While fans are extremely eager to finally see Ewan McGregor reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the upcoming Disney+ series, the actor’s Star Wars return wasn’t always planned for the small screen. Back in 2017, fresh off the successful launch of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the first-ever Star Wars spinoff Rogue One (which grossed over $1 billion), word broke that Lucasfilm was developing an Obi-Wan movie starring McGregor, with Billy Elliot and The Hours director Stephen Daldry in negotiations to take the helm.
Subsequently, word was quiet on that film front as Lucasfilm kept its future plans pretty secret, but we now know they were bullish on Star Wars as a whole, aiming to release one new movie a year. Then Solo: A Star Wars Story happened. Releasing just five months after The Last Jedi, the prequel Solo not only suffered very public behind-the-scenes turmoil but pretty much crashed and burned at the box office. At $392.9 million worldwide, it’s the lowest grossing Star Wars movie yet, by a lot.
In June 2018, a month after Solo’s release, we exclusively reported that Lucasfilm was putting all of its spinoffs on hold—including Obi-Wan—to reassess their plans going forward. Then this past August, Lucasfilm announced plans for a six-episode Obi-Wan Disney+ series, with Daldry no longer at the helm but with McGregor confirmed to return. Curious…
Speaking with ComingSoon, McGregor confirmed that Obi-Wan did indeed begin its life as a planned movie, but feels everything worked out for the best in the end:
“It wasn’t always going to be a series, not initially. When we first started talking about [it] that wasn’t really in the cards, but everything’s changed so much, so quickly. It’s really exciting that it is now. I’m really into the idea to be able to tell the story over several hours instead of just one hit. I think it’s going to be quite cool.”
It’s unclear if the Obi-Wan series will be the same storyline that was planned for the movie, but I would certainly be interested to hear how this thing morphed and evolved behind the scenes. Daldry is no longer at the helm, as Deborah Chow (The Mandalorian) was recently revealed to be directing the TV series.
Production on Obi-Wan doesn’t begin until Summer 2020, but we recently learned that the show will take place eight years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, bridging the gap between the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy.