Stripped of any real grit or bite, and largely relegated to board meetings, taking naps in a bacta tank, and running errands around Tatooine, Boba doesn’t get all that much to do as the new daimyo of Mos Espa, and the flashbacks that tell us how the bounty hunter survived the ordeals that followed his demise in Return of the Jedi never really surprise but instead overexplain. Despite one or two memorable action sequences, including one featuring a baby rancor, the show just never really gets going — except when its protagonist is unceremoniously ushered off the stage completely so that the series can follow up on a largely unrelated story about different characters, a choice that remains one of the biggest head-scratchers of the Disney era. Boba Fett and star Temuera Morrison, who is as charismatic as ever in spite of the questionable material, deserved much better than this book.
4. Obi-Wan Kenobi
This continuation of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker’s stories was a highly-anticipated event for a generation of Star Wars fans who grew up with the Prequels. Seeing Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen back in their respective roles certainly pulls at the heart strings, but Obi-Wan Kenobi falls short of the epic scale one would expect from such a big reunion. The show plods along for its first couple of episodes, with the action and Obi-Wan sulking taking place on surprisingly artificial-looking sets that never live up to the standard of the other Disney+ shows. The cave sets on Jabiim have a particularly distracting styrofoam quality, while the final showdown on a fog-covered wasteland makes it painfully obvious this is all unfolding on a Lucasfilm soundstage.
All that said, Obi-Wan Kenobi has some top-notch performances from McGregor, Christensen, and especially newcomer Moses Ingram. She plays an Inquisitor named Reva, who you may or may not end up rooting for by the end. Bringing in Vivien Lyra Blair as a younger, energetic Princess Leia to pal around with a battered and depressed Old Ben came off as cheap sentimentality and nostalgia to some (seriously, your mileage may vary with this Star Wars series in particular), but we’d actually call it a stroke of genius. It’s Obi-Wan’s relationship with little Leia that ends up being the emotional hook of the show. And you get some scary moments with Darth Vader as a bonus.
Ahsoka is certainly not lacking in big ideas — evil Force witches, zombie stormtroopers, new galaxies, and even time travel from a certain point of view — or nostalgia for the Star Wars stories that came before. But, while it’s an entertaining watch overall, especially if you’ve tuned into the Rebels animated series and read the old Legends novels starring Grand Admiral Thrawn, and does eventually push the story of the Mandoverse forward, it makes many of the same mistakes as some of its predecessors. For one thing, Ahsoka never actually feels like it centers its main character or interrogates her feelings about anything — a common issue across most of the recent Disney+ shows. The series also suffers from “eight-part movie syndrome,” with several episodes ending abruptly (or really not at all) or slowing down to a crawl because they’re in no real hurry to get to the interesting bits. And when the show does reach its big turning point on Peridia, the reunions and rematches do feel a tad underwhelming after six episodes of build-up.
Still, there’s a lot to like in what showrunner Dave Filoni has cooked up, including plenty of references to The Lord of the Rings, mystical planes, and even a few Force gods. Star Wars has also found an absolute star in Natasha Liu Bordizzo, who’s all but stolen the show by the third act. You may at first tune into this show for Ahsoka, Thrawn, and Ezra, but there’s no doubt you’ll stay for Bordizzo’s Sabine, as it’s her story that turns out to be the heart of this series.
Credit must also be given to the visuals and cinematic look of Ahsoka. A combination of Lucasfilm’s trademark video wall and CGI help bring scenes on exotic planets to life as well as the multiple dogfights in space. Not many Star Wars series look anywhere near this good. It’s just a shame the show doesn’t have the pacing or central character to match.