Why Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney + is Already the Focus of Controversy


Spoiler Warning: Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney +

The Star Wars prequels still divide fans to this day. For some, they remembered fondly, and for others, it was a dark time for the galaxy. You will often hear fans hold up the third entry in the prequels, Revenge of The Sithas the best installment, and it could be in many ways. It commits to the dark tone of the trilogy’s premise. Maybe even too much.

The film features a controversial moment when Jedi kids are training, and a Sith Lord bursts in to kill them all. Not exactly a timely scene to revisit, but that’s what we got. The Obi-Wan Kenobi series opens with another assault on children, with a Jedi teacher fighting for their lives to no avail. Some viewers raised issues with the timing of this particular scenario. For others, it was a return to a very iconic moment from the prequels when it actually went that dark.

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Star Wars is a unique brand that tends to get a pass for certain questionable creative choices made throughout its legacy. Some of the fanbase is undoubtedly experiencing a level of Star Wars fatigue, while others are forever loyal and supportive of the brand no matter what it is. Something as well respected and loved as Star Wars requires the best possible support structure. The way these things roll out is similar to any major sport, with impassioned fans expressing themselves in all kinds of ways and, in some places, completely uncalled-for and over the line. No doubt, this is what leads to charges of racism when criticizing the casting. Unfortunately, casting is already a very sensitive issue by design. This is why many people wanted to draw a line in the sand between casting and racism.


Related: Can Obi-Wan Kenobi Escape the Reputation of the Star Wars Prequels?

The debate refers to Moses Ingramwho plays Inquisitor Reva, based on the ‘School of Inquisitors’ that first appeared in Star Wars Rebels from 2014. There are several great actors who could have filled those shoes, and Moses Ingram was who they landed on. One can speculate all day on what it would have been like to have Viola Davis, Gina Torres, Yaya DaCosta, Janelle MonĂ¡e, or even Grace Jones returning in a big way for that role. All of them could have been great. Moses Ingram has acting range, and the body movements and stunts look fantastic. Fans making the issue political by throwing around triggering words like “woke casting,” “identity politics,” or “racism” will all make themselves heard.


Star Wars will always have a wide spectrum of engagement because of its massive orbit that will likely never find perfect harmony with the Force. Let’s examine all the ways Obi-Wan Kenobi was triggering for fans.

Young Leia Running From Danger

Baby Yoda was a big hit, so everyone will love baby Leia, right? Vivien Lyra Blair is excellent casting, and it may not be fair to belittle the entire series because of the “baby” coincidence. She’s supposed to be ten years old in the show – far from what anyone could call a “baby.” And even Grogu was in his fifties despite his cute exterior. Vivien Lyra Blair delivers a fine performance as the headstrong daughter of Queen Amidala.

Fans debated some of the writing choices citing Leia’s meltdown as triggering during the rescue mission. Her bolt into a crowded city of infinite dangers was a bit irritating. For parents, it’s an all-too-familiar scenario when your kid’s emotions get the better of them, resulting in breakdowns that invite more danger. Add to this being hunted by your sworn enemy during a parental anxiety-ridden moment. The simple visual of having to watch a child running from gunfire was distressing again.


Related: Star Wars: Skeleton Crew: Plot, Cast, and Everything Else We Know

A lot is going on politically and emotionally at the moment, making it difficult to view content objectively. Whether it’s over-reacting to criticisms about a performance or being reminded of real-world violence that is currently happening, filmmakers and audiences alike will have to do their best to remain objective. At the end of the day, fans want what’s best for the franchise, and filmmakers will do their best to deliver.

Disney and Casting Expectations

Obi-Wan Kenobi may continue to push fan’s buttons, as the show is undoubtedly a well-researched product designed to engage one of the largest fanbases in pop culture history. Hence, it’s also important to remind yourself it’s all very much by design. If you have not watched the trailer for the upcoming live-action adaptation of Pinocchio, it’s causing a similar racially charged uproar over Cynthia Erivo as the Blue Fairy. Race aside, the actor’s look is against type and overtly different from the original cartoon source material, as opposed to what other Black female actors like Vanessa Williams or Alfre Woodard type would have brought to the Blue Fairy.


Disney wants to stretch the conventions and push the boundaries of these casting expectations, and while the intentions are undoubtedly good, they will always invite criticism. The debate is whether the casting is more about highlighting mainstream media politics and less about respecting the creative source material. At the end of the day, regardless of one’s opinion on the subject, whatever dominates the debate circles most is the winner. The more we recognize that, the less tempted and baited we may be to engage in the divide, so marketing and other creative executives can focus more on the merits of their product and less on political trends.

Despite these very intentional efforts toward progress while simultaneously inviting controversiesmost Star Wars fans could not care less and just want the show to be great. Fans eagerly await the next chapter in the series, especially with Vader getting a good amount of screen time in episode three. It’s now the biggest launch yet on Disney +. New Obi-Wan episodes will drop every Wednesday on the streaming service.



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