We have our first glimpse of concept art for Obi-Wan Kenobi, the six-episode series coming to Disney+ next year, as well as a behind-the-scenes sizzle reel featuring star Ewan MacGregor and director Deborah Chow. There’s no actual footage, but fans are buzzing about the concept art showcasing Obi-Wan and none other than Darth Vader, lightsabers locked in battle. The sizzle reel briefly leaked online yesterday before being pulled. It was unveiled during the streaming platform’s Disney+ Day. (You can check it out on Twitter here.)
We first learned in August 2019 that the rumors were true about a Star Wars spinoff series featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi, with McGregor reprising his role as the iconic character. The actor himself made a surprise appearance at the tail end of a showcase presentation at D23 Expo 2019, Disney’s annual fan extravaganza. Then came the big news that Hayden Christensen was reprising his role as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy called it “the rematch of the century” at the December 2020 Disney Investors Day.
“There’s hunger for this character to come back,” MacGregor said in the sizzle reel. “The fans have been waiting long enough, you know?”
Yes, we do know. Back in 2016, the Hollywood Reporter conducted a poll asking fans which Star Wars character they’d most like to see feature in a spinoff film. Obi-Wan Kenobi was the overwhelming winner, yet for some reason, the studio opted to first make Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) instead. That film wasn’t quite the stinker many made it out to be, but it bombed at the box office. So Disney canceled plans for a Kenobi-centered feature film and reworked the concept into a limited series for its nascent streaming platform.
Preproduction for the series started in January 2020, but then it was put on hold—partly due to the pandemic but also because Kennedy was reportedly unhappy with the script, which showed too many similarities with The Mandalorian‘s premise. Disney tapped Joby Harold to take on the rewrites. Shooting reportedly wrapped in September.
Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse are reprising their roles as Owen Lars and his wife Beru, who took on the task of raising the young Luke Skywalker on Tatooine. The cast also includes Moses Ingram, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell, Maya Erskine, and Benny Safdie in undisclosed roles.
The series will be set 10 years after Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith—you know, the film where Obi-Wan faced off against Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side and eventually became Sith Lord Darth Vader. Fans have long wondered exactly what happened to our favorite Jedi in the ensuing years before he returned in A New Hope. According to Chow (who directed several episodes of The Mandalorian), that period is going to be “a dark time” for Obi-Wan, who must deal with the loss of all his friends.
Chow said that Obi-Wan and other Jedi who survived Order 66 are being hunted down by the Empire’s Jedi Hunters in the company of Stormtroopers. (There have been unconfirmed rumors that Kang will be playing an Inquisitor.) Obi-Wan is on Tatooine with a mission to protect young Luke Skywalker, at least as the series opens, although the concept art hints at other settings familiar to the Star Wars fanbase, most notably Coruscant. So Obi-Wan’s journey is likely to take him away from that initial mission at some point.
There’s also a tantalizingly brief shot of a masked Christensen training with a lightsaber prop and concept art featuring Vader in what appears to be his castle on Mustafar. “We couldn’t tell the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi without addressing Anakin or Vader,” Chow said.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is slated for a 2022 release on Disney+.
In other Star Wars news, Disney unveiled a brief teaser for a documentary special, debuting today on Disney+, exploring the legacy of Boba Fett. It comes in advance of the upcoming premiere of The Book of Boba Fett. That series stars Temuera Morrison (Attack of the Clones, Aquaman) as the titular bounty hunter and Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as the mercenary and assassin Fennec Shand who works for him. Disney released the official trailer on November 1, giving us our first look at what we can expect from this latest project from showrunner Jon Favreau.