Obi-Wan Kenobi is set to feature a rematch between two beloved Star Wars characters: the titular Jedi Master and Darth Vader. The upcoming Disney+ series will follow the story of Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan as he monitors Luke Skywalker from afar while hiding from Vader's Inquisitors who are trying to purge the remaining Jedi Knights of the galaxy. However, his under-the-radar status was confirmed to be halted (for a bit) due to the upcoming rematch between the two former friends.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy already teased that the fight would be the "rematch of the century," also revealing that it is an emotional yet powerful confrontation. Although several plot details about the fight have leaked in the past weeks, many would agree that the duel between the Master and his former Padawan is still highly anticipated.
Now, as marketing ramps up for Obi-Wan Kenobi, new behind-the-scenes details have been unveiled, highlighting the show's script problems and Vader's openly debated comeback.
Lucasfilm Opens Up About Obi-Wan Kenobi's Script Problems
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy sat down with Entertainment Weekly to talk about the behind-the-scenes development of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
During the interview, Kennedy first admitted that she became concerned with the direction of the show's scripts, openly saying that they were initially looking "to make a hopeful, uplifting story," but it's tricky due to the period of time when Obi-Wan Kenobi is set:
"We're looking, ultimately, to make a hopeful, uplifting story. And it's tricky when you're starting with a character in the state that Obi-Wan would be in coming off of Revenge of the Sith. That's a pretty bleak period of time. You can't just wave the magic wand with any writer and arrive at a story that necessarily reflects what you want to feel."
Due to Kennedy's hesitancy, the Lucasfilm boss temporarily shut down production in January 2020, pushing back its filming start date from August 2020 to January 2021. The studio also hired a new writer, Joby Harold, who took over from Hossein Amini, the original scribe of Kenobi's planned launch to the big screen.
Harold joined the conversation by revealing that Obi-Wan is a character "that's always been a minor obsession" of his. As a result, the Star Wars writer unveiled that he went on to "aggressively" deliver his idea for the series:
"This was a character that's always been a minor obsession of mine. And when I heard it was a character they were exploring, I very aggressively told them all the things I thought they should do."
Harold, along with Obi-Wan Kenobi director Deborah Chow, crafted a new storyline that takes place 10 years after Revenge of the Sith.
Ewan McGregor, who returns to the role after the prequel trilogy, shared more interesting tidbits about his Star Wars character. The actor described Obi-Wan as a "broken man" and someone who feels an "enormous amount of responsibility" for what happened to his friend, Anakin Skywalker, and the Jedi order:
"Obi-Wan is lost. He's a broken man after what happened with the Jedi order at the end of Episode III, but also what happened with Anakin; that he lost him to the dark side. He feels an enormous amount of responsibility for that, and guilt."
The six-episode series was said to focus on Obi-Wan's journey from pain to at least a semblance of peace.
Harold continued by revealing that his focus is to tell the story of how Obi-Wan transformed into a "very emotional" Jedi Master from the prequels to a "Zen Master" in Star Wars: A New Hope:
"When we last saw Obi-Wan in the prequels, he's very emotional. There's a passion to him. And when we get to see him again in A New Hope, he is the Zen master. That was the story that I wanted to understand — what had happened to Obi-Wan between the guy that Ewan had brought to life and the guy that Sir Alec Guinness brought to life."
When asked how much of the original plot from the initial film made it into the series, Chow shared that they "inherited some of it, but we did really make some significant changes and add a few different elements."
It was also revealed that an internal debate happened that mainly focused on bringing Hayden Christensen's Darth Vader out of retirement.
Kennedy shared that the debate about bringing back Vader in the series was "carried on for quite some time," admitting that the creative team had "strong opinions" about the matter:
"The debate around whether we should do that or not carried on for quite some time. Everybody within our creative team has strong opinions, and all of our fans have strong opinions. So when you realize that you're under that level of scrutiny, certainly a story point like that is going to be scrutinized at a very high level. We talked about it constantly."
The Long Road to Obi-Wan Kenobi's Series Debut
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy's latest reveal about the behind-the-scenes development of Obi-Wan Kenobi is an indication of how the studio is closely working with the creatives to craft the best possible story for the franchise.
Lucasfilm's goal of creating a "hopeful, uplifting story" seems to hint that this could be the endgame of the series, potentially teasing that Obi-Wan could successfully evade the whole might of Vader's forces.
Given that the galaxy is still experiencing the threat of the Empire during this time, Obi-Wan's heroics, which could be either seen or unseen by the galaxy, might serve as the launchpad for the underdogs to step up. As a result, this could slowly set up the events of Rogue One and A New Hope.
Obi-Wan's transformation into "Zen Master" in A New Hope is also an intriguing storyline for the series to dive into. Based on Joby Harold's remarks, it appears that part of the show's storyline will tell exactly how an emotional Jedi Master became a calm yet compelling individual by the time he encounters a teenage Luke Skywalker.
It's possible that Obi-Wan will eventually find out that Darth Vader is his former friend, Anakin Skywalker, in the series, and he could go all in to try and save him. However, the rematch might be the reason for his transformation, since he would likely realize that his friend was too far gone.
That said, Obi-Wan may go back to Tatooine and fully dedicate his life to protecting Luke without any more side missions. This might also explain why he is hesitant to share with the young Skywalker that his father is still alive and Darth Vader during A New Hope.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is set to premiere on Disney+ on May 25, 2022.