Star Wars fans are a famously argumentative bunch, fond of debating endlessly about the relative merits of Episodes One through Nine and speculating about the proper “direction” the franchise should take. But there’s at least one thing that fandom tends to agree on: They want to see more of Obi-Wan Kenobi and his legendary single-bladed lightsaber. This often-vocalized desire has not gone unheeded.
As most fans are aware at this point, Lucasfilm has been trying to launch a special project starring Obi-Wan in a solo outing of some nature. After several years of behind-the-scenes activity, resulting in a number of tantalizing updates released on a periodic basis to the press, the project has morphed into a TV series that is scheduled to begin shooting in April 2021. It is one of a number of Disney Plus Star Wars shows coming out over the next few years.
The road to this point has been a long and winding one; here’s a quick overview of the various stages that the Obi-Wan project has passed through over the last few years.
The Obi-Wan Spinoff: A Brief History
- September 2014 – An unconfirmed internet report from an unidentified insider claims that Lucasfilm is developing an Obi-Wan movie.
- October 2014 – A follow-up report, also unconfirmed, claims that the Obi-Wan project is not a standalone film but a trilogy(!) “set between Episodes III and IV.”
- March 2017 – Another uncredited report hits the internet, alleging that the proposed Obi-Wan trilogy has been scaled back to just one movie with Ewan McGregor reprising his role as the Jedi Master.
- August 2017 – Respected trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter breaks the news that Oscar-nominated director Stephen Daldry is in discussions to helm the Obi-Wan movie. At this juncture, however, the movie still has no script, and there is no confirmation about who plays Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- May 2018 – Tabloid site TMZ reveals that it obtained a production bulletin indicating that the movie, now called Obi-Wan: A Star Wars Story, will commence filming in the spring of the following year. Daldry is still attached as director. The film’s synopsis describes Obi-Wan dealing with local conflicts on Tatooine while keeping tabs on a very young Luke Skywalker.
- August 2019 – At Disney’s D23 Expo, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy announces a major change of course for the Obi-Wan project: it has been reconceived as a six-part TV series to be aired on the soon-to-be-launched Disney+ streaming platform. Shooting is scheduled to begin in 2020. Ewan McGregor joins her onstage to verify all those long-standing rumors that he’ll be returning as Obi-Wan.
- October 2019 – McGregor tells Men’s Journal that the Obi-Wan TV series will take place between Episodes III & IV (the same time-frame that was proposed for the now-abandoned standalone film).
- January 2020 – The Obi-Wan series gets put on indefinite hold, purportedly due to issues with the existing scripts (although McGregor praised them as “really good”). Reports say that the series, when it resumes production, will be shortened from six parts to four.
- February 2020 – The upcoming show gets a new title: Pilgrim. Meanwhile, McGregor reveals in a TV interview that the production will begin shooting “very early next year.”
- December 2020 – At Disney Investor Day 2020, Kathleen Kennedy announces that the TV show is indeed still happening, and that Hayden Christensen will be returning in the role of Darth Vader.
- February 2021 – McGregor reveals that the new show will shoot in Los Angeles, using the type of virtual technology so successfully utilized to produce The Mandalorian.
March 2021 – A number of other actors are announced for the project. Multiple sources are now calling the show Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi. It also seems to have reverted to a six-part series.
Aside from McGregor and Christensen, quite a few other name actors have been cast, although in most cases it’s unknown which roles they are to play. It is known that a few actors from the Star Wars prequels will appear in the new series. Joel Edgerton will reprise his role as Owen Lars, and Bonnie Piesse will return as his wife, Beru Lars.
Other confirmed cast members include Moses Ingram, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell, and Benny Safdie. Rumors have circulated that Varma could be playing legendary bounty hunter Asajj Ventress, but this has yet to be confirmed.
Apparently, Jar Jar Binks will not be appearing in the Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi series. Jar Jar actor Ahmed Best has confirmed that he will not be participating.
The behind-the-camera talent for the new series is also quite impressive. The executive producers are Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Deborah Chow, Ewan McGregor, and Joby Harold. Chow will also be directing at least two episodes of the series; she previously helmed a few episodes of The Mandalorian. Harold will perform screenwriting duties as well.
The casting director is Carmen Cuba, who recently assembled the cast of the upcoming fourth Matrix film.
When Is It Coming Out?
The Obi-Wan Kenobi series release date hasn’t been set at the present time, but it is expected to be on the air sometime in 2022, along with several other upcoming Star Wars shows.
The Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series will be available exclusively on Disney+.
That’s where things stand right now (April 2021), with a six-part Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney Plus series scheduled to arrive sometime next year. Given the history of this project, though, it’s not unlikely that there will be additional updates and revisions before fans will be able to see Obi-Wan on his very own TV show.
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