Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Worst Mistake Disney Can Make With Obi-Wan Kenobi

The success of "The Mandalorian" has opened the flood gates for "Star Wars"-themed Disney+ shows, and the next small screen adventure from the galaxy far, far away, "Obi-Wan Kenobi," finally lets fans know how the titular character (Ewan McGregor) went from noted Jedi master to a curious hermit living on Tatooine under the frankly underwhelming alias of Ben Kenobi. 

Since projects like "The Mandalorian," "The Book of Boba Fett," and the upcoming "Ahsoka" are slowly weaving their own, interconnected post-"Return of the Jedi" plot threads, "Obi-Wan Kenobi" has the distinction of being the first live-action Disney+ series that takes place at a radically different point of the "Star Wars" timeline. By its very premise, it'll also likely be far more intimately connected to the movies than its predecessors. This means that the stakes for this particular show are higher than anything the Disney+ corner of the "Star Wars" franchise has seen so far ... which, in turn, means there's also a greater risk of messing things up. Let's take a look at the easiest and likely worst mistake Disney can make with "Obi-Wan Kenobi" — giving too much screen time to Darth Vader.  

Yes, really. While it'll definitely be interesting to see Hayden Christensen return as the fully-fledged Sith Lord after being stuck with Anakin Skywalker's "I hate sand" period for so long, there's still a very good reason why the biggest bad in the galaxy should be kept on the back burner.

The show must learn from The Book of Boba Fett's mistakes

To understand why "Obi-Wan Kenobi" must use Darth Vader sparingly, we need to look at a previous Disney+ "Star Wars" show that takes another cool, armored "Star Wars" stalwart and allows him to hijack the show. Before "The Book of Boba Fett," the very idea that a "Star Wars" live-action project would shift its attention from its most central character seemed pretty inconceivable. However, "The Mandalorian" hero Din Djarin's (Pedro Pascal) massive role on the show demonstrates that the Disney+ series are willing — perhaps too willing — to ditch the main character for an episode or two.

Djarin is certainly a cool character, but the spin-off's sudden and unexpected focus shift onto the shiny-armored fan favorite means that Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) takes the back seat for an extended period. It's undoubtedly one of the worst things about "The Book of Boba Fett." Now, imagine that the same thing happens in "Obi-Wan Kenobi," which eponymously focuses on a far more prominent character than Fett ever was.

"Obi-Wan Kenobi" probably won't cram in an extended Mando appearance, unless he turns up as a pint-sized bounty hunter-in-training. After all, by the time Djarin acquires his shiny armor and enters the limelight in the years after "Return of the Jedi," Obi-Wan is already long gone from the mortal plane. As such, if Disney decides to replicate the trick from "The Book of Boba Fett" and allow an ancillary character hijack "Obi-Wan Kenobi," the show will probably turn to the coolest available non-titular character. It's pretty clear who that'd be — and before you get all excited about potential Vader-centric episodes, know that it'd likely be a much worse situation than the "Book of Boba Fett" Mando takeover.

Too much Vader is detrimental to the character

If someone has to take over "The Book of Boba Fett," it might as well be Djarin, a character who's designed to be a protagonist of his own show, and as such is a good fit for something like this. Darth Vader, on the other hand, very much wouldn't be. The movies tend to use Vader sparingly, and while he's known for cool one-liners, he's highly effective as a periodic threat — like a horror movie monster. Watch him appear in a misty hallway, or emerge from the shadows to tear through panicking rebels in that awesome "Rogue One" battle scene. Goosebumps.

However, that effectiveness requires restraint. No one can be a lurking threat when they're constantly in the spotlight, and because Vader's not the main guy in his organization, the brief moments of ominous awesomeness would eventually give way to mind-dulling holo-reports to the Emperor, and moments like that scene in "A New Hope" where Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) browbeats him like a CEO admonishing an unruly middle manager. To know Vader is to diminish him.

That's the problem with inherently badass characters — focus on them for an extended period, and at some point you'll need scenes that undermine their awesomeness, which in turn can diminish the effect of their other, more meticulously crafted moments. It's a delicate balance, and some fans worry that even a cool rematch between Anakin and Obi-Wan on the show could damage the effectiveness of their iconic confrontation in "A New Hope." The last thing Star Wars needs right now is for "Obi-Wan Kenobi" to cast a foul retrospective pall over the original trilogy.

Darth Vader will definitely return in "Obi-Wan Kenobi." Let's just hope he returns in true Vader style — sparingly, and shrouded in threat.