Ewan McGregor made his grand return to Star Wars with the Disney+ series, Obi-Wan Kenobi, bringing six episodes that told the story of the titular character during his time on Tatooine. Not only did the show fill in the blanks in Obi-Wan's narrative, but it also brought in legacy characters like Hayden Christensen's Darth Vader, Vivien Lyra Blair's take on Princess Leia Organa, and even Temuera Morrison as a 501st Legion Clone trooper.
New details have arisen about the show's production thanks to writer Stuart Beattie, who worked on the project when Obi-Wan Kenobi was being imagined as a feature film. Beattie revealed that not only was a film planned but that there were actually plans at Disney and Lucasfilm to make an entire trilogy centered around the Jedi Master, though those were scrapped after Solo’s performance at the box office.
Also uncovered were some of the changes that were made during the project's development. One notable difference was the fate of Reva, who was originally going to be killed by Darth Vader near the end of the story.
Beattie also talked about another major deviation from his script, and it had to do with the inclusion of Obi-Wan's right-hand man from Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Commander Cody.
Commander Cody’s Original Role in Obi-Wan Kenobi
In an exclusive interview with The Direct’s Nathan Johnson, Obi-Wan Kenobi writer Stuart Beattie revealed that Commander Cody initially played a big role in the draft for his Obi-Wan Kenobi film. Cody was rumored to appear in the project all the way through 2020, and it is possible that he was even in the early scripts even after the project's transition into a series.
When asked if there were any legacy characters from past Star Wars projects in his movie script, Beattie confirmed that there were, specifically noting that “Cody was the big one.” He went on to briefly describe what Cody’s first appearance was supposed to be:
“Yeah, yeah. Cody was the big one. I love the idea of Obi-Wan having a buddy on Tatooine. Like a secret buddy. So like the first time he goes into town, you see, Cody, and he’s following him through the streets and attacks him, takes him into an alley with a knife to his throat and says, ‘You’re dead.’ And then you realize, ‘Oh, no… Cody’s making a point.’ Like, ‘Come on. You got to be more careful.’”
Beattie also went on to talk about how he wanted to explore Cody’s character arc and show exactly how he transformed from where he was in Revenge of the Sith to Obi-Wan Kenobi, while also revealing that the character had his inhibitor chip removed.
In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it is revealed that all of the Clone troopers have inhibitor chips implanted into them, which is how Emperor Palpatine is able to initiate Order 66. Having this chip removed would have removed all external control from Cody and meant that he would not try to hunt Obi-Wan when seeing him, even though he is a Jedi.
“And you realize, ‘Oh, Cody has now morphed from someone who was trying to kill him when we last saw them to someone who is now devoting his life to protect him.’ Because by now he’s had the biochip taken out of his head, and now he realizes, ‘Oh my god, what I did was wrong.’ And he has driven by guilt, as much as Obi Wan is driven by guilt. So you got these two kind of old warriors bickering like this old married couple, bitching about, 'God, it was so much better when we had an army at our backs,' you know?’”
Just like in the Disney+ series, Obi-Wan had to leave Tatooine in Beattie’s script. The major difference is that Cody was ordered by Obi-Wan to watch over Luke while he was gone, whereas in the show, no one took over Obi-Wan's duties:
“And the idea of mine was that when Obi-Wan had to leave Tatooine, he left Cody in charge of Luke. And that gave us a fun little B-story to keep cutting away to. And yeah, he’s a really fun character and a guy racing against the clock obviously, because he’s aging twice as fast. He’s trying to atone for the worst thing he’s ever done in his life. So tragic in a way, but just fun… The way they bickered in my stuff, it was just, you know, put a smile on your face and, you know, (laughs) just arguing all the time.”
When asked why he thought Cody didn’t make the final cut in the Disney+ series, Beattie could speculate that it could have been to do with Temeura Morrison's availability. The writer added that he “felt Obi-Wan needed someone to talk to:"
“I don’t know. I don’t know. They just decided, I don’t know… maybe Temuera Morrison was busy on Boba Fett… It would have been obviously Temuera. Maybe they decided they didn’t need him either. I just felt Obi-Wan needed someone to talk to, someone who could tell him, you know, 'You’re in bad shape.'”
