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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney Plus: Everything we know about the Star Wars TV show

Ewan McGregor

Hello there. Ewan McGregor will return as Obi-Wan, but filming won’t kick off until spring 2021.

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Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

“Obi-Wan. Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time…” Disney’s got a whole lot of Star Wars shows going for its Disney Plus streaming service — The Mandalorian is coming back Oct. 30, we’re getting a Rogue One prequel series, The Clone Wars is getting a spinoff next year and there’s a female-centric show coming sometime.

However, the most exciting new show is still to come. An untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi show will see Ewan McGregor returning to the role of the venerable Jedi master he played in the Star Wars prequels. 

Disney and Lucasfilm announced the show during August 2019 D23 convention and here are all the details we know so far. 

When is it out?

We don’t know yet. The show was meant to start shooting this summer, but McGregor told sister site ET in September that filming will begin in spring 2021. As a result, the release date is likely to be sometime in late 2021 or early 2022. It’ll consist of six hour-long episodes, McGregor said last year, and he told ET that it’s planned as a single-season show.

Disney has been dropping episodes on its streaming service on a weekly basis, unlike Netflix’s full-season drop approach.

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The Jedi Master prepares to go into hiding on Tatooine in the closing moments of Revenge of the Sith.


Courtesy Lucasfilm Ltd.

When is it set?

It’ll take place eight years after Revenge of the Sith and 11 years before A New Hope, in an era after the Jedi Order has been all but wiped out.

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Obi-Wan, as he’s seen in A New Hope. He won’t look quite this old in the Disney Plus show.


Lucasfilm

Who’s Obi-Wan Kenobi?

If you really don’t know, you really should watch a few Star Wars movies. The quick version: Obi-Wan Kenobi is a Jedi Master who first appeared on screen in 1977’s A New Hope, played by Alec Guinness. This movie saw him helping young Luke Skywalker take his first steps into the larger world of the Force. Later in that movie, Obi-Wan was struck down by his former apprentice Darth Vader, who was ultimately revealed to be Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father and a Jedi turned to the dark side.

Despite his death, Obi-Wan returned as a spirit (a Force ghost, in Star Wars-speak) to guide Luke in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. He even gave Rey a little help in The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker.

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Qui-Gon Jinn introduces Anakin Skywalker to Obi-Wan, as R2-D2 looks on, in The Phantom Menace.


Lucasfilm

The prequel trilogy, which kicked off with The Phantom Menace in 1999, brought McGregor in as a younger Obi-Wan and introduced us to his master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). Qui-Gon discovered Anakin on the desert planet Tatooine, but was slain by Darth Maul and the responsibility of training the boy fell to Obi-Wan. 

Anakin succumbed to the dark side in Revenge of the Sith and helped Emperor Palpatine wipe out the Jedi as they established the Galactic Empire. Obi-Wan survived and fled to Tatooine with Luke, the son Anakin didn’t know he had, while Luke’s twin sister, Leia, went to live with the royal family of Alderaan.

Cast: Who’s in it?

The only confirmed casting is McGregor as Obi-Wan, but there are a number of actors who’ll almost certainly show up. And we got a hint about one of them at the end of Revenge of the Sith.

“In your solitude on Tatooine, training I have for you. An old friend has learned the path to immortality — one who has returned from the netherworld on the Force. Your old master,” said Yoda as he and Obi-Wan go into exile. “How to commune with him, I will teach you.”

Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn died in The Phantom Menace, but Neeson returned to the role in The Clone Wars. He was the first Jedi ever to become a Force ghost and guide his allies in the material realm. By the time of the Original Trilogy, Obi-Wan has learned this skill, having been taught by Qui-Gon. We’ll presumably see this in the show.

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Beru and Owen Lars are responsible for raising young Luke Skywalker.


Lucasfilm

We’re also likely to see Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse return as Owen and Beru Lars — better known as Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. At this point in the timeline, they’re raising Luke far away from now-evil dad Darth Vader. Presumably, we’ll see someone new playing the 8-year-old Luke.

Expect Jabba the Hutt and his goons, as well as some of the scum and villainy glimpsed in the Mos Eisley Cantina, to show up too. Obi-Wan could reminisce about fighting in the Clone Wars as well, opening up the possibility of flashbacks. 

Who else is involved with the show?

Deborah Chow, who helmed episodes three and seven of The Mandalorian, will direct the Obi-Wan show, with The Alienists’ Hossein Amini on writing duties. 

Chow, Amini and McGregor will serve as executive producers, along with Kennedy, Tracey Seaward (The Queen) and John Swartz (Rogue One). Lucasfilm executive vice president of production Jason McGatlin will serve as co-producer.

What do we know about the plot?

Right now, all we can really say is that Obi-Wan — known to the locals as Ben Kenobi — will commune with Qui-Gon’s spirit while in exile on Tatooine, and he’ll watch over Luke from a distance. Don’t think too hard about the fact that Vader failed to look for his son on his home planet, that the Galactic Empire didn’t notice a young man with the name Skywalker or that Obi-Wan’s alias is pretty darn similar to his own name.

We’ve had a few canon glimpses of this period. In the first volume of Marvel’s main Star Wars comic series, Luke finds Obi-Wan’s journals following the Jedi’s death in A New Hope. These recount a few of his adventures on Tatooine, like saving Luke from Jabba’s goons, protecting Jawas from Tusken Raiders and rescuing Owen from Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan.

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Obi-Wan faces Maul for the last time in Rebels.


Courtesy Lucasfilm Ltd.

Obi-Wan’s final battle with Maul takes place during this time, around two years before A New Hope. We’ve already seen how that goes down in the CGI animated series Rebels, but it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that it’ll be re-created in live action.

If you’re eager to get a sense of this time period, John Jackson Miller’s 2013 novel Kenobi, is worth a read. It’s no longer canon, but reveals one of Obi-Wan’s adventures as he tries to blend in on Tatooine and is an excellent read.

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