Movies & TV

Obi-Wan Kenobi series delay won’t change premiere date, says Ewan McGregor

The eagerly anticipated Obi-Wan Kenobi series has hit rocky ground, with backers Disney+ and Lucasfilm at a very late stage ditching the only two scripts that have so far been written for the show, The Hollywood Reporter (THR) claimed on Thursday, January 23.

Citing “multiple sources” with knowledge of the matter, THR said the series, starring Ewan McGregor in a reprise of his Star Wars prequels role, has been “put on hold” as the companies search for a new writer to replace Hossein Amini, who previously penned the Ryan Gosling thriller Drive and also received an Oscar nomination for The Wings of the Dove.

In another sign that all is not well behind the scenes, it is claimed that the series has been cut from a planned six episodes to four.

When asked about the delay, McGregor told IGN that the hold isn’t expected to change the still-unannounced premiere date for the series, and couldn’t confirm any change in the number of episodes.

“It’s just slid to next year, that’s all,” said McGregor. “The scripts were really good. I think now that Episode IX came out and everyone at Lucasfilm’s got more time to spend on the writing, they felt like they wanted more time to spend on the writing. … Instead of shooting this August, they just want to start shooting in January, that’s all. Nothing more dramatic than that. It often happens in projects, they just wanted to push it to next year. It will have the same release date, I don’t think it will affect the release date. They’re still shooting towards having the film [show] release when it was going to be originally.”

Entertainment website Collider reported this week that its own sources claimed a crew that was prepping the Obi-Wan series shoot at Pinewood Studios in London had been sent home after being told that work on the show would be paused “indefinitely.”

Rumors began circulating on social media last week that the show had been canceled, but Thursday’s reports suggest the production has not been abandoned. The news is nevertheless still a big surprise as the Star Wars spinoff had been expected to begin shooting sometime this year.

It’s common for big-budget productions to experience some issues in the lead-up to shooting, and tweaks to the script can happen before, during, and even after the cameras roll. Ditching the scripts entirely, however, is less common. Collider’s source said it was Obi-Wan producer Kathleen Kennedy who had voiced concerns about the scripts, leading to the apparent decision to drop them.

With the hunt now on for a new writer, it’s impossible to say when work on the Obi-Wan series will restart. THR says its sources are adamant that McGregor and director Deborah Chow will remain attached to the project.

We’ve reached out to Disney+ and Lucasfilm for comment and will update this article when we hear back.

Updated on January 24, 2020: Added comments from Ewan McGregor on the delay and additional context.

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