It's official: The latest episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi is the most popular Star Wars TV episode streaming on Disney Plus, and that's bad news for the franchise.

According to streaming data analyst Samba TV (by Deadline-Opens in a new tab), the season 1 finale of the Obi-Wan television series drew 1,8 million viewers between Wednesday, May 22, June (its launch day) and on Sunday, June 27. The number may not seem like that big, but it's a number that far exceeds those posted by previous Star Wars shows that launched on Disney Plus.

For context, the Obi-Wan season 1 finale drew 20% more viewers than The Book of Boba Fett, whose latest episode drew an audience of 1,5 million in five days from its first broadcast. Meanwhile, The Mandalorian season 2 finale only saw 1,1 million viewers in a similar five-day span (according to SlashFilm(opens in a new tab)), a surprisingly low number, considering the supposed popularity of Mando's adventures with Baby Yoda.

The Obi-Wan premiere also drew larger audiences than The Mandalorian season 2 and The Book of Boba Fett: 2,14 million compared to 2,08 million and 1,5 million for the latter duo. The Jedi Master solo series is the most popular Star Wars Disney Plus show of all time. . However, that won't surprise many fans. Obi-Wan is an immensely popular character in Lucasfilm's storied franchise, while Ewan McGregor's portrayal of Kenobi is as beloved as it gets.

While Obi-Wan's viewing figures are pleasing, the show's popularity proves that Star Wars can't shake the heavy criticism that has been leveled at it for years. That being the case, introducing new characters to his expansive universe rather than retraining the characters inherited from him.

Do we really need a Boba Fett TV show? (Image credit: © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved.)

Let's get rid of the elephant in the room first: yes, Star Wars has introduced us to some wacky characters in recent years. Ahsoka Tano, Mando/Din Djarin, Baby Yoda/Grogu, Rey, Ben Solo, and the cast of Rogue One (including Cassian Andor) are new characters Lucasfilm has established in the Star Wars universe. They helped develop the franchise's main series, as well as tell new stories through film and television.

As welcome as its arrivals are, Star Wars is a series that continues to be fueled by nostalgia. From then on, the franchise regularly returns to what it knows best, which is focusing projects on legacy characters (Obi-Wan, Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo, to name a few four) to please its sizable fanbase.

It's not a terrible formula to follow. Lucasfilm and Disney know that any movie or TV series featuring these characters will be successful: they are fan favorites for a reason, so studios are compelled to develop projects around them.

But this is a double-edged sword. Yes, Obi-Wan, Luke Skywalker and company will draw viewers in, but it will come at the expense of the franchise as a whole. As a series, it cannot evolve without the introduction of new characters, worlds, or stories.

Additionally, filling in the gaps in a character's backstory can lead to confusion among fans around an individual's pre-established backstory. The Obi-Wan TV show is a classic example of this, with some fans mystified by numerous plot holes and reenactments of events that take place in the larger Star Wars story. Even the critically acclaimed Mandalorian series isn't immune to such issues, with fans mixed over the arrival of Luke Skywalker at the end of season 2 and subsequent appearances in The Book of Boba Fett.

A behind the scenes shot of Grogu and Din Djarin filming The Mandalorian on The Volume set

The Mandalorian is one of the few new characters introduced to the Star Wars franchise in recent times. (Image credit: Disney)

Fortunately, it seems that Lucasfilm and Disney are beginning to realize how vital it is to establish even more new characters in the Star Wars universe. Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi, who is set to direct a new Star Wars movie, has revealed plans to put new people on the show (via Total Film (opens in a new tab)).

Meanwhile, MCU Spider-Man trilogy director Jon Watts is leading a coming-of-age project, called the Skeleton Crew, billed as a Goonies-style Star Wars TV series. Jude Law is set to star in this production. Add Patty Jenkins' Rogue Squadron movie and other TV shows, including The Acolyte, to the mix, and the Star Wars franchise could finally move in the right creative direction.

Yes, there is a time and a place to revisit legacy Star Wars characters: Obi-Wan could be getting a second season, while upcoming shows like Tales of the Jedi show Lucasfilm isn't ready for them just yet. The success of the Obi-Wan TV series also shows that Lucasfilm and Disney will continue to develop projects around the show's iconic characters. But, if the Star Wars franchise really wants to evolve, it must abandon its plan to rely solely on its legendary characters and planets. Otherwise, his current plan might not be enough to maintain the level of success that Star Wars has enjoyed for the past 45 years.

For more Star Wars-based content, check out our hub on The Bad Batch season 2. Otherwise, read up on all the upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows.

Today's best Disney+ deals

Share This