How Obi-Wan Series Can Borrow From 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars'

Ewan McGregor-Star Wars revenge of the sith-Photofest still-H 2019
Lucasfilm Ltd./Photofest
The Disney+ show is looking for new scripts, and the answer might lie in animation.

The upcoming Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi series has had quite the development process. A project that was originally conceived as a film and later turned into a streaming series, Obi-Wan was recently put on pause with Lucasfilm seeking new scripts. While director Deborah Chow remains attached and Ewan McGregor is still set to reprise his role as the Jedi knight, the story around him will be getting revamped following the departure of writer Hossein Amini. As The Hollywood Reporter reported Jan. 23, one concern with the Obi-Wan scripts was that it treaded territory too similar to The Mandalorian, which centers on a bounty hunter watching over Baby Yoda (in this case, it would be Obi-Wan watching over a young Luke Skywalker). 

With a gap of 19 years to play with between Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness' portrayals, Lucasfilm could potentially go a lot of places, and it already has plenty to pull from. While there are many canonical comics that fill in the gaps of Obi-Wan's years between Episode III and Episode IV, it is the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars that could be the smartest reference point.

The Clone Wars, which returns for a seventh season next month on Disney+, touched on many aspects of Star Wars lore unexplored in live-action. Perhaps the most memorable was Yoda's trial to become a Force Ghost. Following up on the end of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, where Yoda instructs Obi-Wan to train with the ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn, there were a series of episodes in The Clone Wars — “Voices,” “Destiny” and “Sacrifice” — that explored Yoda's journey to becoming one with the netherworld of the Force. Beings known as Force Priestesses gave Yoda a series of tests, which included fighting his greatest fears, eliminating his own hubris and understanding both the living and cosmic Force.

While audiences saw Obi-Wan himself become a Force ghost in the original Star Wars trilogy, how he obtained this power has not fully been explored, and could be an intriguing hook for the Obi-Wan show.

In these Force ghost trials, Obi-Wan would face his greatest fears and deepest regrets. Unlike Yoda, who is considered one of the purest in the Galaxy, Obi-Wan carries with him more trauma. In Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, he was forced to watch his mentor Qui-Gon Jinn die at the hands of Darth Maul. In The Clone Wars, audiences saw the sacrifices he made to stay a Jedi through his love for Duchess Satine of Mandalore. He expressed how she was the only person he would have left the Jedi order for and in the "Seige of Mandalore" arc, Darth Maul kills Duchess Satine in front of the Jedi knight in an act of revenge. The character of Satine could get the live-action treatment if Obi-Wan is forced to relive this moment or suffer his regret for not confessing his love for her.

There are other tribulations Obi-Wan could face on his path to becoming a Force ghost. In Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan Kenobi watched his entire life crumble before his eyes. His apprentice Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, the entire Jedi order collapsed and the Empire was born. One of Obi-Wan's guilts is the fall of his apprentice. The Obi-Wan series could use these trials to bring Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker face to face again, potentially even bringing Anakin Skywalker actor Hayden Christensen back in a nightmarish moment for the Jedi master.

The obvious character who fans would like to see return is Darth Maul. In Star Wars Rebels, which takes place five years before the events A New Hope, Obi-Wan faces Darth Maul one last time, where the Sith mocks what has become of the Jedi knight after losing everything mattered to him. Obi-Wan simply answers back with "Look at what I've risen above.” The Obi-Wan series could potentially retread this moment and further explore the relationship between Kenobi and Maul.

Darth Maul is a fan-favorite character that still has enough juice and potential to appear once again in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series. The two have battled multiple times across film and animation. After initially dueling Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Maul killed Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan ultimately defeated the Sith apprentice by slicing him in half. The two would meet again in Star Wars: The Clone Wars where the conflict between them would grow even more as Maul becomes crazed and fixated on killing Obi-Wan and all who loved him. 

In Solo: A Star Wars Story, Maul was still an active threat even after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the SithSolo could even be a gateway to new stories for the Obi-Wan series. Unexplored plot threads saved for future films in the spinoff franchise are now open for Obi-Wan Kenobi to tackle, as Solo failed at the box office and killed hope for a franchise. The Crimson Dawn crime syndicate, led by Darth Maul, would make for a powerful threat for Obi-Wan to face over the course of the series. Kenobi ultimately kills Darth Maul with one clean strike in Star Wars Rebels, but there is ample room for the two mortal enemies to meet at least once more in the Kenobi series.

The Obi-Wan Kenobi series should a capstone to the prequel era of Star Wars. While a short series focusing on Obi-Wan looking after Luke would have been interesting to see, perhaps Lucasfilm was right to move to a fresher direction.