After years and years of speculation, Ewan McGregor confirmed his return as Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi for a new series on Disney+ at the 2019 D23 Expo. But the Obi-Wan Kenobi series has suffered many delays and setbacks over the years. First as a movie, then as a series. However, things are finally back on track, with shooting set to start in the not-too-distant future. So far we’ve gotten even more info including a logo and the news that Hayden Christensen will be returning as Darth Vader. Not to mention, a closer look at the show that aired during Disney+ Day. Here’s everything we know about Obi-Wan Kenobi so far:
Will It Be A Limited Series?
So far, it appears that the Obi-Wan show is a “one and done” standalone season. While speaking to Entertainment Tonight, McGregor said, “As I understand, it’s a standalone season.” But he leaves open the possibility that there could be more when asked about a season two. “We’ll see. Who knows?” It doesn’t sound like he’s permanently closing the book on Old Ben.
When Does Filming Begin?
McGregor confirmed in the same interview with Entertainment Tonight that production began in early 2021. He said, “Spring  we start. I’m really excited about it. It’s gonna be great, I think.” With a spring 2021 start date, don’t expect to see the series before late 2021—or more likely early 2022.
In February 2021, McGregor confirmed during a chat with Eddie Izzard (which we spotted at /Film) that the series will be filmed in Los Angeles using the same StageCraft methodology as The Mandalorian. Per a press release in late March, the show began production in April.
Who’s Behind the Scenes?
That as-of-yet untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi series’ director and executive producer is Deborah Chow. She directed tw0 episodes of The Mandalorian last year, both fan-favorite episodes (“Chapter 3: The Sin” and “Chapter 7: The Reckoning”). Lucasfilm officially announced Chow as helming the series back in September 2019. As with all things Star Wars, Kathleen Kennedy is also an executive producer. Ewan McGregor is also a producer on the series.
Hossein Amini (Drive) is writing the scripts for the series. On the subject of the scripts he’s read thus far, McGregor revealed in January 2020 that: “The scripts are really good. I saw 90% of the writing. There was all this bullshit about [there] being creative differences and all that stuff. None of it true; they just pushed the dates.”
Who’s in the Cast?
Of course, Ewan McGregor will be returning as Obi-Wan Kenobi. But the bigger news is that Disney confirmed that Hayden Christensen is returning as Anakin Skywalker. And that makes sense as there will be plenty of flashbacks to the Clone Wars era.
Hayden Christensen returns as Darth Vader, joining Ewan McGregor in OBI-WAN KENOBI. The Original Series begins 10 years after the dramatic events of Revenge of the Sith, and is coming to #DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/9WR2npRUkk
March 2021 brought a number of intriguing casting bits to the foray. First, Deadline reported Indira Varma (Game of Thrones) is joining the cast; no details about her role are available. Several weeks later, Disney+ sent out a press release informing of the addition of a few more cast members—some more surprising than others. The names include: Star Wars‘ own Owen Lars, Joel Edgerton, ditto Beru Lars, Bonnie Piesse; prolific comic presence and to-be Eternals star Kumail Nanjiani; the Fast and the Furious movies’ Sung Kang; O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton and Godzilla: King of Monsters); Moses Ingram (The Queen’s Gambit); Rupert Friend (Homeland); Simone Kessell (Terra Nova); and, most curiously, Good Time and Uncut Gems director Benny Safdie. Pen15 star Maya Erskine will also appear in the series.
What Is Kenobi About?
Plot details surrounding the series are quite limited. The only thing we know for certain is that it takes place eight years after the events of Revenge of the Sith and eleven years before A New Hope. This puts Obi-Wan in the middle of his nineteen-year exile on Tatooine. Although some stories about Obi-Wan Kenobi’s time as “Old Ben” in the desert wasteland exist in comics and other media, it’s still a largely unexplored time in his life.
A recent sizzle reel for the upcoming show revealed just a little bit more. In the short featurette, fans are treated to Ewan McGregor and director Deborah Chow discussing Kenobi. They share that it’s a dark time for Obi-Wan. Even just being a Jedi isn’t safe. Despite this, his one task is to keep Luke safe. But the journey, Chow shares, only unwinds from there.
Concept art from the show additionally reveals the Empire’s Jedi Hunters accompanying stormtroopers, as well as what looks to be Coruscant, and possibly other planets too. Additionally, we get a glimpse of Hayden Christensen training for a lightsaber battle and wearing a breathing mask. We even glimpse a fight between Obi-Wan and Vader in yet more concept art.
There have been rumors, that suggested Kenobi‘s original storyline focused on the Jedi protecting a young charge (maybe Luke?) from being hunted down. But this was too close to the plot of The Mandalorian. Current rumors suggest that the story is focused on Darth Vader’s quest to find Obi-Wan. If this is the case, it will be interesting to see how the producers create drama from this scenario, as we know Vader fails in this mission. But as of now, all of these reports about the story are unconfirmed.
Why a Series, And Not a Movie?
As most Star Wars fans know, Lucasfilm originally conceived the Obi-Wan series as a feature film. But after Solo flopped at the box office, the studio decided to hold off on doing more standalone movies. Rumor has it that the Josh Trank Boba Fett movie simply morphed into The Mandalorian. And thus, the Obi-Wan movie became a series as well. Rumors became fact when Ewan McGregor finally confirmed the series on stage last summer at the D23 Expo. He even admitted he’d kept it a secret for nearly five years.
How Many Episodes Will There Be?
Right now, Kenobi‘s episode count is six episodes—at least according to McGregor. But it wouldn’t be shocking if it increased or decreased. We’ll be happy to take whatever McGregor lightsaber-wielding, Force using action we can get.
Originally published on January 23, 2020.
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