This Jedi may be in hiding, but he’ll always have the high ground. A bunch of Star Wars shows are coming to Disney Plus, and one will star an iconic hero: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ewan McGregor is returning to the role of the wise Jedi master he played in all three Star Wars prequels.
Disney and Lucasfilm announced the show during the August 2019 D23 convention. Here are all the details we’ve learned since.
When is Obi-Wan Kenobi out?
We don’t know yet. Production began in April, and McGregor was spotted with a very Jedi Master beard a few weeks later.
As a result, the release date is likely to be sometime in 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 of shows on its streaming service on a weekly basis, unlike Netflix’s full-season drop approach.
When in the Star Wars timeline is it set?
It’ll take place 10 years after Revenge of the Sith and nine years before A New Hope, in an era after the Jedi Order has been all but wiped out.
Who’s Obi-Wan Kenobi?
If you really don’t know, you 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.
The prequel trilogy, which kicked off with The Phantom Menace in 1999, brought in McGregor 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 became Darth Vader, then 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.
“There may or may not be cloaks, I’m not saying anything,” McGregor told CBS Sunday Morning in May. “But to come back to play him again, Obi-Wan Kenobi, has been absolutely brilliant. I’m really enjoying it.”
There will definitely be cloaks.
Cast: Who’s in Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Aside from McGregor returning as Obi-Wan, Hayden Christensen — who played Anakin in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith — will return as Vader.
“It was such an incredible journey playing Anakin Skywalker,” Christensen said of coming back to the role. “Of course, Anakin and Obi-Wan weren’t on the greatest of terms when we last saw them… It will be interesting to see what an amazing director like Deborah Chow has in store for us all. I’m excited to work with Ewan again. It feels good to be back.”
Lucasfilm revealed a slew of other cast members in March. Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse will 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 a young Luke.
Joining them are Kumail Nanjiani, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Moses Ingram, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, Sung Kang, Simone Kessell and Benny Safdie in unknown roles. None of them has previously been in Star Wars, and Nanjiani told USA Today in November that his experience on the show was “absolutely amazing.”
“When you’re on set, you have to put out of your head that you’re in Star Wars, which is very hard to do because it really looks like you’re in Star Wars. I’m dressed like I’m in Star Wars,” he said. “The guy who I’m talking to looks a lot like Obi-Wan Kenobi. It was my first job outside of quarantine: I got vaccinated, went right to set and honestly had the best three months.”
In April, Variety reported that Maya Erskine (seen in Hulu comedy PEN15) has been cast in the show. Her role is unknown.
There’s one other actor who’ll almost certainly show up, as suggested near 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. Neeson told Collider in October 2020 he hadn’t yet “been approached” about reprising the role, but it could happen sometime during the show’s 2021 shoot.
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.
Who else is involved with this Star Wars show?
Deborah Chow, who helmed episodes 3 and 7 of The Mandalorian’s first season, will direct the Obi-Wan series. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Chow, McGregor and writer Joby Harold will serve as executive producers.
What do we know about the plot of Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Right now, all we can really say is that Obi-Wan — known to the locals as Ben Kenobi — will watch over Luke from a distance while in exile on Tatooine. 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.
It’s unclear what kind of role Vader will play in this show; Obi-Wan could leave Tatooine and have a close encounter with his fallen apprentice, or we might just cut to a distant Vader at some point.
“This will be the rematch of the century,” Kennedy said of Christensen’s return, suggesting that the two will meet.
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Obi-Wan will probably commune with Qui-Gon’s spirit as well, to learn how to return as a Force ghost.
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.
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 Star Wars Rebels. The Jedi could also reminisce about fighting in the Clone Wars, opening up the possibility of flashbacks (so we might see Christensen playing pre-Dark Side Anakin as well as Vader).
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 because Disney rebranded many pre-2014 Star Wars stories under the “Legends” banner, but it reveals one of Obi-Wan’s adventures as he tries to blend in on Tatooine.