Star Wars is going to have a busy few years on the small screen. The long-awaited Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries, which is expected to release on Disney Plus next year, is the closest the galaxy far, far away has come to continuing the direct story of the Skywalker Saga in a TV series. This is an exciting prospect.
As well as featuring multiple actors from the movies reprising their roles, Star Wars: Obi Wan Kenobi will bridge the long gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Ewan McGregor will again star as Obi-Wan in what Lucasfilm describes as a ‘special event series’, strongly suggesting this will be a self-contained show, rather than an ongoing series in the vein of The Mandalorian.
Deborah Chow, who directed exceptional The Mandalorian season 1 episodes ‘Chapter 3: The Sin’ and ‘Chapter 7: The Reckoning’, is behind the series. The episode count of Obi-Wan Kenobi hasn’t been confirmed yet, with various reports suggesting it’ll be around 4-6 episodes long.
Here’s everything we know about the Star Wars show so far, including the release date, cast and what we’ve learned about the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi in this series.
Obi-Wan Kenobi release date on Disney Plus: 2022?
Obi-Wan Kenobi begins production in April 2021. The series has no official release date yet, but we predict 2022 is when we’ll see the show, possibly towards the middle of next year.
Obi-Wan Kenobi cast on Disney Plus
In this series, Ewan McGregor will reprises his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi on-screen for the first time since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith (he had brief voice cameos in The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker). As announced during Disney’s Investor Day in 2020, Anakin Skywalker actor Hayden Christensen will be joining him as Darth Vader.
In April 2021, the full cast for the show was revealed. Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse are confirmed for this series, almost certainly reprising their roles as Owen Lars and Beru Lars from Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith – Luke Skywalker’s uncle and aunt.
Other confirmed Obi-Wan Kenobi cast members include Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), Indira Varma (Game of Thrones), Rupert Friend (Homeland), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton), Sung Kang (the Fast and Furious series), Simone Kessell (The Crossing), and Benny Safdie (Good Time). Who they’re all playing is a mystery.
Who else could turn up in this series? Jedi Knights and Masters, of course, can return as Force ghosts – so it’s not implausible that the likes of Yoda and Qui-Gon Jinn could turn up again in this series. That said, as of early 2021, actor Liam Neeson hadn’t yet been approached to return in the show.
When is Obi-Wan Kenobi set?
Obi-Wan Kenobi is set 10 years after Revenge of the Sith, and therefore nine years before A New Hope. At the end of the last movie in the Prequel Trilogy, Obi-Wan defeated Anakin Skywalker in battle and left him to burn on the planet of Mustafar. Anakin’s body was retrieved by Emperor Palpatine, and he was transformed into Darth Vader to save his life, beginning his reign of terror over the galaxy.
Obi-Wan, meanwhile, colluded with Yoda to hide Anakin and Padmé’s children, Luke and Leia Skywalker. He took Luke to his aunt and uncle on Tatooine, and began his new life on the sandy planet as a Jedi in exile.
As far as we know, before this series starts, Obi-Wan has simply been hiding out on Tatooine for an entire decade.
Obi-Wan Kenobi trailer on Disney Plus: is there one?
There’s no official trailer for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series yet. The closest thing that exists is the short featurette on the show displayed exclusively to investors and press during Disney’s Investor Day in 2020.
TechRadar has seen this footage, but like everyone, we only had the opportunity to watch it once and weren’t allowed to screengrab anything – the most notable element we can recall is a very cool piece of concept art that showed Obi-Wan and Darth Vader in a lightsaber battle.
Otherwise, it was a fairly simple promo video for the show featuring McGregor, and was pretty similar in format to the Andor video released during the same event.
Obi-Wan Kenobi story: what will the series actually be about?
The series will begin on Tatooine, before taking its main character on an adventure, as revealed during the Investor Day video mentioned above. We know the series will feature a rematch between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi – this sounds like the big moment of the show, but how that will come to pass is a mystery.
In introducing the series, Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy focused on the downfall of Anakin as Obi-Wan’s greatest defeat – we’d expect this series to see the ageing Jedi Master come to terms with this on some level. We can expect that the Skywalkers will feature prominently in the story, then, hence the series bringing back Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru.
Obi-Wan will seemingly be given a reason to leave Tatooine – one of the other pieces of concept art shown during the featurette teased some kind of water-based planet.
The Obi-Wan Kenobi series has a weirdly long history
The Obi-Wan Kenobi series reportedly began life as a movie back in 2017, with director Stephen Daldry in early talks to make it. This is back when Lucasfilm was also looking at making a Boba Fett standalone movie – all of this is largely speculated to have been scrapped as a result of the poor box office performance of Solo.
In 2019, it was confirmed that an Obi-Wan Kenobi series was in the works, and was expected to start shooting in 2020. Writer Hossein Amini (Drive) was attached to write the show – by January 2020, it was reported he’d departed the project. In April 2020, John Wick 3 writer Joby Harold apparently became the series’ new writer.
Finally, after a long wait, the series has reached the point where it’s actually filming – in the capable hands of The Mandalorian director Deborah Chow.
What we want from the Obi-Wan series on Disney Plus
The Star Wars prequels remain contentious more than 15 years after George Lucas wrapped the movies up. Some of the commentary on the films from younger viewers suggests there’s a generational divide on opinion around the prequels, probably helped by the well-received animated series The Clone Wars.
For us, though, they never truly lived up to the promise of telling Darth Vader’s true origin story, or making the Clone Wars seem all that interesting.
Still, this series is an opportunity to build on the latent potential of the prequel setting – and to add extra dimensions to the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan. Salvaging the reputation of the films is probably too big an ask from this show, but continuing the story and finding something new to say about the characters is appealing. And whatever you think of the end result, McGregor was a consistent highlight of the three movies.
If nothing else, the lightsaber battle on Mustafar was the most visually spectacular part of Episode III – if this truly is the rematch of the century, as Lucasfilm has been teasing, will we see the Obi-Wan Kenobi series try and top that? Let’s hope so.
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