- "Between darkness and defeat, hope survives."
- ―Teaser Trailer
Obi-Wan Kenobi, marketed as Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, is a live-action television series developed by Lucasfilm. It premiered on Disney+ on May 27, 2022. The series features Ewan McGregor reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi from the Star Wars prequel trilogy and Hayden Christensen reprising his role as Darth Vader. It takes place ten years after Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.
As a film
- "It wasn't always going to be a series, not initially. When we first started talking about, that wasn't really in the cards, but everything's changed so much, so quickly. It's really exciting that it is now. I'm really into the idea to be able to tell the story over several hours instead of just one hit. I think it's going to be quite cool."
- ―Ewan McGregor on how the series evolved from a film
In 2013, news were released that The Walt Disney Company-Lucasfilm Ltd. brand was developing several theatrical pictures separate from the core, episodic Star Wars saga, which were later denominated as the Star Wars Anthology Series line. Talks about a potential Obi-Wan Kenobi-centric movie as part of the Anthology series arose, and Ewan McGregor, the actor who played Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, was approached to reprise the role. However, McGregor knew about the project as far as back in 2015, and until 2019, he was forced to withhold information in interviews.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first installment of the Anthology Series, was released in December 2016 and was well received both critically and commercially. In August 2017, sources from The Hollywood Reporter reported that an Anthology film centered on Obi-Wan Kenobi starring McGregor was in development by Lucasfilm, with Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry in early talks to direct and oversee the project. Joel Edgerton, who portrayed Owen Lars in the prequel trilogy, had previously expressed interest on reprising his role in a spin-off film about Kenobi. Once he was hired to helm the film, Daldry contacted Hossein Amini to talk about the possibility of joining the project.
However, all Star Wars stand-alone spin-off films were put on hold following the lower-than-expected box office returns from Solo: A Star Wars Story, the second Anthology film, in May 2018. Four months later, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that Lucasfilm had reevaluated its release schedule in the wake of the poor reception of Solo. It was later confirmed that there will be a hiatus on Star Wars following the release of Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker until 2022. Despite this, former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was quoted in November 2018 as saying that the filmmakers of the Obi-Wan Kenobi film had proposed shooting it in Northern Ireland. The Hollywood Reporter had previously voted it in a 2016 poll as the most wanted Anthology film by fans.
As a series
Announcements in 2019
- "I want to get closer and closer to how Obi-Wan felt while Alec Guinness was playing him. I feel like I'm grayer and nearer him in age, so it'll be easier to do that."
- ―Ewan McGregor on playing Obi-Wan in the series
As noted by McGregor, at some point through development, the film project quickly turned into a television series instead. At some point before it turned into a TV series, McGregor participated in a costume test. A television series centered on Obi-Wan Kenobi to be aired on Disney+, Disney's new streaming service, was officially announced by McGregor and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy at the 2019 D23 Expo after months of rumors and speculation. The series will take place ten years after Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. During the event, it was also revealed that the episodes had already been written and that production would begin in 2020. Amini and Deborah Chow were later announced as showrunners in StarWars.com.
Announcements in 2020
On January 23, 2020, it was reported that the series had been put on hold due to alleged "script problems." However, Ewan McGregor later stated that these rumors were exaggerations, and that production continued as normal. McGregor further stated that while filming was indeed delayed to January 2021, the series' intended release date would remain unaffected. On April 2, 2020, it was reported that John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum writer Joby Harold was hired to write the series, replacing Amini, who left the project back in January. This was confirmed in 2022, as Kennedy revealed in an interview that she was concerned with the direction of the scripts. She had shut down production in January 2020, and hired Harold to replace Amini. Despite leaving the project, Amini still received writing and story credits for four episodes of the season.
In April 2020, French press release reported that the series was scheduled to debut in 2022. In September 2020, McGregor expected the show to begin filming in spring 2021. On October 9, 2020, Ewan McGregor confirmed while on BBC's The Graham Norton Show that filming was scheduled for March of 2021.
On December 10, 2020, more news on the series broke, including confirmation that the series would take place in 9 BBY and the announcement that Hayden Christensen would be reprising his role as Darth Vader for the series. The series' logo was also revealed.
- "There are certain cultural things that we can understand right away, and culturally specific things design-wise. Like, "Oh, maybe we shouldn't do this, but this?" Things that, intuitively, we pick up. It's been an absolute joy working with Deb because she gets it. She's very smart and knows what she wants. I really enjoy that collaboration because now, I feel like, for the Obi-Wan series especially, we have an opportunity to bring a richness to it that hasn't been explored. And I'm working with Chung-hoon [Chung], our director of photography, he's brilliant. He has a wonderful eye."
- ―Doug Chiang
On March 29, 2021, Lucasfilm announced the official cast list for the series which includes: Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Maree Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell, and Benny Safdie. Filming began in April.
On May 19, 2021, it was revealed that veteran Star Wars concept artist Doug Chiang collaborated with director Deborah Chow on the series, making heavy use of different cultures for new designs. At least six department heads are of Asian American heritage, with Chung-hoon Chung serving as the director of photography. Filming wrapped on September 19, 2021.
On February 9, 2022, StarWars.com announced that the series would premiere May 25 of that year. The first teaser trailer for the series was released on March 9. It was later announced on March 31 that the premiere for the series would be pushed back to May 27, 2022, with the first two episodes premiering together.
On February 28, 2022, the Writers Guild of America West revealed the final writing credits of the season which includes the previously unannounced writers Stuart Beattie, Andrew Stanton, and Hannah Friedman alongside Joby Harold and Hossein Amini.
On February 17, 2022, Variety released an article announcing the return of composer John Williams to the Star Wars universe, set to write a theme for the main character of the series despite not being the writer of the complete score. On April 22 of that year, it was announced that Natalie Holt scored the series, except for Kenobi's theme, which was composed by Williams.
|Episode||Image||Title||Original Airdate||Prod. #|
|1||"Part I"||May 26, 2022|
|2||"Part II"||May 26, 2022|
|3||"Part III"||June 1, 2022|
|4||"Part IV"||June 8, 2022|
|5||"Part V"||June 15, 2022|
|6||"Part VI"||June 22, 2022|
Notes and references