Ewan McGregor is returning to the Star Wars universe as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new series set to air on Disney Plus—you just might have to wait a little bit longer to see it. The series, which was in pre-production with McGregor, “has been put on hold” for the time being so that new scripts can be written, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The report says that the “story became an issue” on the show because it “treaded similar ground as Mandalorian,” and that Lucasfilm is looking for a new writer to take over for Hossein Amini, who was originally attached. Despite the hold, director Deborah Chow, who directed two very well-received episodes of The Mandalorian and became the first-ever female director on a Star Wars project, remains attached, as is McGregor.
“I want to get closer and closer to how Obi-Wan felt while Alec Guinness was playing him,” McGregor said. “I feel like I’m grayer and nearer him in age, so it’ll be easier to do that.”
While some fans on social media were worried about the recent news, McGregor tempered some of that in interviews while attending the ‘Harleywood & Highland’ event for his new DC comic book movie Birds of Prey on January 23.
“I think we start shooting early next year as opposed to summer this year,” McGregor told Variety at the event. “I think the scripts are great. They’re in really good shape. They want them to be better. I didn’t realize until we got here tonight and everybody is going, ‘Oh, my god!’ But it’s not really as dramatic as it might seem.”
Here’s what we know about the series so far, plus more on McGregor’s comments about what’s next:
The Timeline: The series is set to take place between the events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, when Obi-Wan was in hiding and working to protect Luke Skywalker. At the 2019 D23 Expo, LucasFilm officially confirmed the time period, saying that the series would take place “eight years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, where we last saw Obi-Wan delivering the infant Luke Skywalker to his Tatooine homestead.”
McGregor spoke about the time period of the series in his Men’s Journal cover story:
“The storyline sits between Episode III and Episode IV,” McGregor said. “The Jedi Order was falling apart. It will be interesting to take a character we know in a way and show him—well, his arc will be quite interesting, I think, dealing with that the fact that all the Jedi were slaughtered with the end of Episode III. It’s quite something to get over.”
The Characters: With the new scripts, it’s possible other characters will come into play for the series, but it’s expected to include young versions of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, and, of course, McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The Main Director: Deborah Chow remains attached as the primary director of the series. Chow worked on two episodes of The Mandalorian on Disney Plus, including Chapter 3: The Sin and Chapter 7: The Reckoning, both of which were Season 1 favorites for fans of the series.
The Release Date: While no official release date had been set, the show likely was going to air in 2021 after shooting over summer of 2020. With that production date changed, it’s possible that the release date may change as well, although 2021 still seems likely. The Mandalorian debuted Season 1 in November 2019, and Season 2 is expected around the same time in 2020. The Obi-Wan series could be in that same area in 2021. McGregor addressed the delay with IGN at the Birds of Prey event, and while things can still change, the actor didn’t think the delay would push the release date back:
“[Filming] just slid to next year, that’s all,” McGregor said. “The scripts were really good. I think now that Episode IX came out and everyone at Lucasfilm’s got more time to spend on the writing, they felt like they wanted more time to spend on the writing. I’ve read about 80, 90 percent of what they’ve written so far, and it’s really, really good. Instead of shooting this August, they just want to start shooting in January, that’s all. Nothing more dramatic than that. It often happens in projects, they just wanted to push it to next year. It will have the same release date, I don’t think it will affect the release date. They’re still shooting towards having the film [show] release when it was going to be originally.”
The Episode Count: Originally envisioned as a six-episode series, the show now will be reworked into a four-episode series with the new scripts, according to the THR report. McGregor first revealed the six-episode count in his Men’s Journal cover story, but now the show will be a little bit shorter.
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