I Watched Ewan McGregor's A Gentleman In Moscow Premiere, And I Didn't Expect Obi-Wan Kenobi Vibes In The Historical Drama

 Ewan McGregor in Showtime's A Gentleman in Moscow.
Ewan McGregor in Showtime's A Gentleman in Moscow.

Spoilers ahead for the series premiere of A Gentleman in Moscow, called "A Master of Circumstance."

Ewan McGregor is back on the small screen for his first TV leading role since Obi-Wan Kenobi back in 2022, and I knew just enough about A Gentleman in Moscow based on its trailers for the 2024 TV schedule that I felt pretty confident before tuning in that there wouldn't be much of Obi-Wan in his new character. So, imagine my surprise when I watched the premiere of Showtime's newest series and found myself flashing back to the iconic Star Wars Jedi while watching McGregor playing Count Alexander Rostov in 1920s post-Revolution Russia!

Before we get into the unexpected Star Wars vibes in this new project, let's look at what went down in "A Master of Circumstance" when McGregor wasn't so much in a galaxy far, far away as much as trapped in one place.

Ewan McGregor and Alexa Goodall in A Gentleman in Moscow Season 1x01
Ewan McGregor and Alexa Goodall in A Gentleman in Moscow Season 1x01

What Happened In A Gentleman In Moscow's Series Premiere

As an adaptation of Amor Towles’ best-selling novel of the same name, A Gentleman in Moscow had a lot of exposition and world-building to do in the first episode of the eight-part limited series. Ewan McGregor's Alexander Rostov was established as a Russian noble from the era of the tsars who managed to escape execution by the Soviets due to a poem attributed to him from years later. His house had been burned down, however, and he was sentenced to house arrest in a hotel seemingly so glamorous on the surface that it's easy to miss the oppressive undertones at first.

McGregor put in a strong performance as a nobleman trying to maintain his gentlemanly status in impossible situations, down to keeping the wings on his mustache intact. In a slightly silly moment made much less silly by eventual tragedy, his mustache being clipped was the last straw for Alexander to agree to try and escape the country with his friend on forged papers. A Gentleman in Moscow wouldn't be much of a show if the gentleman escaped Moscow in the series premiere, however, and his friend Petrov was shot and killed for the forgeries while Alexander couldn't do anything but stay inside the walls of the hotel.

The one bright spot in Alexander's life seems to be a little girl by the name of Nina, who we can count on surviving the events of the series thanks to her status as narrator looking back from years later. There's also a spark of resistance still within Alexander, as he seized his opportunity while in the hotel manager's office to see if a pair of pistols that had been stashed long ago were still there. The guns were indeed still stashed behind a painting, and my only disappointment in the scene was that the hotel manager's name wasn't Chekhov.

This was only the beginning of Alexander's story, and while the pacing of the first episode could be a bit monotonous at times, that seemed to be the point. Seeing the monotony behind what otherwise would seem like a pretty endurable and gilded house arrest sets the stage for what I have to assume will be an eventful seven episodes to come.

And despite all of this taking place in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, the Force was evidently with me while watching, because seeing Alexander's journey in this show's series premiere (available streaming via Paramount+ subscription with Showtime) had me thinking back to Obi-Wan Kenobi's.

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

Why I Was Getting Obi-Wan Kenobi Vibes

While a limited series set in the Soviet Union in the early 20th century may seem like a long time ago in a political galaxy far, far away, I can't overstate how much I wasn't expecting to see Alexander Rostov and think about Obi-Wan Kenobi when I sat down for the first episode of A Gentleman in Moscow. Sure, Ewan McGregor is the leading man in both, but I wasn't exactly thinking of Obi-Wan when McGregor starred in Fargo Season 3. So, why A Gentleman in Moscow?

Well, the the snowy Soviet Union post-Revolution portrayed in the show isn't exactly the opposite end of the spectrum from the sands of Tatooine when it comes to sheer desolation, and that was only the first way that the new book adaptation had me flashing back to Star Wars. To be clear – Alexander in the first episode of A Gentleman in Moscow wasn't making me think of Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan in the prequel film trilogy or Obi-Wan as portrayed by Alec Guinness in the original trilogy.

No, I was specifically thinking of the character in the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV show, currently available to Disney+ subscribers and set when the defeated hero of The Clone Wars was in very reduced circumstances, far from the life he used to lead and the company he used to keep.

Alexander in A Gentleman in Moscow living in a world ruled by people who would happily execute him for who he is? Obi-Wan circa Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars timeline knew a thing or two about that. Alexander having to watch an innocent man previously of the same social standing be murdered, unable to do anything about it? That would be Obi-Wan's life on Tatooine before Bail Organa dropped by the desert planet with a mission for him.

Even Alexander having to give up the earthly possessions that meant so much to him was comparable to Obi-Wan having to bury his lightsaber, and Ewan McGregor opened up to CinemaBlend about that plot point in his Star Wars series.

And Alexander bonding with a cute little girl who seems bound to get him into trouble, seemingly with a complicated relationship with her dad? That just about makes me want to rewatch Obi-Wan Kenobi just for Obi-Wan's adventures with young Leia all over again. And I'm not saying that the bearded Soviet soldier with a vendetta against Alexander (and who wouldn't reveal his name) is the A Gentleman in Moscow version of Reva, but I won't rule it out. The Soviet regime as presented in the new show isn't exactly dissimilar to the Imperials in the Disney+ series.

I also don't really expect to see parallels between Ewan McGregor's two characters on a weekly basis as A Gentleman in Moscow continues releasing new episodes, but it was a fun way to get invested in the star's new show. New episodes of the series will continue airing on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime, but will be available a few days earlier with Friday releases streaming via Paramount+ with Showtime.