The Obi-Wan Kenobi six-episode event series for Disney+ has recently wrapped up, which was the culmination of years of behind-the-scenes work and plenty of rumors about a project starring Ewan McGregor in his return as the iconic Jedi Master.
We knew that the project was originally conceived of as a movie, in a similar style as Rogue One and Solo: A Star Wars Story, but after the latter’s box office disappointment Lucasfilm began re-thinking their strategy – which just so happened to coincide nicely with the shift in the Walt Disney Company toward streaming. But what we didn’t know was that there were actually a trilogy of films being developed by Lucasfilm about Obi-Wan.
Writer Stuart Beattie recently talked with The Direct and revealed that piece of information. Beattie received a story credit for three episodes of the series (Parts 1, 2, and 6), and was credited as a writer on two of them (Parts 1 and 3), but he said that he didn’t actually work on the series at all. Instead, that story we saw played out in the series was based on the film that he wrote.
“Right, so not at all, none,” he said about his involvement with the show. “I wrote the film that they based the show on. So, yeah. I spent like a year, year-and-a-half working on it. And then, when the decision was made not to make any more spin-off films after Solo came out, I left the project and went on to other things. Joby [Harold] came on and took my scripts and turned it from two hours into six. So, I did not work with them at all, I just got credit for the episodes because it was all my stuff.”
Beattie said that everyone at Lucasfilm was on board with doing three films, including Ewan McGregor, and he explained some of his thinking behind pitching three different stories. He said that the idea behind the first – which is, loosely, the story we saw – was about Obi-Wan learning to surrender to the will of the Force. The story of the second, he said, was about Obi-Wan coming to grips with his own mortality, getting him to the point where he’s ready to surrender his life in A New Hope for the greater good. He didn’t get into details about what the third story was, but he did say that he didn’t write anything beyond the first film, as he was concerned about getting it off the ground first.
Importantly, this trilogy of films was going to be loosely connected in the sense that each one was going to feel like standalone films, but each continuing the journey of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
This is extremely interesting information, for a number of reasons. First, it confirms that the story we saw play out was based on one of the earlier iterations of the story that was written back when it was still planned as a film. We don’t know how similar they were, only that they were similar enough for Beattie to get credited despite never working on the series. I’m glad that Lucasfilm stuck with it, as I loved the story that they told and thought some of the decisions they made were brilliant, and so it sounds like Beattie deserves a lot of credit for that.
But it’s also interesting to know that we’ve only seen the first of three planned installments. There’s plenty of talk about another season and whether it should or will happen, but to me this seems to open that door up to more possibilities – because we now know that there was originally a plan for it to be more. While three films would comprise around six or seven hours, close to what this one season of the series gave us, it sounds like there’s plenty of ideas for more that have been thrown out. If another season is to happen, I really like the idea of doing it as a loosely connected one, not directly following the events of this series but continuing the progression of the character.
This also continues to highlight just how much Solo’s box office performance impacted things, and that’s disappointing. But nonetheless the pivot to streaming has been a welcome one, giving us the chance to explore plenty of things we might not otherwise have seen. Kenobi would have worked either way, but some of these other shows might not have gotten off the ground. I’m glad Kenobi did, and this has me curious as to what other stories Lucasfilm might have up their sleeve to still tell with the character.