This article contains spoilers for episodes 1 and 2 of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
There are countless reasons to be excited about the stellar premiere of Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of which is how the series embraces important elements from Star Wars animation. The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett already set a precedent for this by incorporating popular characters from animation such as Ahsoka Tano and Cad Bane.
Just like those series, Obi-Wan Kenobi is bringing in characters and elements from Star Wars animation not just for the sake of it, but in order to further character development, themes, and to make the galaxy far, far away feel more interconnected.
These are 3 of the best ways Obi-Wan Kenobi has already embraced Star Wars animation.
Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Wars animation connections
When Bail Organa speaks with Leia in the first episode, he tells her that “I wanted to live out way past Kathou when I was your age. Chasing purrgil, you know? I had a whole plan.”
The purrgil were introduced in the season 2 Star Wars Rebels episode “The Call.” They are essentially space whales who are able to travel through hyperspace. They played an integral role in the Rebels series finale “Family Reunion — and Farewell” where they helped to stop Grand Admiral Thrawn and liberate Lothal from the Empire.
Hearing them mentioned in live-action is exhilarating and it ties in well in a scene where Bail Organa is connecting with Leia. Talking of purrgil appeals to Leia’s sense of adventure and gets her attention, allowing Bail to help her see that sometimes plans change and life’s adventures take a different route than expected.
The scene also has Bail getting Leia to think about her future, a future where Leia will be a senator, and though she does not yet realize it, she will use that position to help the Rebellion against the Empire.
It is people like Leia and creatures like the purrgil who the Empire will underestimate, who will deal devastating blows to the Empire, and who will ultimately change the galaxy for the better.
The clone veteran
When Obi-Wan is on Daiyu in the second episode, he encounters a clone veteran on the streets asking for credits. While the disenfranchisement of clones is the focus of the animated series The Bad Batch, this is the first time that live-action Star Wars has explored this.
Boba Fett is a clone and there are references to this in The Mandalorian, but his story is different than those of the clones who served in the Clone Wars and were then tossed aside by the Empire.
Seeing the clone veteran is powerful for Obi-Wan because it reminds him that he is not the only one who was manipulated and who feels like a failure after the Clone Wars. The Jedi and the clones were the heroes of the Republic during the Clone Wars and then they were discarded and betrayed, forced into hiding or begging for scraps.
Obi-Wan has been suffering from his guilt and failure for a decade, but the clone veteran is a reminder that he is not alone in his suffering.
It is moving to see live-action Star Wars exploring this topic, showing what happened to clones who aren’t the Bad Batch or Captain Rex, and doing it all in a way that is meaningful to the character development and themes of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The most prominent connection to Star Wars animation in Obi-Wan Kenobi is the Inquisitors. The Inquisitors– and the Grand Inquisitor and Fifth Brother specifically–were introduced in Star Wars Rebels as dark side users who serve the Sith by hunting down Jedi survivors and Force-sensitive children.
Moses Ingram plays a new Inquisitor called the Third Sister/Reva who so far has served as the primary antagonist and the driving force behind the hunt for Obi-Wan.
Including the Inquisitors in this show is a smart move as it creates a constant, ever-present threat to Obi-Wan and the children of Anakin Skywalker being discovered. It raises the stakes even further and naturally paves the way to the inevitable confrontation between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader.
Of course, many Rebels fans were left scratching their heads after Reva seemingly killed the Grand Inquisitor in the second episode. The Grand Inquisitor is alive and well when Rebels begins a few years later.
This means it is highly unlikely that he is dead. If Darth Maul can be brought back after being cut in half and falling down a shaft, the Grand Inquisitor can survive a lightsaber through the stomach.
The decision to do this to the Grand Inquisitor was not to invalidate or retcon Star Wars animation, but likely to cement how ruthless Reva is and to give more room for her and Darth Vader to be the villainous focus of the show moving forward, with the Grand Inquisitor now sidelined from the action as he heals.
What other elements or characters from Star Wars animation do you hope to see in Obi-Wan Kenobi? Let us know in the comments!