Ewan McGregor reveals he has known about the Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi series since before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015. Disney announced a deal to acquire Lucasfilm and its assets seven years ago, and immediately started planning production for Skywalker-centric films and one-off anthologies, beginning with The Force Awakens. While that trilogy (divisiveness aside) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story performed well, the second one-off installment, Solo: A Star Wars Story was a commercial failure. Frustration behind the scenes contributed to the abandonment of their annual spinoff plan, and focus shifted to new streaming service, Disney+.
The continuation of Obi-Wan’s story was most likely planned in the form of a feature film. Not much is known about the character’s tenure as “Ben Kenobi” on Tatooine between Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars – so a film set during that time period is a no brainer. A spinoff movie never came to fruition, but given Obi-Wan’s popularity (and Ewan McGregor’s), some sort of appearance by the bearded Jedi remained on the cards.
McGregor has fielded questions regarding his return to the franchise for years, almost always expressing interest while insisting that he has not been spoken to—he had been spoken to. According to CBR, McGregor has known about the reprisal of his role well before Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series was announced in August. The series has actually been in development for at least four years. “It’s a f**king massive relief,” he said. “Because for four years, I’ve been having to lie to people about it.” This would mean that McGregor probably had a conversation with Disney execs around the time he did voiceover work for The Force Awakens.
McGregor also revealed that his new Star Wars series will be made up of six hour-long episodes, but that filming will not begin until next summer. He even confirmed what everyone already knew: that its storyline will explore Obi-Wan’s time between Episode III and IV, dealing with the character’s emotional state following the events of Episode III. The series has been written by Hossein Amini and is being directed by Deborah Chow.
In addition to the Obi-Wan series, Disney+ is gearing up for the premiere of The Mandalorian, a series set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi. Reactions to not only the trailer for The Mandalorian but also the final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker have been overwhelming positive.
Before Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars, audiences had only been treated to six installments in the franchise over the course of nearly thirty years. Disney’s busy release schedule for Star Wars movies may have diluted the type of excitement that comes with anticipation. Obi-Wan’s return to the Star Wars franchise is reinvigorating a lot of fan enthusiasm in that galaxy far, far away.