Disney+ ushered the Star Wars franchise into a new era of storytelling, and it wasn’t accidental. Since 2019, Star Wars TV has exploded into a compelling collection of stories we otherwise would never have had. The Mandalorian. The bad batch. And now, Obi Wan Kenobi.
But it also started a new trend on our small Star Wars screens: shorter stories. With only six episodes on the program, Obi Wan Kenobi will be the shortest Star Wars Disney+ release yet. And the majority of fans have few complaints about the story so far, although there are fewer.
Maybe that’s how more Star Wars shows should be. Short. Powerful. Then finished.
Let’s be real here: multi-season shows will, at least for now, remain an important part of Star Wars storytelling. The Mandalorian is good. Even the two seasons of Resistance we had were good. There’s nothing wrong with Star Wars shows that last three, four, or even five seasons if they need to.
But not all shows need to do this. Even though that’s what half the fanbase has been clamoring for ever since Kenobi was announced as a limited series. We were never promised a season 2 and we still aren’t getting one, and for some reason the fact that a story can be told in six short, beautiful bursts isn’t unfathomable to some. Why must there be more when the whole story can fit in a small package?
The biggest advantage of a limited series like Kenobi is that it can launch multiple limited series spinoffs about the new characters introduced in the series. Lucasfilm has the power to use legacy characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi to draw people to other shows like a series on The Path, on Reva, on Roken (the story of someone who lost a loved one Force-sensitive to the Inquisitorius instead of another story of a Force-sensitive individual who hides from them).
And maybe we need more stories like this. Shows that don’t just focus on one character, but everyone they impact and influence, for five or six episodes and that’s it. Then we move on to the next thing. It would be much easier (ideally) to treat Star Wars like the buffet it is – consume the shows you want and leave the rest, with less pressure to have a bit of everything available (although many will again, and that’s OK).
Limited series won’t be all we get in Star Wars going forward. But they could become a valuable part of the rotation as different types of shows emerge. Star Wars isn’t slowing down; he will therefore have to adapt. It could take things from good to better than they ever were. Variety nourishes us, but it also satisfies us. It’s more important in the long run than you think.
Obi-Wan Kenobi stars Ewan McGregor with guest appearances from Hayden Christensen and Kumail Nanjiani and is directed by Deborah Chow, who previously directed an episode of The Mandalorian. The series is now streaming exclusively on Disney+.
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