Obi-Wan Kenobi Series on Hold as Calls Go Out for New Scripts
Disney+ and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars series centered on Obi-Wan Kenobi has been put on hold as the companies attempt a retooling, multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. The effort, in which Ewan McGregor is set to reprise his role of the famed Jedi Knight, was in the throes of preproduction.
The project had Hossein Amini writing and a director in Deborah Chow, who became the first-ever female Star Wars director thanks to her work on Disney+’s buzzy series The Mandalorian. Sources say that the show was even screen-testing actors opposite McGregor.
Sources tell THR that the scripts — only two were written — and story became an issue and that the entire package has been jettisoned. Lucasfilm is now on the hunt for a new writer to pen the series. At the same time, sources say the project is being reconfigured from six episodes to four.
It is unclear when the show will ramp up again, although insiders stress that McGregor remains attached to star and Chow remains on as director. Disney had no comment.
The development follows social media rumors a week ago that the series was cancelled. Those posts proved premature, but did expose the project was facing problems.
It is unclear why scripts became an issue so late in the process. One source said the Kenobi story trod similar ground as The Mandalorian, seeing the Jedi master lending a protective hand to a young Luke and possible even a young Leia, perhaps mirroring how the Mandalorian took Baby Yoda under his protective custody.
Disney had never unveiled an expected release date for the Obi-Wan series. Hours after the news broke, IGN caught McGregor at an event, and he told the outlet he did not expect the release of the series would be delayed, but noted filming would shift from this summer to January 2021.
"It’s just slid to next year, that’s all. The scripts were really good," McGregor said. "Now that Episode IX came out and everyone at Lucasfilm has got more time to spend on the writing, they felt they wanted more time to write the episodes."
Last August, McGregor surprised Star Wars fans by walking out onstage at D23 to confirm that he would be playing Kenobi once more. The actor had flirted for years with a return to the character after last playing the role in 2005's Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
In 2017, THR broke the news that Disney and Lucasfilm was developing a spinoff film to be directed by Oscar winner Stephen Daldry, but those plans were scrapped after the poor performance of another stand-alone, Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), which grossed $392 million worldwide.
The Obi-Wan news comes as Disney and Lucasfilm are at a crossroads with Star Wars. The franchise has been put on pause, at least in terms of the big screen, following December's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which concluded the nine-film saga that began in 1977 and was greeted with mixed reaction. Though the pic has earned $1.03 billion globally to date, it is on track to be the lowest-grossing of the sequel trilogy.
Star Wars has found acclaim with its first Disney+ series,The Mandalorian, which introduced a breakout character in Baby Yoda.
Collider first reported the news of the Obi-Wan series being on hold.
Jan. 23, 9:28 p.m. Updated with Ewan McGregor comments.
by Borys Kit, Aaron Couch
by Graeme McMillan
by Lesley Goldberg
by Stephen Dalton
by Frank Scheck