Where are the Empire’s Spacehips in ‘Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi’?
Lets take a look at a recurring issue with spaceships in Disney’s Kenobi.
Before we move on, this post is riddled with spoilers for ‘Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi’.
We are four episodes into Kenobi at this point. Overall, it’s an enjoyable but imperfect show. There’s some great character work and some cool settings. But it has its issues as well. Watching one the most recent episodes, I was particularly struck by one issue that’s come up a lot in the show. The seeming ease with which Kenobi is able to escape the Empire. In fact, it almost seems like the fearsome galactic tyrants don’t even have spaceships.
Episode II was probably my favorite so far. It’s got cool locations, decent action, and some good twists. It balances humor with the darker tones of the show. But the ending was a little odd. After rescuing Leia, she and Obi-Wan are able to escape the Inquisitors by jumping on an automated ship. The ship flies off to its destination and leaves the Inquisitors and other Imperials behind. And… and the Inquisitors seem unable to follow at all? Does the Empire in Kenobi not have spaceships??
Surely they must have used ships to get to Daiyu. Is there no blockade? No Imperial ships in orbit to stop this automated and defenseless ship for escaping? Given that it’s a preprogrammed ship, do they not have anyway of pulling its flight plan? Apparently not, since Kenobi and Leia get away scot free and the Inquisitors only have a general area they might be. But okay, I can forgive an easy escape once.
In the shows third season, Kenobi comes face-to-face with his old pal Anakin. It doesn’t go great. The two fight and Vader whops Kenobi in a kind of lackluster dual. He then proceeds to burn Ben a bit in some fire. Having finished toying with his old master, Vader puts out the flames and orders his troopers to capture Ben. Kenobi is saved by the intervention of Tala Durith. This woman with a blaster manages to shoot a couple of troopers and start a fire. Then she and a droid carry Kenobi away.
Honestly, how did they get away? Vader had just shown he can put out flames with the Force! But now some minor flames stop him? Despite being in the open and carrying an injured Ben, the troopers can’t hit any of the good guys from, like, 20 feet away. Even worse, there doesn’t seem to have been any purist. Vader doesn’t try to just… walk around the fire.
Getting away on foot is one thing. But Tala, Ben and the Droid also manager to get to a ship and leave the planet. Once again. Does the Empire not have ships? How did they just fly away with no pursuit, without having to dodge anything? Was Vader’s spaceship Devastator not in orbit? Was there not one single TIE fighter around to chase them? They can just… fly away? What gives?
Example 3: Episode IV – Escape from Fortress Inquisitorius
The most recent episode saw Ben and a group of proto-Rebels working to rescue Leia from Fortress Inquisitorius. This is a major Imperial base and home of the Inquisitors. Ben and Tala are able to sneak in and get Leia, but they’re trapped on the landing pad while trying to escape. At this point, their not-quite-Rebel friends show up in a pair of T-47 Airspeeders and strafe the base.
Now this is a top security Imperial base on an Imperial world. How in the heck did a pair of Rebel speeders show up there with out warning? Why aren’t there any defenses? No guns shot back at the airpseeders. And again, does the does the Empire in Kenobi not have spaceships? ? Shouldn’t there be a patrol to stop this kind of thing?
After picking up the escapees, the speeders take off. It’s at this point that one of them is destroyed by a pursing TIE fighter. Haha, just kidding. It’s destroyed by an Inquisitor force throwing a box at it. The other ship gets away with once again no one chasing them.
No one attempts to stop them meeting up with their mother ship and leaving the planet. It sure seems like some TIEs would have launched to at least try and stop them. Heck we even see TIEs docked on the fortress. Maybe the Empire has ships but just doesn’t know how to fly them?
Now yes, Inquisitor Reva does later reveal that she put a tracker on them. So maybe she wanted them to escape? But she doesn’t tell anyone about her plan until she’s about to be killed by Vader. Given her lack of communication makes no sense that someone else wouldn’t have tried to chase them.
Does the Empire Not Have Spaceships?!
Spaceship chases and blockades are a major part of Star Wars. The first shot of Star Wars shows a chase. In each movie of the Original Trilogy, the heroes have to deal with a blockade. Given how well-established this kind of thing is in Star Wars, it’s odd that Kenobi is just ignoring it.
I’m really not trying to nitpick here. I can get behind having the heroes “just get away” once. But it’s happened three episodes in a row now. Each time, the heroes have escaped form impossible situations. They’ve done it not with skill or anything, but seemingly because the Empire just kind of let them. No one chased them. If Kenobi wants to live up to its promise, the next two episodes have really got to do better.
I really hope they do. Maybe we will get some big twist that makes it all make sense. Maybe we will see a good space chase or something. The show has a lot of potential, I just want it to live up to that.