At last – it was finally confirmed at the 2019 D23 Disney Expo that Ewan McGregor was due to return as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new standalone series which, is exclusive to the highly anticipated streaming service, Disney+.
It comes as a huge surprise to many Star Wars fans and has driven the speculation on what the show could be about into overdrive. All we know for sure is as follows:
The new series will take place at approximately the same time as Solo: A Star Wars Story in canon. According to a timeline revealed at D23, the series will occur seven years after the events in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and 12 years before Star Wars: A New Hope. Given that there is no confirmation on the length of the series, we cannot pinpoint the exact time period in which the show will take place; however, in terms of the Star Wars films, there is a 19-year gap to work with between them. That said, Obi-Wan Kenobi does appear in canon before A New Hope in the animated series Star Wars Rebels, which now gives us approximately 14 years of unknown content that the show can focus on.
Yet what exactly could have happened in those 14 years? Here are some of our ideas – and if you haven’t watched Star Wars Rebels, there are spoilers ahead!
TALES ON TATOOINE
Last we saw of a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi was at the end of Revenge of the Sith when he takes newborn Luke Skywalker, son of Anakin and Padme, to Owen Lars on Tatooine. Obi-Wan then reappears in Rebels on Tatooine in Twin Suns in season three, and again in Star Wars: A New Hope. It is heavily implied in Rebels that Obi-Wan remained on Tatooine to watch over Luke, something he touched on at the end of Revenge of the Sith. So, we can gather from this information, that Obi-Wan Kenobi is likely on the planet Tatooine during the time the new series will take place.
What does this mean for the series then? Perhaps the show will explore more in-depth the workings of the planet and take a closer look at relationships with Owen and Beru Lars. It could focus on smaller enemies like the Tusken Raiders, Bounty Hunters or even bring in the Inquisitors seen in Rebels. It would give Disney the opportunity to expand on the information we already know, rather than starting off an all-new sequence. It could give greater meaning to concepts from the films like the Cantina, Jabbas Palace and the Junk Traders we deal with in The Force Awakens on Jakku. Any excuse to see another pod race, we’re in.
A GUILTY CONSCIENCE
Obi-Wan has been through a lot, from losing his Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, at the hands of Darth Maul, to then losing Anakin to the Dark Side. What could this do to a person? Much like what we saw in The Last Jedi, Padawan turns evil and the Master feels pretty bad about it and exiles himself… sound familiar?
We visit a whole new Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi after the conflict he experienced with Ben Solo, known to us now as Kylo Ren, and who is to say that Obi-Wan Kenobi didn’t experience this same impact? Qui-Gon left Obi-Wan with a purpose on his deathbed, “Promise me you will train the boy, he is the chosen one, he will bring balance”. Obi-Wan dedicated himself in the following prequels, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and in the animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars to teaching Anakin everything he knew to become a Jedi Master.
Although we all know how that turned out, Obi-Wan’s last encounter with Anakin was on Mustafar when he thought he killed him by leaving him for dead on the fiery planet. The audience knew he was to become Darth Vader, but Obi-Wan did not. Killing Anakin would have been extremely traumatic, and with the ongoing political conflict, he may have felt at fault on the happenings around him. Perhaps the show will go into greater depth about how Obi-Wan dealt with this grief, serving for more of a mini-series than a multiple season show.
It is just speculation, but from a business point of view, bringing back Vader prior to A New Hope would be a big power move. Unfortunately for Disney, it is tough to create a show with great suspense, considering we already know what happens in the story. However, building up to a confrontation of sorts between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader would be gripping. Bearing in mind the promise that Obi-Wan Kenobi made to Qui-Gon regarding Anakin, Obi-Wan has motive in searching for Anakin. Although, the possibility of them meeting prior to A New Hope is slim as it is implied in the dialogue in A New Hope that they had not met prior to that battle. Nevertheless, Darth Vader’s scenes in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story were epic, and Disney wouldn’t have forgotten that.
We know from The Clone Wars and Rebels that Darth Maul was still very active and came into contact with Obi-Wan Kenobi after he sliced him in half The Phantom Menace. It makes sense to have Darth Maul as the main villain for the series, having dealt with him in Clone Wars, and also the fact he murdered his Master Qui-Gon Jinn in front of him. It gives writers an exciting plot to expand on, and they may have already tried to initiate it in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Prior to the release of Solo, the concept of standalone Star Wars films were on the cards for future Disney projects, with the possibility of a Kenobi film. Writers may have brought back Darth Maul in Solo in preparation for his reappearance as the main villain in the new Kenobi movie. However, as Solo under-performed at the box office, all standalone movies were put on hold, perhaps including an Obi-Wan Kenobi film.
If Darth Maul were to return, the series may then focus on Obi-Wan attempting to cripple the Crimson Dawn Criminal syndicate that Maul was controlling. It would imply that Obi-Wan Kenobi will leave Tatooine, which is much more realistic than him remaining there for all these years. However, according to canon established in Rebels, Maul only learns of Obi-Wan’s whereabouts on Tatooine because of Ezra’s vision, and therefore wouldn’t have come into contact with him beforehand. Although this doesn’t necessarily derail the possibility of Obi-Wan’s attempts to defeat the syndicate, it would just mean they wouldn’t come into direct contact.
What could be better than having Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson returning to reprise both of their roles as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn? Literally nothing. This is probably the biggest possible theme the writers could take when considering the entirety of the Star Wars canon thus far.
In a final scene between Master Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith, Yoda says, “In your solitude on Tatooine, training, I have for you.” It is possible that Qui-Gon would return for this training as we have heard him in Attack of the Clones and in Clone Wars. Audiences also saw him communicate with Anakin in Clone Wars as a force ghost.
Taking this route would give greater significance to Obi-Wan appearing to Luke in Return of the Jedi as a force ghost and would be a great pay off for fans. Qui-Gon himself explains to Yoda in Clone Wars the complexities of the force, and how his own training was not complete to appear before him. Therefore, the series could finally detail the questions fans may have on the abilities and training required to become a force ghost.
With little to nothing confirmed other than Ewan McGregor returning, anything could happen with this new series. Star Wars fans are eager to see Ewan McGregor return to our screens to give us more action and wisdom as everyone’s favourite Jedi.