Disney’s recent Star Wars outings have revealed a major galaxy problem, which Obi-Wan Kenobi reverses by visiting 3 different locations in 1 episode.
Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 3.
Disney’s latest original Star Wars show, Obi-Wan Kenobireverses a major Star Wars galaxy problem. Obi-Wan Kenobiwhich takes place 10 years after the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, follows Kenobi’s life as a recluse on Tatooine until Bail Organa tasks him with finding Leia after she was kidnapped by bounty hunters on Alderaan. It’s a dangerous time for Obi-Wan to be wandering the galaxy, as Darth Vader and his Inquisitors are hunting him all the while. But as the show makes clear, Leia is just as important as Luke. So, Obi-Wan unearths his lightsaber and goes on a trek across the galaxy, looking out for danger at every turn.
Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s third episode witnessed the first reunion between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader since their last violent encounter on Mustafar during the climax of Revenge of the Sith. Darth Vader is visibly angry, and their lightsaber duel is desperate and impactful, culminating in Obi-Wan being dragged through a field of fire so that he may feel the pain that Vader once felt. Thankfully, with the help of new character Tala, a resistance operative, Obi-Wan manages to get away, though he is now without Leia and stranded on the planet Mapuzo.
Given the plot of Obi-Wan Kenobiit is no surprise that each episode features a different set of planets and locations, but it is a welcome change of pace regarding the wider Star Wars universe. Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 3, for instance, takes place across three different planets: Mapuzo, Mustafar, and the moon Nur, where the Fortress Inquisitorius can be found. Though Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s story started on Tatooine, there is not a glimpse of it in this episode, and the show is all the better for it. Disney’s recent Star Wars efforts have tended to focus too heavily on one or two locations, Tatooine being the most prominent. In the process, however, they have forgotten to tell stories about the wider galaxy and neglected the narrative opportunities the Star Wars universe provides.
Why Disney’s Star Wars Universe Keeps Shrinking
The Star Wars shows on Disney + are all part of Lucasfilm’s efforts to create a more interconnected Star Wars universe without focusing solely on the Skywalkers. The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobiand upcoming shows such as Andor and Ahsoka all provide a deeper look at the Star Wars galaxy during and after the reign of the Empire. As a result, Star Wars is expanding its timeline and character roster, but so far, it has been strangely focused on nostalgic planets like Tatooine, even in stories where Tatooine does not necessarily need to play an important role. Both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett focused heavily on Tatooine, without there being a clear reason as to why. Boba Fett’s adventures on Tatooine could have ended once it was clear how he survived the Sarlacc Pit, for instance.
Desolate desert planets in general seem to be a favorite in Disney’s Star Warsas audiences have also been introduced to Jakku in the sequel trilogy, Navarro in The Mandalorianand now Mapuzo in Obi-Wan Kenobi. While it could be argued that these types of simple environments are easier to replicate for special effects purposes, Star Wars is missing a trick here. In shows such as Star Wars: The Clone Warsmany beautiful and visually compelling planets have already been introduced, giving them plenty of source material to draw from without needing to invent something new. Star Wars‘storytelling is at its most dynamic when it zips across the galaxy, as different planets provide different challenges and new opportunities for intriguing Star Wars species and set pieces.
It is admirable and exciting that Star Wars is working toward a more interconnected universe, and the characters that audiences have seen interact with each other have created some magical moments. But, in an effort to be more connected, they seem to have decided that focusing on a few specific planets is the way to go. Unfortunately, that approach ignores the very thing that makes Star Wars so special.
Disney’s Star Wars Universe Problem Betrays George Lucas’ Vision
When there is an entire galaxy to play with, why focus on just one planet, or one type of ecosystem? George Lucas’ original vision for Star Wars was a sprawling space opera, a story where kids could become inspired to explore the wonders of the galaxy and fantasize about visiting different planets in outer space. In both the original Star Wars trilogy and the prequel trilogy, Lucas featured an entire city-planet, lush green planets like Naboo, a city in the clouds, the ice planet Hoth, the lava planet Mustafar, the forest planet Endor, and more. Including more imaginative and original planets would bring Star Wars back to what Lucas originally envisioned and show that Lucasfilm is willing to experiment and take risks with its storytelling.
Thankfully, Obi-Wan Kenobi seems to be a turning point for this shrinking galaxy trend. In just three episodes, the show has already featured more than six different locations, each one important to the story in different ways. Its wider look at Alderaan, for instance, provided new context for Leia’s upbringing and makes the destruction of her home planet in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope all the more tragic. Hopefully, Andor and Ahsoka will prove a return to the wider Star Wars galaxy, but for now, Obi-Wan Kenobi is providing audiences with plenty of dynamic environments, a trend that is sure to continue as the show moves forward.
Next: Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 3 Easter Eggs & Star Wars References Explained
New episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi release Wednesdays on Disney +.
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