Beattie planned to use Cody to show how disconnected Obi-Wan was from the Force, even drawing inspiration from Superman II for a key climactic moment:
“Because that was the other big idea in mine was that… because Obi-Wan… was kind of forcing his will upon this child to be the greatest Jedi ever, and fix everything… he was disconnected completely from the Force. So, the idea of Superman 2, right? You take away Superman’s powers and now he’s a human. A mortal. And nobody knows he’s lost his powers except for him. And he’s terrified. And so he can’t sense when Cody’s hunting in the back alleys and he can’t Force push anyone. He can’t mind read anyone. He’s taken away all that stuff and it’s just a desperate guy and it allowed to have you know, that moment when he finally learns to surrender to the will of the Force. His powers come back and you get that great Superman 2 moment where he’s on his knees and starts crushing [Zod’s hand]… So it allowed us to have that big, fun, climactic moment… and it’s still in the show. I mean, Obi-Wan, and, you know, it’s kind of… there, kind of not there with his powers. But at the end, He is God."
The Obi-Wan Kenobi writer then went on to explain the importance of showing how the character ultimately surrendered to the will of the Force. He also stated that he thought it was “an interesting path to take Obi-Wan on:”
“And that was always the idea that, by the end, he found his way back to the Force and surrendered to the will of it, because that’s how you connect to it. I believe you’ve got to make things happen in your life, but at the same time, you can’t force your will upon the will of the universe. You’ve got to surrender to the will of the universe while still pursuing what you want to do. So it’s a tricky balance. I just thought that was an interesting path to send Obi-Wan on."
When asked if there were any particular scenes from his movie script that he wished could have made it into the Disney+ series, Beattie stated that there was "a fun one" that included Obi-Wan and Cody visiting "the local Sarlacc" so that they "could get rid of" some dead Stormtroopers:
"The fun one that I missed the most was actually a scene back on Tatooine with Cody. My Cody was so fun. Cody was with Owen and there were some bounty hunters that had discovered Obi-Wan… And they gotta get rid of the bodies. And so there was just this really fun scene where, you know, what do you do with bodies on Tatooine and you need to get rid of them? Well, you go out to the local Sarlacc, right? They kind of park and they’re having this whole discussion about, you know, Cody shooting… Obi-Wan and all this kind of stuff."
Beattie also went on to describe the comedic conflict that came with this scene:
"But as they’re doing it, they’re just tossing these bodies into the Sarlacc pit, and the Sarlacc’s eating them, right? In the middle of doing this, this other speeder comes up and… they get their guns ready. And these guys see them. And they’re like, everyone’s like frozen, like, ‘Are we gonna kill each other?’ But then the guys open their trunk and they’ve got Stormtroopers that they want to throw in the Sarlacc. And so they start throwing…"
The writer stated that there was another element to this scene that included "a very drunk Jawa:"
"As a third thing, this massive speeder comes up and this massive door opens, and you expect this massive alien to come out to dump a body. But instead it’s a very drunk Jawa… comes tumbling out, opens the back door of the speeder. It’s a massive dead alien in there. He’s like shoving the dead alien down there. And he’s drunk, burping, and wasted and I called him Bad Jawa. So that was always a really fun thing that I just I wish we’d been able to do, because the fun side of Tatooine, right? Yeah, little moments like that."
Beattie also brought up a more serious scene that he felt was important in his initial script, but was ultimately left out of the series. He revealed that his film was supposed to have a group of refugees that "had their own religion," which would have been revealed to be the Force:
"Yeah, so like the show, in mine, Obi-Wan falls in with refugees that are fleeing the Empire, and he’s helping get the refugees out away from the Empire, and luring Vader away and all that kind of stuff. So, I had all that stuff in mind. And the one thing that I love that I wish they’d kept in the show was the refugees had their own religion, right? And a goddess that they said controlled all life basically. And what you’d come to realize is, ‘Oh, this is the Force.’ It’s just they don’t call it the Force, they call it the goddess."
He also talked about how the leader of these refugees was supposed to test Obi-Wan through the Force, and that the test included a vision where Obi-Wan was back on Mustafar:
"And they take the lead refugee woman. Her name was Tao. She takes Obi-Wan to their sacred shrine, and says, ‘Put your hands on here, and close your eyes, and concentrate, and let the goddess talk to you,’ which is basically the Force. And so Obi-Wan does it. And when he opens his eyes, he’s on Mustafar. And it’s like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, how I get here?’"
