The Mandalorian is a great show. Not only did it rescue Star Wars from the terrible lows of Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, but it also redefined how TV could work during the age of streaming. Checking in with weekly Mando and Baby Yoda on a weekly basis revealed just how tired we’d all become with Netflix’s binge model. Now, even Stranger Things is discovering the joys of pacing yourself — sort of.
But in the excitement of saving Star Wars and remaining the streaming model, it’s been easy to miss The Mandalorian’s biggest flaw. That is until Obi-Wan Kenobi arrived to set us straight.
The Mandalorian vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi
The Mandalorian is basically a western in space, and like most classic western TV shows, it follows an episodic formula. Sure, there’s an overarching story, but most episodes deviate from the main plot so Mando can fight various giant spiders, dragons, and Stormtroopers.
There’s nothing wrong with this. Some of the best Mandalorian episodes have nothing to do with the main plot. But it can sometimes be frustrating when an episode full of crucial revelations is followed by one that seems like filler by comparison. There’s a reason this meme went viral:
By comparison, Obi-Wan Kenobi is basically a 6-hour-long movie. There’s no monster of the week. Instead, we’re getting a single continuous story split into six episodes.
By focusing on a single story, Obi-Wan Kenobi has time to fully develop its characters. We’ve already gotten multiple scenes of dialogue between Kenobi and a young Princess Leia, revealing new depths to their relationship that went unspoken in the original trilogy. Even a minor character like the Fifth Brother (an evil Inquisitor played by Fast and Furious actor Sung Kang in heavy makeup) has managed to develop some dimension by the show’s midway point.
Can you name a single villain in The Mandalorian with complex motivations and relationships? And remember, the Fifth Brother isn’t even the main villain, he’s like the 4th most important bad guy in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope
So is Obi-Wan Kenobi a turning point for Star Wars TV or just a small detour?
Up next from Lucasfilm is Andor, a spinoff of Rogue One which is set to tell its story over two 12-episode seasons. It seems possible this could be more serialized (like Obi-Wan) than episodic (like Mandalorian) given the fact that it’s telling a clear story directly inspired by a movie. After that, we’re returning to The Mandalorian for Season 3, which we can assume will follow a familiar adventure-of-the-week format.
Beyond those two shows, the future becomes murky. Ahsoka, which ties directly into Mandalorian, could go either way. So could The Acolyte and Skeleton Crew, two upcoming projects we know very little about. But with plenty of Star Wars in our future, we just hope Lucasfilm can learn from Obi-Wan that there’s more than one way to tell a story on TV.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is streaming now on Disney+.