So, it’s looking like an Obi-Wan Disney+ series is probably happening. Against all odds, Disney may have finally gotten the memo that literally everyone and their dog wants to see Ewan McGregor reprise his iconic role, and it’s gotten the Star Wars community in a frenzy. I, for one, have wanted to see an Obi-Wan film since the very moment that Disney announced their anthology film strategy, and countless other fans feel the same way.
While the news isn’t 100% confirmed, several reliable sources have reported on it, and at this point, it’s looking likely enough to where it’s not completely futile to speculate about the show, so here we are. There are plenty of things that an Obi-Wan show could do right, and a whole lot more that it could do wrong. While you’re free to disagree (and comment if you do!), here are some things that I’d love to see (or not see) in an Obi-Wan miniseries.
10 – Keep it Short
“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
Consider the quote above, made famous by Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. He may not have been referring to TV shows, but he may as well have been. Length is the mortal enemy of every TV show, and many incredible stories have been soured because they were stretched far beyond their natural and organic ending point.
For a series about Obi-Wan’s desert isolation, this would be a tragedy. The truth is that there’s not much of a story to be told here; there’s certainly enough for a movie or a mini-series, but stretching it into multiple seasons would feel a little too close to “butter stretched over too much bread” as Bilbo so lovingly put it in The Fellowship of the Ring. Bilbo himself suffered this fate when The Hobbit was perplexingly made into three movies, and we’d hate to see the same fate for our favorite Star Wars character.
Fortunately, the word on the street is that the show is, in fact, a mini-series. If what they’ve told us is true, Disney will have gained my trust.
9 – Make it a Samurai Film, Not a Western
I’ve seen it countless times online: “The Obi-Wan show should be like a western.” Well, I’m going to take a moment and disagree. Sort of. Instead of modeling the Obi-Wan show like a classic western, why not instead look to classic samurai films for inspiration? There is a precedent for this in Star Wars. The original film (and the Jedi Order in general) was largely inspired by classic samurai films.
One of Lucas’s biggest role models was Akira Kurosawa, a famous Japanese director in the 50s – 80s. He made many classic samurai films which were basically the Japanese equivalent to westerns, often focusing on lone swordsmen coping with the gradual decline of their way of life. The heroes of samurai movies were often more preoccupied with hiding their abilities rather than displaying them in open combat — sounds suspiciously similar to a robed, sword-wielding desert dweller that we all know and love.
I realize I’m being a bit pedantic, since samurai movies are, as I said, basically the Japanese version of westerns. However, there are slight differences, and an Obi-Wan show would benefit from referencing Kurosawa’s filmography, just as the original Star Wars movies did. We already have a Star Wars western in the making with The Mandalorian — let’s do something different and make Obi-Wan’s tale a samurai story instead.
8 – Give Us Some Qui-Gon Jinn
The prequel trilogy gets a pretty bad rap from most audiences, but there were a few bright spots. Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi is by far one of the most celebrated aspects of the prequels, but Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn isn’t far behind. If his character had survived past The Phantom Menace, he would undoubtedly be one of the most redeeming aspects of the trilogy.
Fortunately, the Obi-Wan show presents a very organic opportunity to bring him back. In the Star Wars canon, Qui-Gon Jinn was the first major character to learn how to become a Force Ghost, an ability which Obi-Wan himself would eventually learn. Yoda mentioned in Revenge of the Sith that Qui-Gonn had learned this ability, and that he had “training” for Obi-Wan. In fact, Qui-Gon was originally meant to appear in the film, but his scenes ended up being scrapped.
It’s a no-brainer, then, to include him in the new series. Whether he’s achieved full Force Ghost glory or he simply appears as a disembodied voice, it could provide some truly poignant moments for Obi-Wan, and give him a rare opportunity to interact with someone from his past. And, who could ever object to seeing more Liam Neeson?
7 – A Tiny Vader Cameo
Yes, Darth Vader needs to be in the new show. No, he shouldn’t have a big part. In fact, I propose that he should only appear for a single, brief moment offscreen — in a moment of discovery where Obi-Wan learns that his former student survived the flames of Mustafar.
This actually happened in the now de-canonized Legends. In the novel Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, there’s a moment where Obi-Wan learns about the existence of Darth Vader from the Holonet (basically the Star Wars version of TV). He realizes instantly that Vader is his former student Anakin Skywalker, and the epiphany essentially causes an emotional breakdown.
At once, Obi-Wan needs to reckon with two facts: that Anakin has survived to become a mechanical Sith Lord, and that his son Luke is hidden under his nose right where he grew up. Whether this moment is adapted directly or slightly differently, it’s a heartbreaking scene we absolutely need to see. I don’t want to see Vader show up in the main story, but seeing a brief glimpse of him on the Holonet would be enough to provide a powerful moment — perhaps the one that sets the entire narrative of the mini-series into play.
6 – Interactions With the Lars Homestead
While I’m in favor of keeping any extraneous characters out of the show (more on that later), there are a few familiar characters with whom Obi-Wan absolutely should interact, and Uncle Owen is one of them. Owen alludes to his relationship with Obi-Wan in A New Hope, suggesting that he’s just a “crazy old man.” The Lars residence is clearly jaded with the old Jedi, and it would be interesting to see how they reached that point.
