Illustration by staff illustrator Sakura Siegel.
This article is spoiler free!
For a long time for many fans, the “Star Wars” prequels were not accepted.
Actor Hayden Christensen was especially criticized for his portrayal as Anakin Skywalker. But now about 20 years later, fans have a newfound appreciation, putting Christensen, co-star Ewan McGregor and the “Star Wars” universe in a new spotlight – both good and bad.
“It’s just been really heartwarming; I can’t tell you what it means to me but… it’s a really neat thing. I guess the moral of the story is patience,” Christensen said in an interview with The Cutaway’s William Mullally.
McGregor, who plays Obi-Wan Kenobi, said during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, that it’s become easier to rewatch the prequels knowing that fans now love them.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” premiered on May 27 a few hours earlier than previously announced.
It was scheduled to debut exclusively on Disney+ at 12 a.m. PT and 3 a.m. ET, but it was released three hours earlier, making a lot of fans scramble to catch the new series.
Disney officially announced that the series became the most-watched Disney+ series globally, based on the number of hours streamed in the debut weekend. Other “Star Wars” titles tripled in watchtime throughout the opening weekend, The Direct reported.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” fills the gap between “Revenge of The Sith” – the third installment of the prequels – and “A New Hope,” which is the fourth episode of the original trilogy.
It follows the life of a former jedi master who is forced to face the consequences of his greatest defeat, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side in “Revenge of the Sith” and now lives as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.
Though many fans say the prequels are one of the worst of the franchise, they credit “Revenge of the Sith” as the best one.
Christensen made his debut in the “Star Wars” universe in 2002 with the second episode, “Attack of the Clones.” In this film, fans can see the troubles Anakin begins to face as he battles temptation from the dark side. His blooming romance with Senator Padmé Amidala – played by Natalie Portman – is also introduced in this episode.
Portman, along with McGregor, debuted in the universe in 1999 in episode one, “The Phantom Menace.” Actor Jake Lloyd portrayed a young Anakin.
Among the prequels’ critiques, fans remember the three movies mainly for its “stiff and awkward dialogue.” Anakin’s line “I don’t like sand” from episode two has become a viral meme over the years.
And the prequel stars have yet to have a full break from critics and controversy.
After the first two episodes of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” were released, actress Moses Ingram – who plays Inquisitor Reva, a Sith force-user from Darth Vader’s death squad – started receiving racist messages on social media.
McGregor was “sickened.”
“I just want to say as the leading actor in the series, as the executive producer on the series, that we stand with Moses,” he said in a video posted .
“We love Moses, and if you’re sending her bullying messages, you’re no Star Wars fan in my mind.”
A day after Ingram went public about the messages, the “Star Wars” Twitter account posted:
“If anyone intends to make her feel in any way unwelcome, we have only one thing to say: we resist.”
Followed by a second message: “There are more than 20 million sentient species in the Star Wars galaxy, don’t choose to be a racist.”
Racism is nothing new for the “Star Wars” fandom. Alden Ehrenreich, Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley have all received backlash from fans before.
For Ingram’s character, some fans have criticized her for being “poorly” written and portrayed.
Still, “Obi-Wan Kenobi” debuted with an 88% approval rating. Though that number seems to have fluctuated since then.
Episodes are released every Wednesday. There will be six episodes for the season, but reports have said the second season has already been approved of.
Just hours ahead of the show’s premiere, Christensen hyped up fans with just six words.
“This is where the fun begins.”
Episode 5 released at 3 a.m. ET this morning.