The Acolyte Is What Obi-Wan Kenobi Should Have Been

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

The Acolyte

Star Wars: The Acolyte has only released three episodes so far, but that has been enough for fans who get all their opinions from screaming YouTubers to decide it sucks. As for myself, I’m waiting to see how well the show sticks the landing, but what I have enjoyed so far is that episodes feel less like yet another epic adventure and more like a police procedural in a galaxy far, far away. It’s such a fresh take on a tired IP, and it led me to my own vision in The Force: simply put, The Acolyte is the kind of series that Obi-Wan Kenobi should have been.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

When a solo Obi-Wan show was first announced, fans understandably wondered what it could even be about. The first Star Wars movie made it seem like the old Jedi really did just hang out in the desert for nearly two decades before reluctantly getting called back into action. We had already seen Kenobi’s climactic duel with Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith and his noble sacrifice in A New Hope … what story was even left to tell? 

Unfortunately, Disney’s solution to this narrative conundrum was to take everything we thought we knew about Kenobi’s time between films and throw it out the airlock. As it turns out, the Jedi general actually clashed with Vader multiple times before they fought in A New Hope (so much for Vader’s “I was but a learner” comment about their previous meeting). And even though Leia previously made it sound like she had never met Kenobi, they actually had a crazy galactic road trip mission when she was a little girl.

The Continuity Could Have Worked

obi-wan kenobi

Disney cutting down continuity like Anakin cutting through Padawans is disappointing, of course, but what does all of this have to do with The Acolyte? Simply put, the Obi-Wan Kenobi show could and should have had a similar premise with the title character using both his Force powers and his old connections to investigate different mysteries.

The groundwork for this was actually laid down in the prequels where Kenobi spent his non-dueling time tracking down bounty hunters, finding robot generals, and otherwise proving himself as the best detective the Jedi Order ever produced. 

Small-Scale Adventures Like The Acolyte

The Acolyte

If the Obi-Wan Kenobi show had been more like The Acolyte, we could have had smaller-scale adventures on Tattooine…for example, maybe the Jedi would struggle to keep his identity hidden while investigating whether a local moisture farmer was killed by one of Jabba’s enforcers.

Or perhaps we could get lots of Mos Eisley drama to explain why, as Zack Budryk once joked, the guy who survived “a fascist regime that purged everyone he loved” would later decide that “the guys in this airport bar are the worst people in the universe.” Such episodes would further our understanding of Kenobi and Tattooine without contradicting the Original Trilogy.

The Mandalorian Got It Right

The Mandalorian

Obviously, it’s easier to see these things in hindsight, but making Kenobi’s show more like The Acolyte could help it channel Disney’s biggest small-screen Star Wars success: The Mandalorian. Part of what made that show such an explosive success is that it didn’t focus on epic lightsaber battles or the galaxy’s most famous families … instead, we got an episodic Western that just happened to take place in the Star Wars universe.

Similarly, Obi-Wan Kenobi could have been a police procedural set in a galaxy far, far away, but Disney decided to throw continuity out the window in order to give us a dollar-store knockoff of the original films.

There’s Still Hope For The Acolyte

The Acolyte

Again, as of this writing, The Acolyte has only released three episodes…give it a few weeks, and there’s a chance that I might join the flock of angry online fans calling it the worst thing since Jar-Jar Binks. Right now, though, I’m mostly digging the show’s format and lamenting that we couldn’t get this kind of fresh take for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series. Unfortunately, Disney seems to treat its most famous IP like the Taco Bell menu, with most shows just rearranging the same five franchise ingredients and pretending it’s something new.

Is it really any surprise that fans are running for the Disney+ border and trying to find a streamer actually offering original content?