James Earl Jones Returns with ‘Obi-Wan,’ Along with Fandom Menace

Fans are psyched that Darth Vader is getting his original voice back for the Disney+ show, but the internet trolls were already on the attack

The good news for fans who had high hopes for Disney+’s Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is that James Earl Jones pulled a surprise reprise of his role as the voice of Darth Vader in Part III of the VI-part series, which aired Wednesday after the first two episodes dropped together on Friday.

Although it’s not a huge shocker, the previously unannounced return is a nice addition, and will hopefully help further clear away the memory of Jones’ uncredited “Noooooooo!” at the end of 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, because Rogue One didn’t quite do it and Rebels is a cartoon.

Also on Wednesday, the show had racked up a Rotten Tomatoes score of 87 percent with critics and 57 percent audience. Take that as you will.

Old time fans worried that the light entertainment would be leaden with social messaging, and the folks behind Obi-Wan likely feared that misogynists and bigots and other varieties of internet fool would spew garbage juice all over the project for even one flaw—perceived or otherwise—in a female or POC character. And everyone was right.

Seeing Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader at 10 in 1999’s The Phantom Menace was an unpleasant adventure that many fans of the original trilogy will never forgive, so some were not thrilled to discover that a show named for the Jedi Master who chopped up Darth Vader spends quite a bit of the first episodes exploring the life of Princess Leia, age 10—despite a recent admission by LucasFilm that casting new actors in existing roles has been a mistake.

And a certain number of those viewers may feel… concerned that young Leia seems uniquely talented without having been featured in a training montage—fans of the latest Scream will recall the “Mary Sue” joke.

That part’s possibly as stupid as it sounds.

On the other hand, there’s the central villain, an inquisitor named Third Sister, a.k.a Reva, played by Moses Ingram. The character’s a little bit screamy, and silly, and seems to go around picking on random desert losers—more of a spaceport douchebag than an Imperial Force-wielder at whose feet the galaxy would tremble.

Fans who hated the 2015 to 2019 sequel trilogy hated it all the more for all those First Order officers who shrieked and spat like B-movie Nazis, and those were just throwaway functionaries, not a supposedly cool sort-of Jedi.

Star Wars devotees may also have been rubbed wrong when Reva—apparently—killed the Grand Inquisitor in a surprise gag after that character had won a strong following in the expanded Star Wars universe (yes, the cartoons). What’s more, it was the exact same trick director Rian Johnson used to kill off Supreme Leader Snoke as part of his plan to “subvert expectations” in 2017’s The Last Jedi. Those unfortunates who’d been debating Snoke’s origin story since he was introduced in J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens in 2015 thought it was a cheap copout by a lump of a director then, and it’s just possible they feel that way now.

But reasonable people can disagree about the endless array of uninspired Disney space pop-ups, perhaps even hoping against all logical hope for the well-earned firing of certain executives, but that’s not why some trolls are called “the fandom menace.”

On Monday, Ingram said on her Instagram Stories that her direct messages on the platform had been flooded with racist comments ever since the show premiered, Deadline reports.

“There’s nothing anybody can do about this,” Ingram said of the DMs, some of which include the N-word. “There’s nothing anybody can do to stop this hate. I question my purpose in even being here in front of you saying that this is happening. I don’t really know.”

Co-star Ewan McGregor came out to support his costar on Tuesday.

“I heard some of them this morning and it just broke my heart,” McGregor tweeted. “Moses is a brilliant actor, she’s a brilliant woman and she’s absolutely amazing in this series… I just want to say as the leading actor in the series, as the executive producer on the series, that we stand with Moses. We love Moses, and if you’re sending her bullying messages, you’re no Star Wars fan in my mind. There’s no place for racism in this world.”

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