-Wan out of hiding. Reading of his connection to Bail Organa during the war, Reva arranges for a ne'er-do-well named Vect (played by Flea) to kidnap Bail's young daughter, Leia, Princess of Alderaan.

With nowhere left to turn, Bail and Breha Organa plead with Obi-Wan to take up one final mission to rescue Leia.

The former Jedi has spent the last decade staying away from the Jedi life and anything that would give him away or draw attention to the fact that he is safeguarding the son of Skywalker. But his conscience gets the better of him and he lights off once more to the stars on a mission that could have consequences for the entire galaxy.

The timeline

"Ten Years Later" can mean a lot of things in a timeline that can be as squishy as the one in "Star Wars," where no date is defined solidly until it absolutely has to be. But we have some guideposts to look for and events that are before and after this. The events of "Star Wars Rebels," where the Inquisitors were originally introduced to the "Star Wars" universe, takes place about five years after this. Reva is not among the Inquisitors we met there, which means we can extrapolate a few things about her potential fate from that. It's easy to track the age of Ezra Bridger — the young street rat from "Rebels" — and the timeline compared to Luke and Leia; they were all born about the same day. Which means Obi-Wan's final confrontation with Darth Maul is still six or seven years away at minimum.

Ten years into the dark times of the Empire's takeover means that the presence of the Empire is still spreading through the galaxy. Even on Tatooine, they act as though the Outer Rim isn't part of the Empire and was never part of the Republic. But the dark side goes where it wants.

We can also assume that Obi-Wan is still not in his hovel from "A New Hope." At this point in the timeline, he's still living in a cave within macrobinocular range of the Lars homestead.

Details to watch out for

There are quite a few ties to other bits of "Star Wars" through this episode of "Obi-Wan Kenobi," starting with Luke's T-16 Skyhopper toy. Obi-Wan, in a charming interaction with a Jawa, purchases a broken old toy for his young charge, hoping to inspire a view of the world beyond a moisture farm. At night, he drops the toy on the Lars homestead, leaving it for the boy. Owen (played to gruff and resolute perfection by Joel Edgerton) refuses the gift and chides Obi-Wan to stay away from them. Something must change his mind though — whether he gets him the toy himself or finally accepts the one Obi-Wan gave to Luke — this is the same sort of toy we see Luke playing with in the Lars garage in "A New Hope."

There are many echoes of dialogue from other "Star Wars" installments in here. Ben's reference to the Jedi being "all but extinct" echoes something Tarkin tells Vader in "A New Hope." Breha Organa, Leia's mother (Simone Kessell) tells Leia that if she "behaved as well as she climbed" she would be a senator already, an echo of Obi-Wan telling Leia's father in "Attack of the Clones," "If you practiced your saber technique as much as you do your wit, you would rival Master Yoda as a swordsman."

There are a few more obscure references from Leia and her mother. Leia mentions a Tri-Wing fighter that could be Aquillan Rangers searching for Merson pirates. The Aquillan Rangers were a group from an early draft of George Lucas's "Star Wars" script. Both Deak Starkiller and Bail Antilles were Aquillan Rangers and the famous artwork of Ralph McQuarrie, with the breath-masked Luke facing off against Darth Vader was really one of these Aquillan Rangers. The Merson pirates go back to issue 24 of the original Marvel Comics where Princess Leia recounts a story of Ben Kenobi fighting against them. The most obscure reference might be the creature Breha Organa compares raising Leia, to: a glor'ag. Glor'ags were mentioned in old "Star Wars Adventure Journals," a supplement to the old West End "Star Wars" Roleplaying Game. With Pablo Hidalgo the chief lore consultant for this show and a big fan of the roleplaying games, I would not be surprised that this was his influence.

The last big thing was Anthony Daniels as C-3PO appearing on Alderaan. Perhaps his mind will once again be wiped, but he'll never stray far from the Organa or Skywalker family.

The final word

This show carefully takes the pathos of the prequels and writes it heavily weighing on the shoulders of Obi-Wan, treating the source material with the respect it deserves. The first episode brings us up to speed in the universe while never forgetting what got us there. Fans asked what could possibly get Obi-Wan Kenobi to leave his watch over Luke on Tatooine and Deborah Chow was able to come up with the single most compelling reason to do so.

Watching Obi-Wan struggle with being the fish out of water in a way he never did in his time as a Jedi is heartbreaking, but makes terrific drama. The show is excellent and I hope we get more like it from Lucasfilm.