Such debate is inevitable, but almost nothing here outweighs the pleasures of seeing Ewan McGregor again and completely owning the title role, and a lightsaber rematch with Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) who delivered on his promise so spectacular.
In a way, the real triumph of the series was its very clever initial ruse in focusing not on a young Luke but rather on a pint-sized Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair), establishing a connection between Kenobi and the princess while creating a catchy excuse to bring him out of hiding and back into the world of adventure and heroism.
This was just the tip of the project’s inventiveness, which included the clever use of flashback to provide Christensen with real screen time without being buried under that Darth Vader armor or totally giving up his voice to the great James Earl Jones.
The creative spark carried through to the finale and gave huge credit to the writing team (Joby Harold, Andrew Stanton and Hossein Amini collaborated on the script) and director Deborah Chow, who – having also worked on “The Mandalorian” – has more than earned the right to play a major role in Lucasfilm’s plans should it choose to continue operating in this part of the movie galaxy.
Even anticipating some of the flourishes, it was still thrilling – and for some perhaps scary – to hear Kenobi echo his previous words to Anakin saying “I will do what I must” before their brawny duel, or to see Obi-Wan reunited with the ghostly specter of his master, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), an encounter foretold since the end of “Sith.”
Ditto for Vader telling his former master, “You didn’t kill Anakin Skywalker. I did,” a line that directly feeds into Kenobi’s explanation to a more adult Luke about his father’s fate in “A new hope”.
While the ending certainly felt neat and conclusive, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Disney and Lucasfilm are plotting a return to Tatooine if McGregor wants it. Because while fans may have their own ideas about when it’s time to step into the twin sunset, after a project as polished and commercially marketable as this, well, the studios will also do what they must.