Beattie further explained the scene on Mustafar, and even revealed that it was going to include a de-aged Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and be a callback to the cave scene in The Empire Strikes Back:
"And he sees a guy in a dark robe with a red lightsaber, and he’s like, ‘Anakin, Anakin, Anakin!’ And as… the guy in the robe comes up, he lifts his lightsaber, you see, it’s Luke. Mark Hamill, 19. And so, Luke attacks him. Obi-Wan and Luke had this lightsaber battle in mine, which was mirroring, of course, Empire Strikes Back… so it was that kind of a thing that ends with, you know, Luke, just almost killing Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan is snapping out of the, you know, the vision, basically, but it’s a vision of the future if Obi-Wan keeps training Luke and putting all his guilt on this kid, Luke’s gonna turn to the Dark Side."
Beattie also explained how this scene would further Obi-Wan's character arc and ultimately lead to him becoming the Ben Kenobi that is present in A New Hope:
"So… it’s one of those moments that makes Obi-Wan realize, ’I’ve got to let this go, because this is the future I’m headed on right now. Luke is going to become a Sith and try to kill me on Mustafar at some point. So I love that. I love bringing in Luke… and this was before they brought back Luke in The Mandalorian. We were gonna be the first to do that, which would have been really fun. And a nightmare… Yeah, that’s probably the one I miss…”
Beattie also revealed that his initial script would put Reva as Kenobi’s main opposition. Instead of including other Inquisitors like the Grand Inquisitor or the Fifth Brother, his version contained a group of Clone Troopers who closely resembled the U.S. Marshals, and "were all Cody basically:"
“He wasn’t even in mine… No, it was really just [Reva], she actually had a squad of Stormtrooper Marshals. So, I thought, ‘Yeah, of course the Storm Troopers have like the equivalent of the U.S. Marshals, right?…’ Except that these guys were Clones. So she was using Clones that, yes, they were all Cody basically.”
Beattie went on to further talk about this group of Clones. He described them as "absolutely ruthless," and said that "they all ended up dying" by the end of the movie:
“They were all Temuera Morrison, you know, speaking in his voice, and they were all veterans of the Clone Wars, they all knew Kenobi, they knew these Jedi they were hunting, and they were still with the biochips in them… and they did not miss when they shot, and they were absolutely ruthless. There were ten of them. And they were commanded by a guy named Commander Jet. And so they were her squad basically. And they all ended up dying over the course of the story…”
In the interview, the writer then explained exactly why he chose not to include the Grand Inquisitor. He claimed that, when he writes a story, he likes the idea of "killing characters and having them stay killed." Since the Grand Inquisitor appears in Star Wars Rebels, which takes place later on in the timeline, Beattie couldn't have killed him and allowed him to stay dead:
"One of the funny issues I have with movies and shows in general these days is that nobody dies. Nobody really died, you know? It takes away from the jeopardy of the story. We’re now in a world where no one really dies. Then, well, why do I care, you know? So I believe in killing characters and having them stay killed so… And of course, [The Grand] Inquisitor is not someone you can kill… I just didn’t even bring him in, because I didn’t want to have to have that going on and do that and have people come back.”
Will Commander Cody Appear in Future Projects?
Beattie's quotes confirm that Cody was originally set to appear in Obi-Wan Kenobi, tying the project even more back to the prequels.
Though it is unclear why exactly his role was removed, the fact that Disney initially had plans for him to appear indicates that they almost certainly feel that his story is worth telling. Obviously, the most likely place for him to appear in the future would be Season 2 of Obi-Wan Kenobi if they decide to renew that project.
Since Beattie confirmed that Cody had his inhibitor chip removed, Lucasfilm could possibly even include him in Andor and feature the Clone as a part of the rise of the Rebel Alliance. However, since the character is so closely tied to Obi-Wan, it is unlikely that he will make an appearance before the pair are seen together in some capacity.
At the end of the day, it seems as though Disney and Lucasflim are not quite ready to bring Commander Cody back into Star Wars at this time. However, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that he will be back at some point in the near future.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is now streaming on Disney+.