This isn’t a new concept; in the comic Star Wars #15, we get a brief glimpse of Obi-Wan’s interactions with Uncle Owen. We see that Obi-Wan has been protecting the Lars homestead from Jawas and Tusken Raiders. Owen suggests that his efforts to protect the family, while well-intentioned, will ultimately backfire by making their homestead more noticed, essentially painting a target on their backs. It’s a well-written conversation that makes you feel sympathetic for both Obi-Wan and Owen.
Obviously, there is plenty of more room for this in the show — bonus points if they bring back Joel Edgerton to play Uncle Owen! Aunt Beru, of course, is also welcome, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a little Luke as long as they don’t overdo it.
5 – Keep it on Tatooine
It’s not entirely unthinkable to assume that Obi-Wan may have left the planet at some point or another before he fully accepted his exile. But if he did, I don’t really want to see it. Given Ewan McGregor’s age, this mini-series would most likely play out during the middle of his time on Tatooine, and at this stage, it can be assumed that he’s pretty settled in. I’d like to see the entirety of the series set on Tatooine, following Obi-Wan in the present, with the only exception possibly being flashbacks.
As an added bonus, Tatooine doesn’t have any out-of-this-world alien landscapes, making it easier to shoot on location instead of relying on CGI. Tatooine lends itself well to real sets, location shooting, and practical effects. These not only preserve the look and feel of OG Star Wars, but it also helps the filmmakers make the most out of their budget.
4 – Well-Placed Flashbacks
As I mentioned above, I would want the overwhelming majority of this show to be in the present, focused on Obi-Wan’s Tatooine exile. However, that doesn’t mean that flashbacks aren’t out of the question, provided they’re handled well and used sparingly.
Some well-written flashbacks could be cool for several reasons. If handled tactfully, they could contrast sharply with his bleak situation on Tatooine, which could effectively help to communicate his mental state. It also gives us the chance to see Obi-Wan interacting with familiar Star Wars characters (and by extension, actors) in an organic way. I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t love to see Hayden reprise his role as Anakin in some new content.
Logistically, flashbacks also provide some noteworthy opportunities for Disney; it would be a clever way to test the waters with prequel content. By having brief scenes set during the Clone Wars, or among prequel-exclusive planets such as Coruscant and Naboo, Disney could ostensibly test audience reactions to seeing prequel stuff again. They avoided the prequels like the plague when they acquired Star Wars, but perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that an entire generation grew up on them, and that there might actually be some demand. Imagine that.
3 – Avoid Unnecessary Reunions
One problem that the Star Wars universe has always had is that in this galaxy with hundreds of trillions of people, the same folks keep running into each other. The entire point of Obi-Wan’s time on Tatooine is that almost nobody knows where he is. So, Disney, if you’re thinking of bringing in a bunch of familiar characters, can you just not? The galaxy is unfathomably huge, and a compelling story can be told about Obi-Wan without him bumping into a bunch of characters we already know.
Of course, there are organic opportunities. Uncle Owen, Aunt Beru, and even a young Luke are all shoe-ins, and Tatooine locals like Jabba the Hutt aren’t out of the question, though even there I think they should be careful. If we see a familiar bounty hunter or two, I won’t complain, but anything beyond that and it starts to get a little indulgent. Let’s keep R2 and 3PO out of it, capeesh? Let’s leave General Grievous dead, and let’s not force a Darth Vader encounter. BB-8 doesn’t need a Tatooine origin story, and the Emperor doesn’t need to take a summer vacation to Mos Eisley.
2 – Keep it Low-Stakes
We already know that Obi-Wan didn’t do a whole lot of galaxy-defining, noteworthy things during his Tatooine sojourn. It follows, then, that a story set during this period should be more of a character study and less of an epic adventure. Low stakes don’t make a story less meaningful; in fact, they’re often easier for audiences to relate to, making the story feel more realistic and allowing the average person to connect to it better. Kenobi’s stakes should be personal, and the story shouldn’t deal with any monumental events that would reach any ears outside of Tatooine.
So please, let’s leave the Empire out of this, yeah? We don’t need any Sith Inquisitors discovering the forbidden knowledge of Obi-Wan’s and Luke’s existence. We don’t need any planets under threat of destruction, and we don’t need Obi-Wan to save the world. This show should tell a more personal story, a la Logan — a story that focuses on characters more than events.
1 – Keep Maul Out Of It
This one was difficult for me to write, because, honestly, I love what they’ve done with Darth Maul in the current canon. I thought I’d hate it, but I loved what they did with him in The Clone Wars, I enjoyed his arc in Rebels, and I was legitimately excited when he was teased in Solo, until Disney’s anthology sequels were ultimately scrapped. So yeah, from a sheer fanservice standpoint, I would love to see Maul square off against Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan.
But the more I think about it, the more it seems like it just wouldn’t work. First off, we have to address the elephant in the room — Obi-Wan and Maul’s arc has already been concluded in the current Disney canon. I won’t spoil the specifics, but it suffices to say that there’s an episode in Rebels which pretty much closes up their story for good.
So, in order to bring back Maul, they would either have to retcon one of their existing shows (which establishes a messy precedence for the future), or recreate the scene completely. The latter isn’t completely unfeasible, but it would require Maul to be a central part of the show’s plot in order to get there. And if that were the case, I feel like it could become just a little too convoluted. In theory, Maul vs. Obi-Wan could work if it was done extremely well, but in this writer’s opinion, leaning too hard into that could easily compromise the show.
Do you have strong thoughts on what an Obi-Wan show should look like? Do you think these ideas are totally nuts? We’d love to hear your opinion! Let us know your ideas in the comments and let’s get a discussion going!