Last week, troubling rumors began swirling about the upcoming Disney+ series revolving around the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ewan McGregor is poised to reprise his role from the Star Wars prequels in a story set eight years after the events of Revenge of the Sith. Screenwriter Hossein Amini (Drive) and director Deborah Chow (The Mandalorian) were tapped to spearhead the series, and production was on pace to begin this year. These rumors hinted at potential trouble behind the scenes, and while we’re hearing the show isn’t cancelled, we are hearing that it’s been delayed.
Two independent sources with knowledge of the situation tell Collider that the Obi-Wan series has been put on hold, as the crew that had assembled at Pinewood Studios in London was sent home. A time frame was not given, but the crew was told that the show would be down “indefinitely.”
We’re hearing that Lucasfilm president and Obi-Wan producer Kathleen Kennedy was not happy with the scripts. Sources tell us that what will most likely happen next is the scripts will be reworked with the hopeful goal of reassembling this summer, but there’s always the possibility that that time frame could shift.
It sounds like Kennedy would rather ensure that the story being told with this Disney+ series is as good as it can be on the page before they roll cameras, and rather than move forward with hesitations, she’s asked that they go back and rework what’s on the page. This makes a lot of sense, as Lucasfilm has a history with troubled productions recently. Rogue One was rewritten and reworked during filming, with Tony Gilroy spearheading re-shoots that spanned most of the third act, and Solo: A Star Wars Story directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller notably exited that film in the middle of production, with Ron Howard coming in to take over.
This Obi-Wan delay also comes on the heels of a chilly reception for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the third and final film in Lucasfilm’s new sequel trilogy. Not only has the concluding chapter in the Star Wars trilogy earned the worst critical reception of any Star Wars movie thus far, it’s on pace to be the lowest grossing film in this new trilogy (although to be fair, it’s still crossing $1 billion at the box office).
The Obi-Wan series actually began its life as a feature film, which Stephen Daldry (The Reader) was on tap to direct. But after some development, Lucasfilm decided instead to expand and adapt that planned story into a TV series for the Disney+ streaming service.
Lucasfilm is being tight-lipped with regards to its future film plans beyond a Kevin Feige-produced feature, a new trilogy from Rian Johnson that’s still in development, and maybe a Taika Waititi Star Wars movie. But production is already underway on Season 2 of the hit Disney+ series The Mandalorian. The second season of the well-received live-action show is due to be released later this year, once again under the tutelage of Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. And indeed Obi-Wan director Deborah Chow not doubt landed that plum gig after showcasing her talents helming the standout third and seventh episodes of The Mandalorian Season 1.
There’s a lot of great potential in this Obi-Wan series, and while it’s not great news that there’s been a delay, it likely comes as a relief that Kennedy and Co. are taking their time to get this particular series right.
UPDATE: THR, confirming the report, also notes that Lucasfilm is looking for a new writer to replace Amini and planning to scale the series back from six episodes to four. According to one source, the “Kenobi story treaded similar ground as Mandalorian, seeing the Jedi master lending a protective hand to a young Luke and perhaps even a young Leia.”
Steven Weintraub contributed to this report.