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Why I’m more excited for Obi Wan Kenobi than Stranger Things season 4

Obi Wan Kenobi on Disney Plus and Stranger Things 4 on Netflix
(Image credit: Disney/Netflix)

May 27 is a big day in the streaming world, with the arrival of two eagerly-anticipated shows. Obi Wan Kenobi will be going head to head with the kids from Hawkins, landing on Disney Plus the same day as the first part of Stranger Things season 4.

Both shows have been eagerly-anticipated for some time, and we've pulled together an Obi-Wan Kenobi cast and character guide and a Stranger Things cast and character guide to get you up to speed. It’s been three years since Stranger Things’ third season ended, leaving a pseudo-cliffhanger for us to deal with. Meanwhile, it feels like a standalone Obi Wan project has been rumored ever since Disney announced development on the first Star Wars spin-off movies back in 2013.

The closer we get to the premiere of both shows, the more it’s clear that my feelings are very one-sided. Specifically, I am pretty excited for Obi Wan Kenobi to hit my TV screen, while I couldn't care less about Stranger Things coming back.

Obi Wan Kenobi is bringing back the Star Wars prequels’ best character

Star Wars: Obi Wan Kenobi is not just my most anticipated TV show of the month, it’s also the Star Wars spin-off I’ve wanted to see for the better part of a decade. And it all comes down to the fact Ewan McGregor is back in one of his most famous roles.

Obi Wan Kenobi on Disney Plus

(Image credit: Disney)

There may be an increasing number of prequel apologists who genuinely love Episodes 1-3; I am not one of them. The prequels are not good films, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some nice things to say about them. Ewan McGregor’s performance as Obi Wan stands out among it all. He’s the only true redeeming part of the trilogy, and I’ve yet to meet a single person who doesn’t like McGregor in the role. It’s one of the few things all Star Wars fans can actually agree on.

It’s no surprise that fans have been calling for an Obi Wan spin off for so long that McGregor eventually got very snappy with all the people asking him questions about it. In part because he had to lie to them all, but also because it sounds super frustrating.

Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan stands out as the only true redeeming part of the Episode 1-3 trilogy, and I’ve yet to meet a single person who doesn’t like him in the role.

To top it all off, Obi Wan Kenobi isn’t just going to focus on lounging around the sands of Tatooine waiting for something to do. This isn’t the Book of Boba Fett. Disney’s marketing hasn’t revealed a lot, but one thing we know for sure is that Obi Wan is going to end up a man on the run. 

There’s no time to wistfully watch over baby Luke Skywalker when there are Inquisitors to run from and killer asthmatic cyborgs lurking in the shadows. And in a galaxy where Jedi are hunted with extreme prejudice, his lightsaber and force abilities are only so much use.

While Disney-era Star Wars movies have been controversial, the TV wing has been consistently great — even The Book of Boba Fett, which I enjoyed watching regardless of what people on the internet might be saying. I have no doubt that Obi Wan Kenobi can knock it out of the park again, especially seeing as this won’t be another show that limits its activities to Tatooine. 

Sure, we know that Obi Wan survives at least another decade into the events of A New Hope, while Vader kicks the bucket a little later at the conclusion of Return of the Jedi. But as is the way with any sort of prequel, it’s not about where the story ends up — it’s how it gets there. 

And based on what we’ve seen so far, Obi Wan Kenobi’s six-episode run is going to be one hell of a journey.

I have very tepid feelings towards Stranger Things season 4

Back when I saw the very first trailer for Stranger Things, I got excited. This was way back in 2016, which feels like a lifetime ago and the world was a very different place. Obama was still president, the word COVID did not exist and people still liked Game of Thrones.

Netflix Originals were also, on the whole, pretty good. So when I saw this trailer for a new show, which came across like ET meets Stephen King, I was pretty excited. Stranger Things’ first season did not disappoint, and the following two seasons kept me enthralled.

Stranger Things season 4

(Image credit: Netflix via YouTube)

It doesn’t matter that Hopper is in a Russian gulag, or the fact Eleven’s powers might be on the fritz. I just do not care.

There was a bit of a wait to endure between each new batch, but Stranger Things managed to deliver. They weren’t perfect, by any means, but Stranger Things season 2 and 3 were among the best Netflix shows when they debuted.

Unfortunately, my feelings towards the show have gone much the same way as my feelings for Rick and Morty. It’s not that I have given up on the show, just that the lengthy gap between seasons got so severe that whatever embers of hype I had left have been completely extinguished.

It certainly hasn’t helped that my opinion of Netflix has soured over the past three years. It’s all been downhill since Netflix canceled the Santa Clarita Diet in April 2019, which was one of the driving forces behind my decision to cancel my subscription later that year. 

Since then just about every Netflix show anyone seems to care about has been axed before its time, including The OA, Glow, Travelers, Baby-Sitters Club and The Society. Plus, all the live-action Marvel shows migrated to Disney Plus, like Daredevil. 

No matter how many trailers I watch, or how much my colleagues talk about Stranger Things, I just can not get excited for it. It doesn’t matter that Hopper is in a Russian gulag, or the fact Eleven’s powers might be on the fritz. I just do not care.

Some new TV shows will have me wake up before work, ready to watch an episode and see what happens. WandaVision was a great example, because that show was just so compelling and mysterious I had to know what was going on. I have a feeling Obi Wan Kenobi will end up the same way.

I’m not entirely sure if and when I’ll watch Stranger Things season 4. I do have access to Netflix, since I’m one of the password sharers the streamer has decided to crack down on, but it’s rarely my go-to streaming service. In fact, the only activity my profile has seen the past few weeks is me watching the latest episode of Better Call Saul season 6 on Tuesday evenings. 

Chances are I’ll find myself bored without something to watch, and decide the time is right to give Stranger Things 4 a chance. Or maybe I’ll end up watching it with my girlfriend, on account of us not being able to find anything else we’ll both be happy to watch. In any case, unless Netflix can perform a miracle over the next couple of weeks, my level of excitement for the show is going to be extremely tepid.

Bottom line

It goes without saying that there’s room in my life for Obi Wan Kenobi and Stranger Things. The first wave of episodes may be debuting on the same day, but it’s not like I can’t watch and enjoy both. After work is over, of course, because concentrating on a TV show while trying to think and type coherently is pretty much impossible.

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

(Image credit: Disney Plus)

But that doesn’t change the fact that my excitement meter is skewed in one clear direction. Stranger Things’ lengthy gap has not worked in its favor, and I feel like the hype train has lost all its momentum in the process. 

Paradoxically, the 17-year gap between Star Wars Episode 3 and Obi Wan Kenobi has only worked in its favor. It could be nostalgia, or it could be the fact that Disney Plus has yet to let me down where Star Wars is concerned. 

In any case, May 27 can not come fast enough. I’m pretty sure I’ll be awake early, ready to catch the first episode of Obi Wan Kenobi when it lands at 8 a.m. U.K. time, and my lunch menu will consist entirely of episode 2. As for Stranger Things? Meh.

Tom Pritchard
Automotive Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. 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 that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.