Disney is reportedly looking to flesh out another beloved legacy character from the Star Wars universe with a closer look at the one-and-only Obi-Wan Kenobi. But instead of a movie it seems we’ll be getting a limited series on the new Disney+ streaming service, with Ewan McGregor in talks to reprise his role as the younger version of the iconic Jedi Master Obi-Wan for a new, live-action series.
The movie focusing on Obi-Wan had long been rumored, but giving the character his own original series opens up an even wider range of possibilities for expanding his story — particularly in the time between the tragic events of Revenge of the Sith and the film that started it all, Episode IV: A New Hope. With a full series dedicated to Old Ben (or should we say middle-aged Ben?) Kenobi, here are some of the themes we’d love to see the new show explore.
We know the homeworld of both Anakin and Luke Skywalker was a desolate, desert planet in the Outer Rim, but even with multiple films partially set there, it feels like we’ve only scratched the gritty surface of life on Tatooine. Between the Jawa and Tusken Raiders that roam the planet to the exciting pod races held above the sand and the terrifying Sarlaccs that lurk below it, so much of the Star Wars saga’s mythology is tied to the planet in one way or another.
An Obi-Wan series would do well to show how the famous Jedi Master learned to survive in the harsh environment he exiled himself to after Revenge of the Sith. Watching him interact with the planet’s fantastic creatures and alien species while simultaneously evading the Galactic Empire’s notice, navigating the criminal network of Jabba the Hutt, and (eventually) guarding the son of his former apprentice could all be fascinating chapters to his history.
Speaking of the son of Obi-Wan’s apprentice, Star Wars fans know the elder Jedi exiled himself to Tatooine to watch over Luke Skywalker, but how did he go about doing so? By the time we see him in A New Hope, Obi-Wan has distanced himself from Luke and his guardians, Owen and Beru Lars, and ostensibly lives an outcast life in the desert. What was Luke’s life like during those years, and how did Obi-Wan keep an eye on him? Were assassins sent? Battles fought and won?
The Obi-Wan series could be an excellent opportunity to show us how the Jedi Master kept Luke safe from afar, protecting him while maintaining a distance that left Luke only aware of him as a “crazy old hermit.” In doing so, the show would also have to cast a young Luke, and explain why Owen and Beru don’t seem to have a very good opinion of Obi-Wan when the events of A New Hope unfold.
The powerful Sith Lord known as Darth Maul was famously (or perhaps infamously) shortchanged in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which saw him dispatched in a battle with Obi-Wan and his mentor, Qui-Gon Jinn. However, the character lived on to become one of Obi-Wan’s recurring foes in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels — two series that have been officially confirmed as part of the franchise’s continuity. Darth Maul also made a surprise appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story that seemingly (by way of his spider-legged appearance, at least) tied his Clone Wars and Rebels history to the live-action adventures.
All of this positions Darth Maul as an intriguing foil for an Obi-Wan series set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, which is expected (but not confirmed) to be the time period covered by the Disney+ show. Having Ray Park reprise the role of Darth Maul once again could serve as a great reminder why the Sith Lord has become such a popular character despite his relatively brief screen time in the live-action films.
Obi-Wan’s Jedi mentor, Qui-Gon Jinn, was killed in The Phantom Menace, but between that film and the events of A New Hope, we learn that some deceased Jedi Masters have developed the ability to continue offering advice long after death. Obi-Wan speaks to Luke in A New Hope, and later, Obi-Wan appears with Yoda and Anakin as “Force Ghosts” in the final moments of Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. A deleted scene from Revenge of the Sith suggests that Qui-Gon was the first Jedi to master this ability, and a similar scene was later included in The Clone Wars (see below) indicating that Qui-Gon taught this ability to both Yoda and Obi-Wan in the years that followed.
Everything is better with Liam Neeson, so an Obi-Wan series that manages to bring Neeson back as Qui-Gon for even a cameo will be better for doing so. Even if he’s just a Force Ghost, Qui-Gon teaching Obi-Wan how to be the mentor Luke needs — and how he went wrong with Anakin — could add quite a bit of depth to the saga’s mythology (especially if Neeson gets some better dialogue this time around). It could also tie up some of the loose ends in the saga created by the Jedi characters’ spectral presence in the original trilogy and absence in the prequels.
Despite the in-canon status of the popular animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, there haven’t been many characters introduced in those shows that made the leap to live-action projects. (Saw Gerrera, who debuted in The Clone Wars and was later portrayed by Forest Whitaker in Rogue One, is one of the most prominent to make that transition.)
That could change in an Obi-Wan series, which offers the opportunity to bring in some of the colorful characters from both shows in a live-action setting. After all, with so much happening on and around Tatooine, some of those characters are bound to cross Obi-Wan’s path again. A continuation of The Clone Wars is already planned for Disney+, and introducing live-action versions of Clone Wars or Rebels characters, even for just a single episode, could build more synergy between the animated and live-action portions of the Star Wars saga.
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