Obi-Wan Kenobi zigged where many though it would zag in its first couple episodes, taking Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) away from Tatooine and Luke Skywalker and instead putting the focus on a young Princess Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair), who needs to be rescued by the exiled Jedi master. But in the Disney Plus original series’ third episode, the show leaned into a moment that many fans have been longing for. FYI, we’re about to go into SPOILERS for Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 3.
As the Star Wars universe has expanded through animated series like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, there was a lot of speculation about some of the characters that may show up in Obi-Wan Kenobi. Some thought Darth Maul would make an appearance to reignite his rivalry with Kenobi or maybe a character that has yet to appear in a live-action Star Wars title, like Satine Kryze. One of those characters may still appear in the three remaining episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, but episode 3 featured a character that we all knew would reappear as part of the series, Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen).
At the end of episode 2, Obi-Wan learned from Inquisitor Reva (Moses Ingram) that Darth Vader, aka Obi-Wan’s former apprentice Anakin Skywalker, was not dead as the Jedi had previously thought. In the first moments of episode 3, we see Obi-Wan remembering bits and pieces from Anakin’s downfall. Things then cut to Darth Vader, as his suit is put on and he speaks via hologram with Reva, voiced once again by the incomparable James Earl Jones. That could have been all we got in this episode, as few could have blamed Obi-Wan Kenobi for wanting to slow play its hand, but instead they cranked things up to 11.
After getting themselves into trouble on a mining planet with Stormtroopers, Obi-Wan and Leia meet up with the contact that Haja (Kumail Nanjiani) sent them to, a double agent in the Empire, Taja (Indira Varma). She gets them ready to get on a ship to leave the planet, hiding them in a hidden spot that has been used to help transport many hunted Jedi and Force sensitive children; here we get a Star Wars Easter egg, as Obi-Wan mentions Quinlan, as in Quinlan Vos, who is best known from The Clone Wars.
However, the Inquisitors find Obi-Wan and they’re not alone — Darth Vader himself has come to track down his former master. Though Obi-Wan tries to run away a few times (hoping to give Leia the chance to get on the ship and get off planet), Vader is there to meet him every time. So, to the delight of Star Wars everywhere, Kenobi and Vader have what is now their second ever lightsaber duel.
Unfortunately, as Vader points out, it’s been rough for Obi-Wan in the years since their last fight. He struggles to match Vader and is ultimately unarmed and Force dragged onto a fire; a bit of sadistic karma from Vader for how Obi-Wan left him on Mustafar. Thankfully, Taja comes back to rescue Obi-Wan (though not so good for Leia, who ends up in the hands of Reva).
The hope of seeing Obi-Wan and Darth Vader having a proper lightsaber duel was right at the top of the wish list for Obi-Wan Kenobi. This bout was one sided, but perhaps we’ll get another that will be a more even fight in an upcoming episode.
Here are some of the fan reactions to Obi-Wan vs Darth Vader round two:
“What have you become?” Quite fitting that “Episode 3” of #ObiWanKenobi would deliver the 🔥 🔥 🔥, but man was this a fun episode of #StarWars storytelling. As a longtime fan, this episode hit me w/ all the emotions. It’s both amusing & SCARY. Loving the tonal shifts. Good stuff pic.twitter.com/uLMgyCcB2BJune 1, 2022
Episode 3 of Obi Wan Kenobi is one of the greatest pieces of Star Wars media to date pic.twitter.com/SQ7OrumyfZJune 2, 2022
#ObiWanKenobi Episode 3 is spectacular & the most giddy I’ve felt watching Star Wars since “Chewy, we’re home”. This felt like Star Wars through & through. Sweeping cinematography, well-timed humor, deeply effective emotion, & intense action. MASSIVE step up from Ep 1 & 2. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/9dkjJxYCalJune 1, 2022
#ObiWanKenobi Episode 3 Spoilers--------THIS IS PEAK STAR WARS. I CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST WITNESSED THAT. pic.twitter.com/VHSfKrhERhJune 1, 2022
New episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi premiere on Disney Plus on Wednesdays.
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.