How 'Obi-Wan' Series Could Unite the 'Star Wars' Trilogies

Ewan McGregor of 'Untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi Series' - onstage at D23 - Getty -H 2019
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Will the Ewan McGregor Disney+ show be the thread that connects past, present and future?

Obi-Wan Kenobi is coming back, news that made fans rejoice when it was confirmed Friday at D23. But could Ewan McGregor's return as the Jedi knight be even more significant to the larger Star Wars mythos than it seems? According to the official Star Wars timeline revealed at D23, the new Disney+ series will take place after Revenge of the Sith (2005), during Solo (2018) and just before A New Hope (1977), which has potential ramifications for the future of the ever-growing franchise.

The Rise of Skywalker sizzle reel released at D23 reiterated the importance of connecting the three trilogies by using footage from George Lucas' original trilogy, as well as his prequel films. Though Rise of Skywalker, which opens Dec. 20, will be hitting screens first, the Obi-Wan series has the opportunity to firmly cement the three eras of the franchise as one, with Obi-Wan as a throughline. Viewers first met Ben Kenobi as a hermit living on the desert planet of Tatooine, hiding from his former life as a Jedi. The reluctant hero took on Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) as a Padawan after Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) asked him for help saving her from the Empire. Played by Alec Guinness — in a role that would garner him an Oscar nomination — the wise Jedi soon became a fan favorite and core part of the Star Wars franchise.

When Lucas returned to the franchise with the prequels, Ewan McGregor took on the role of Obi-Wan, and fans got to know the man behind the hood. The young idealistic hero wanted nothing more than to find the Chosen One who could bring balance to the Force. In reality, his journey was far more complex as he lost his mentor Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and tried to save a boy who would ultimately turn to the Dark Side. As his past in the Star Wars films showcases, Obi-Wan has already played a major part in two eras of the trilogy. McGregor even had a small part in the new franchise in The Force Awakens, with his voice whispering "Rey" when the young scavenger finds Luke's lightsaber in the basement of Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o) Cantina.

The Star Wars comics and animated series' Rebels have revealed a little of what Obi-Wan was doing in the period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. During the 2017 Star Wars series written by Jason Aaron, readers got a glimpse at Obi-Wan's diaries that teased his life as a desert-dwelling ronin of sorts, wandering the sand dunes and helping where he could without revealing his roots as a Jedi.

This seems like a potential premise for a show, but there could be ways for it to work with a popular Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker theory, which states that the film will focus on hunting down Sith/Jedi artifacts. Could Obi-Wan have spent his time after the execution of Order 66 (which saw the eradication of the Jedi) trying to secure these vital artifacts?

The Obi-Wan series also has the potential to answer other questions raised in the new set of films. How did Maz ended up with Luke's lightsaber? Was Palpatine active in between the trilogies? And as the show crosses over with the Solo timeline, could we learn more about the origins of Enfys Nest and her role in building the Rebellion? Will it include Obi-Wan's nemesis, Darth Maul?

No date has yet been set for the Obi-Wan series, but as McGregor told the crowd at D23, after years of vague comments from him, it feels good to be talking about it in the opening.