“Obi-Wan. Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time…” Disney’s got a whole lot of Star Wars shows planned for its Disney Plus streaming service — The Mandalorian will be available at launch in November, the seventh season of The Clone Wars will follow next February, with a Rogue One prequel series coming later.
However, the most exciting new show is still to come. An untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi show will see Ewan McGregor returning to the role of the venerable Jedi master he played in the Star Wars prequels.
Disney and Lucasfilm announced the show — which will start shooting next year — during its biannual D23 convention in August. Here are all the details we know so far.
When is it out?
The show will start shooting in 2020, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy revealed during D23. As a result, the release date is likely to be sometime in 2021.
We don’t know how many episodes we’re getting, but it’ll most likely be eight to ten, based on what we know about other Star Wars and Marvel shows coming to Disney Plus. The company has already revealed that new episodes of its show will arrive weekly, unlike Netflix’s full-season drop approach.
When it is set?
It’ll take place eight years after Revenge of the Sith and 11 years before A New Hope.
Who’s Obi-Wan Kenobi?
If you really don’t know, you really should watch a few Star Wars movies. The quick version: Obi-Wan Kenobi is a Jedi Master who first appeared on screen in 1977’s A New Hope, played by the late Alec Guinness. This movie saw him helping young Luke Skywalker take his first steps into the larger world of the Force. Later in that movie, he was struck down by his former apprentice Darth Vader, who was ultimately revealed to be Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father and a Jedi turned to the dark side.
Despite his death, Obi-Wan returned as a spirit (a Force ghost in Star Wars speak) to guide Luke in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
The prequel trilogy, which kicked off with The Phantom Menace in 1999, brought McGregor in as a younger Obi-Wan and introduced us to his master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). Qui-Gon discovered Anakin on the desert planet Tatooine, but was slain by Darth Maul and the responsibility of training the boy fell to Obi-Wan.
Anakin fell to the dark side in Revenge of the Sith and helped Emperor Palpatine wipe out the Jedi as they established the Galactic Empire. Obi-Wan survived and fled to Tatooine with Luke, the son Anakin didn’t know he had, while Luke’s twin sister Leia went to live with the royal family of Alderaan.
Cast: Who’s in it?
The only confirmed casting is McGregor as Obi-Wan, but there are a number of actors who’ll almost certainly show up — one of which we got a hint about at the end of Revenge of the Sith.
“In your solitude on Tatooine, training I have for you. An old friend has learned the path to immortality — one who has returned from the netherworld on the Force. Your old master,” said Yoda as he and Obi-Wan go into exile. “How to commune with him, I will teach you.”
Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn died in The Phantom Menace, but Neeson returned to the role in The Clone Wars. He was the first Jedi ever to become a Force ghost and guide his allies in the material realm. By the time of the Original Trilogy, Obi-Wan has learned this skill. Clearly Qui-Gon was the one who taught him, and we’ll presumably see this in the show.
We’re also likely to see Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse return as Owen and Beru Lars — better known as Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. At this point in the timeline, this pair are raising Luke far away from now-evil dad Darth Vader. Presumably, we’ll see someone new playing the 8-year-old Luke.
Expect Jabba the Hutt and his goons, as well as some of the scum and villainy glimpsed in the Mos Eisley Cantina, to show up as well.
What do we know about the plot?
Right now, all we can really say is that Obi-Wan — known to the locals as Ben Kenobi — will commune from Qui-Gon’s spirit while in exile on Tatooine, and he’ll watch over Luke from a distance. Don’t think too hard about the fact that Vader failed to look for his son on his home planet, that the Galactic Empire didn’t notice a young man with the name Skywalker or that Obi-Wan’s alias is pretty darn similar to his own name.
We’ve had a few canon glimpses of this period. In Marvel’s main Star Wars comic series, Luke finds Obi-Wan’s journals following the Jedi’s death in A New Hope. These recount a few of his adventures on Tatooine, like saving Luke from Jabba’s goons, protecting Jawas from Tusken Raiders and rescuing Owen from Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan.
Obi-Wan’s final battle Maul takes place during this time, around two years before A New Hope. We’ve already seen how that goes down in the CGI animated series Rebels, but it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that it’ll be recreated in live action.
If you’re eager to get a sense of this time period, John Jackson Miller’s 2013 novel Kenobi, is worth a read. It’s no longer canon, but reveals one of Obi-Wan’s adventures as he tries to blend in on Tatooine and is an excellent read.