It’s happening. Very soon we’ll be getting an Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+, Disney’s upcoming streaming service. Some had hoped it would be a full-on film, but ‘from a certain point of view’ a series seems like it will be a better fit. What could this series look like? What do we know so far? We endeavor to tell you just that. However, be aware, your eyes can deceive you. What we show you now may very well prove but a false shadow or some vision of a timeline that never was.
Ewan McGregor To Return As Obi-Wan Kenobi
The official news of Obi-Wan’s return comes from Deadline, where they also revealed that Ewan McGregor would be reprising his role as Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. McGregor played Kenobi in the prequel trilogy of STAR WARS films.
He followed in the footsteps of Sir Alec Guinness, who first played Obi-Wan in the original trilogy of films.
McGregor’s return is very exciting. He’s always said in interviews the he’d love to play the character once more. The ball has always been in Lucasfilm’s, and now Disney’s, court. Finally, it’s looks as though all the pieces are falling in place.
Where Will It Take Place On The Star Wars Timeline?
McGregor’s return as Obi-Wan Kenobi gives us a pretty strong idea as to the timeframe for this series. Given what we know about greater STAR WARS continuity it makes the most sense for us to see Obi-Wan during his time of exile on Tatooine.
After the Jedi Purge and the rise of the Galactic Empire in REVENGE OF THE SITH, Jedi Masters Obi-Wan and Yoda decide to go into hiding. They plan to hide until the twin children of Anakin Skywalker, now Darth Vader, can grow up a be a new hope against the dark forces of the galaxy.
Leia is adopted by Alderaanian Senator Bail Organa. Luke, meanwhile, ended up in the care of his aunt and uncle on the planet Tatooine. There, Kenobi quietly monitored Luke’s life. Obi-Wan becomes Old Ben during those 19 years, a hermit living alone on the outskirts of Tatooine’s small moisture farming settlements.
Also, it’s worth noting that just before the events of ROGUE ONE and NEW HOPE, we do see Darth Maul attempt to exact revenge against Old Ben on Tatooine. This happens in the canonical animated STAR WARS: REBELS series. Given Kenobi’s age at their last standoff, this event provides the ceiling for the streaming series. It almost certainly unfolds post-Luke hand off, pre-Darth Maul fight.
However, what remains unclear, is how limited that 19 year exile was. Did he never leave the planet or did he venture out now and then? Did he even begin his exile on Tatooine? Perhaps he just dropped off Luke with Owen and Beru before heading out to explore other aspects of the galaxy. We know the story of his exile begins and ends on that desert planet, but in the present WARS continuity we know almost nothing that came in-between.
Drawing on Existing Obi-Wan Kenobi Centric Source Materials?
What’s interesting is that there are already some pieces of media that give us glimpses into this season of Kenobi’s life. The new series on the horizon could potentially take inspiration from, if not directly adapt, from what’s already been made.
Firstly, there’s the JOURNALS OF OBI-WAN KENOBI, a series of comic book one-shots featured in between bigger arcs of Marvel’s STAR WARS. They feature Obi-Wan struggling to leave his life as a Jedi behind. He does his best to protect Luke, keeping him alive long enough to become a new hope. The one-shots often have him clashing with Luke’s Uncle Owen, who doesn’t want Old Ben in any part of Luke’s life, nevermind letting him train him.
Looking To Source Material Before the Disney Purchase?
JOURNALS OF OBI-WAN KENOBI are officially part of the STAR WARS canon, but it seems unlikely that the series would be a direct adaptation of that series. Perhaps, then, the streaming show might look to “lost” continuity for inspiration. For instance, the novel KENOBI by John Jackson Miller offers plenty of intriguing content that, currently, has not “happened” in STAR WARS continuity.
The novel was well-received and featured Obi-Wan facing down corrupt moisture farmers and Jabba the Hutt. He also allied himself with Tusken Raiders, and races through a field of Sarlacc monsters. He struggled with his own inner-conflict about his exile and taking action when he knew he probably should not. Put simply, it would serve as some awesome source material.
It would not be the first time Lucasfilm/Disney has brought characters and stories back into canon from previous efforts that became purged continuity. For instance, Grand Admiral Thrawn starred in a series of novels published between 1991 and 1993. Like all of the “Extended Universe” Thrawn was rendered persona non grata by Disney’s purchase of the STAR WARS universe. However, Thrawn began to make appearances in the in-continuity animated series REBELS and starred in the first of a new series of novels in 2017. In other words, adapting aspects of KENOBI is certainly plausible.
Old Ben Origins For Obi-Wan Kenobi Seems Right For Disney+
Ignore the fact that this nomadic season of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s life seems the most likely for the series. Not only is this nomadic season of Obi-Wan’s life the most likely launching pad for the series, it is also what fans want. Rumors and fan desires have long pointed towards a full-on feature film detailing Kenobi’s transition into Old Ben. However, with the less than stellar release of SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY, it looks like Lucasfilm/Disney is looking to Disney+ to be their new solution for any standalone tales they’d like to tell, Kenobi’s story included.
This seems like a strong move in series of good decisions for original material for Disney+. The Kenobi series will be among the ranks of fellow upcoming STAR WARS titles. THE MANDOLORIAN will arrive first when the service launches. There will also be an untitled series featuring the early career of Cassian Andor before ROGUE ONE.
This gives Lucasfilms/Disney flexibility. They can tell the blockbuster universe spanning tales on the big screen. Meanwhile, more character-focused efforts that fill out unexplored continuity or offer stories of smaller characters can have a go of it on streaming. ‘From a certain point of view’, this upcoming series format could end up being better than a film would/could be.
Could Liam Neeson Return As Qui-Gon? Too Much To Ask For?
Lastly, a note and question founded in my own pure hope and excitement: How cool would it be to see Liam Neeson reprise his STAR WARS role as well, returning as Obi-Wan Kenobi’s late master, Qui-Gon Jinn? Before Obi-Wan and Yoda part ways, Yoda tells Kenobi that he will teach him how to commune with Jinn.
Liam Neeson could return one of two ways: he could return simply as a disembodied voice talking to Obi-Wan. Alternatively, if we’re lucky, a fully-formed force ghost. As Obi-Wan appears to Luke, so could Qui-Gon appear to his apprentice.
It’s feasible is all I’m saying. Neeson did lend his voice in the animated CLONE WARS series for a few episodes. I’m sure it’s at least in the cards for us to get some classic Neeson dialogue. Here’s hoping for some serious legendary stuff in a series that’s already primed to be epic.
Use Your Voice
Do you see Kenobi going in a different direction? Do you wish he would? Perhaps you feel it is a mistake to settle for streaming for a character as important as the man who learned under Qui-Gon, fought with and against Anakin Skywalker, and mentored Luke? Are you still upset about the loss of the Extended Universe?
Sound off about it. We are on Twitter @ComicsVerse and we have a whole place for comments right below this article. Light us up!