It’s been 17 years since Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi graced the silver screen, but after all that waiting he’s back. Disney has dropped the first two episodes of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney Plus. The only question now is whether the show is actually good or not.
In a surprising move, Disney seemingly didn’t release Obi-Wan screeners to the press. That means there were no advance reviews, and the first people to actually see the show were at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim this week. But now that the first two episodes are available on Disney Plus, the reviews and reactions are hitting the internet.
Here's a roundup of all the major Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi reviews so far. And be sure to check out our own Henry T. Casey's take: I just wanted Obi-Wan Kenobi — what I love and hate so far.
Obi-Wan Kenobi reviews
So far it looks like the reaction to Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is pretty positive. Currently the Rotten Tomatoes Critics score is sitting at 88%, while the Audience score is at 74%. Over on IMDB, Obi-Wan has a score of 8.8/10 for the first two episodes. That's based on 5.9K user reviews, so we can expect it to change over the weekend as more people tune into the series.
Decider says Obi-Wan Kenobi is a “tense thrill ride that exceeds the hype.” That means the show has got to be absolutely intense, seeing as how much hype has been built for Kenobi.
The Guardian — 3/5
The Guardian isn't quite so sure about it. On the plus side, it states that "the fight scenes are genuinely thrilling," and describes it as "a kind of intergalactic John Wick" — which, let's face it, is pretty high praise. It also reckons that "it works marvellously" when it leans into its main premise and praises the way that Ewan McGregor lets "his natural charisma seep through" his performance. Against that, it questions whether this show actually needed to be made at all, and only awards it 3/5 stars.
Gamesradar — 4.5/5
GamesRadar gave the first episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi 4.5/5, calling it "a mature, beautifully realized slice of Star Wars". The site then goes onto say that this should be the blueprint for Star Wars shows of its ilk that are on the way.
io9's recap of the first two episodes boldly proclaim that they are both "what they should be", and that the show is set to change out understanding of old Ben Kenobi and his years exiled in the wastes of Tatooine.
Empire — 4/5
Empire has given the show 4/5, declaring the show to be "a promising start" and prove it has a "solid understanding of its hero". The review also throws some shade at The Book of Boba Fett, claiming that Obi-Wan Kenobi is a "welcome return to form" after the "misfiring" of Fett's divisive spin-off.
The Independent — 4/5
The Independent's review is just as positive, pointing out that Obi-Wan Kenobi's self-contained story gives it "more purpose" than other Star Wars shows. To the point where it could have worked just as well as a movie. It also noted that McGregor's return was a highlight, bringing new dimensions to Ben Kenobi without losing everything that made fans love him in the first place — like what happened to Boba Fett.
Metro — 4/5
We're seeing a trend here, as Metro gives Obi-Wan Kenobi another warm review — and a 4/5 score. The paper praises McGregor's return to the role, noting that it feels as though he never actually left. It notes that the first two episodes "mark a strong, emotional, nostalgic and humorous start to the series" — but notes the fact we're already a third of the way through the sex-episode run is rather heart braking.
Comic Book has been a little more mixed in its review. The site notes that the first two Obi-Wan Kenobi episodes help set up a "clear story frame" for the series, it still feels like a "jumbled mix" of different Star Wars instalments.
Episode 2, in particular, is noted as feeling more like The Phantom Menace for reasons we won't spoil. Meanwhile Moses Ingram's Third Sister has yet to prove herself an interesting antagonist.
Radio Times took a slightly more novel approach, live blogging its reaction to the first episodes as they were being watched. RT found that both episodes were a good start to Obi-Wan Kenobi, and agreed with sentiment that the show feels more like a movie than the other Star Wars shows.
IGN — 8/10
IGN has given Obi-Wan Kenobi 8/10, noting that the series has so far been "surprisingly complex and unexpectedly mature". While still heavy on the action, and the big sci-fi moments, the site notes that this feels, so far at any rate, "like the most well-balanced Star Wars story for quite some time."
