Wall-E director Andrew Stanton, who co-wrote the final two episodes of Disney+‘s Obi-Wan Kenobi, has had some challenges with the restrictions working on the Star Wars series regarding the canon storyline.
Lucasfilm and Disney’s series Obi-Wan Kenobi wrapped up its six-episode run some months ago. While it didn’t take the world by storm, it was still a very popular show in its own right.
Kenobi, of course, saw Ewan McGregor’s legendary Jedi Master take on Darth Vader in a high-stakes rematch. The entire season was driving toward the former friends’ fateful lightsaber clash on an unnamed planet.
Now, the Star Wars franchise’s sense of canon has always been somewhat free-flowing, but the live-action properties, at least, are seemingly made to follow a strict sense of continuity. And it seems that Andrew Stanton, who helped write Kenobi’s fifth and sixth chapters, took some issue with these limitations.
Andrew Stanton on Writing for Star Wars
Two-time Oscar-winning director Andrew Stanton, who notably directed Wall-E and Finding Nemo, was a co-writer on the last two Obi-Wan Kenobi episodes. He remarked to Gizmodo that being tied to established Star Wars canon was both “the blessing and the curse” when discussing his experience with Lucasfilm:
“That was the blessing and the curse of it. It’s like one, you’re geeking out that you get to type ‘Vader says’ this and ‘Kenobi says’ that. You pause and say ‘I can’t believe I’m actually getting paid to type this. I can’t believe these words may be said.’ But then another part of you, it has to go through such a rigorous like ‘Does that fit the canon?’ And I feel like it’s bittersweet. [The reason that happens is] because people care, but it also kind of doesn’t allow, sometimes, things to venture beyond where maybe they should to tell a better story. So it can sometimes really handicap what I think are better narrative options.”
Stanton went on to add that he was sometimes “frustrated” during the writing process due to such continuity restrictions. He referenced Andor as being easier to write for, with that show existing in a “safe spot” in continuity.
“And so I was frustrated sometimes—not a lot— but I just felt it wasn’t as conducive to [the story]. I love it when something like Andor is in a safe spot. And it can just do whatever the heck it wants. But I felt, you know, Joby [Harold, Obi-Wan Kenobi co-writer and executive producer], to his credit, kept the torch alive and kept trying to thread the needle so that the story wouldn’t suffer but it would please all the people that were trying to keep it in the canon. But I got some moments in there that I’m very happy with.”
Is Star Wars' Continuity Hurting Its Future?
Star Wars, as a franchise, has literally been around for 45 years. And through that time, many other creators and visionaries besides George Lucas have been able to tell stories in a galaxy far, far away. This has been particularly true since the Disney acquisition.
But some of those creators have found it limiting due to Lucasfilm wanting Star Wars to stay true to a certain style and a specific continuity. This mindset has led to the dismissal of a surprising amount of directors, perhaps most notably Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who were let go from Solo for apparently playing things too fast and loose.
Having a sense of canon, continuity, and interconnectedness is very important in any big-name media franchise. But when it comes at the expense of creative liberty from some of the top talent in the industry, then it might be time to rethink things.
The reason Andor is so praised is that it plays outside the box a bit and mixes up the Star Wars “house style.” Hopefully, Lucasfilm pays attention to Andor’s accolades and carries forward what they’ve learned into future franchise installments.
All six episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi are available to stream on Disney+.