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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

May the Fourth Be With You: Upcoming ‘Star Wars’ TV show about Obi-Wan Kenobi full of expectations

Another Star Wars spectacle is about to enter our orbit, and for many Boomers the story is coming full circle.

A long time ago in a college town on the far side of the Columbia, I was trying to channel my energy on studying for finals despite a new movie that was rumored to be out of this world.

Unfortunately, “Star Wars: A New Hope” wasn’t being shown within 100 miles of my campus.

So minutes after my last exam, I hopped into my Opel speeder and rendezvoused with some friends at a big-city theater. Finally, at the head of the line, I forked over a galactic-record $3 per ticket.

That left nothing for snacks. It didn’t matter.

A giant spaceship filled the screen, followed by a jaw-dropping laser gun battle and a sinister, breathing-challenged dude in a polished black helmet.

The audience was astounded. Then again, we’d landed on the moon just eight years earlier.

The whole thing was so shiny and new that I watched it four times in that summer of 1977. And yet there were questions that lingered during and long after than epic summer.

If Obi-Wan Kenobi was so handy with a lightsaber, why was he hiding in caves for so long? Why did he wait so long to recruit Luke? And does that dazzling gold protocol droid need to be so darn annoying?

Forty-five years later, the loose strands of time and space are about to be woven together in “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” a six-part television series set to debut May 27 on Disney+.

Yes, it will make plenty of money, prompting some to wonder if the Star Wars franchise is finally running out of room for sequels and prequels.

Don’t be that cynic, because Star Wars seldom disappoints.

“Obi-Wan Kenobi” promises to fill the void between the end of “Revenge of the Sith” and the start of the original movie.

Perhaps that was the goal of “Rogue One,” which ran six years ago. However, the movie’s focus was on the rebel plan to steal the schematics for the Death Star.

Mission accomplished, though only partly. The closing scene of “Rogue One” shows a digitally-animated Princess Leia clutching the Death Star plans and uttering the word “Hope.”

“A New Hope” picks up from there, with Darth Vader and his evil minions seizing the princess – but not until she’d placed the plans with R2-D2.

Not long after that, we meet Obi-Wan Kenobi – or “old Ben Kenobi,” as Luke Skywalker calls him.

But back then, fans were too caught up in the hype to wonder what the heck Obi-Wan was doing in the meantime on far-off Tatooine.

Hopefully the Obi-Wan series will answer that question, even if actor Ewan McGregor looks nothing like Alec Guinness.

The story begins 10 years after the dramatic events of “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith,” where Obi-Wan faced the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker.

Since then, Skywalker has become Darth Vader.

The Obi-Wan series opens with the sights and sounds of desolation – Kenobi riding into the featureless desert and ruminating that “The fight is done. We lost.”

Well, not completely. Portrayed by Hayden Christensen, Vader has directed “Inquisitors” to complete the unfinished business of “Order 66,” the elimination of the remaining Jedi in the galaxy.

That dirty work is in the hands of the franchise’s latest villain, Inquisitor Reva.

In the new still from the series, Reva stands fierce in a sleek black leather suit with calf high boots, fitted armor and a weapon strapped to her waist.

Played by Moses Ingram, she is “ruthlessly ambitious,” director Deborah Chow told Entertainment Weekly earlier this month.

Even worse, Reva is force-sensitive and on the hunt for Obi-Wan, which answers a lot of questions.

No wonder he’s not exactly advertising his Jedi abilities. However, he’ll be ready when the time comes.

So will I.