CNET was especially positive about how Obi-Wan Kenobi isn't overly focused on Tatooine — a trap Star Wars has fallen into recently. But despite the flaws Obi-Wan Kenobi has, thé show is "still satisfyingly Star Wars". While there's still four episodes to go, CNET claims Obi-Wan Kenobi as proof that the Star Wars franchise still has life left in it.
In what seems to be some rare negative reception, Deadline was not singing Obi-Wan Kenobi's praises. Instead Deadline concluded that the show is trying to hard and "lacks force". Likening the first two episodes as Lawrence of Arabia mixed in with Blade Runner, some of The Matrix and "an unseen Home Alone sequel" — all of which is "disappointing, and yet unsurprising".
Slashfilm's review seems rather ambivalent about Obi-Wan Kenobi. Despite declaring the show to be "unnecessary", the site notes that it still manages to feel like a vital and thrilling instalment in the Star Was canon.
With comparisons to the John Wick franchise, Slashfilm notes that Obi-Wan is still "the meal no one ordered". But despite this it still manages to be "a thrilling new adventure that adds enticing emotional layers to the Jedi Master's story."
Obi-Wan Kenobi early reactions
Outside of the full reviews above, critics and fans mostly seem to have enjoyed the show, and have been saying as much over on Twitter.
“Glad they’re releasing two at once, because one is not enough!” say our friends at Total Film
First episode over — and wow, what a start to #ObiWan, a very special premier that pulls Obi into the action in a very unexpected way. Glad they’re releasing two at once, because one is not enough! #StarWarsCelebration https://t.co/H9BF6EQhvxMay 27, 2022
Comic Book’s Brandon Davis tweeted that the first episode is really surprising, and that he “really enjoyed it in ways [he] wasn’t expecting.”
#ObiWanKenobi’s first episode is really surprising! I really enjoyed it in ways that I wasn’t expecting.Some big character moments and surprising plot lines drive it to set up a really intriguing start. It feels like there’s still so much more to come. pic.twitter.com/7ZmGTRaJ6fMay 27, 2022
Davis later added, after having seen Episode 2 that Obi-Wan Kenobi is “off to a great start” and that he loved the first two episodes.
Nerdist’s Lee Travis also praised Mcgregor as an older Kenobi, especially with his eye acting.
#ObiWanKenobi first reactions ✨ Ewan McGregor brings the emotion as an older Kenobi. His eye acting is next level. The sorrow of the galaxy is center stage and felt everywhere. pic.twitter.com/RIAalz3Ij6May 27, 2022
James Whitbrook, of io9, proclaimed the series was “good” and a “rare example of modern [Star Wars] leaning on continuity connections that make sense instead of emotional manipulation.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi... is good. It's the rare example of modern SW leaning on continuity connections that make sense instead of emotional manipulation, and it's anchored in a truly incredible performance by Ewan McGregor as a broken, haunted man relearning who he is. I'm impressed! pic.twitter.com/ohIId777L3May 27, 2022
Maggie Lovitt of Wealth of Geeks said the first two episodes to be “incredible” and that she was speechless.
The first two episodes of #ObiWan are incredible. I am speechless.May 27, 2022
JoBlo has even gone so far as to give Obi-Wan Kenobi a full 10/10, declaring it to be an “absolutely fantastic bridge between the prequels and the original trilogy.”
#ObiWan is 10/10. Absolutely fantastic bridge between the prequels and original trilogy. People are crying in the audience. Full review soon.May 27, 2022
Newsy’s Clayton Sandel was equally positive, declaring the show a “masterpiece” and “the best of Star Wars, old and new.”
#ObiWanKenobi is a masterpiece. The best of Star Wars, old and new. Truly next-level. Incredibly cinematic storytelling with so many surprises. It’s going to occupy a very, very special place in the Star Wars pantheon. pic.twitter.com/VXuRqBA2JGMay 27, 2022
We at Tom’s Guide still haven’t seen the first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi just yet. New episodes dropping in the middle of the night make that rather difficult, especially when we end up with two at once. Both episodes are available to watch now on Disney Plus, with new episodes dropping each week.
Just be sure to stay off Twitter and other social media sites until you’re caught up, as there are already a lot of spoilers out there.
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Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.