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Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Rushed Production Revealed by Disney+ Show Designer

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader
By Russ Milheim

Ewan McGregor’s return to a galaxy far, far away has come and gone. For the most part, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Lucasfilm’s most recent Disney+ series, was received fairly positively. At the very least, the show delivered on its promise of offering some closure between the titular Jedi and Hayden Christensen’s Darth Vader.

Even with that, sadly, there were still issues that dragged the experience down for some viewers. While the streaming project had plenty of time to tell its story, running at six episodes and having a sizeable budget, many noted that the show felt cheap at points.

But why would a big project like Obi-Wan Kenobi come off that way? Especially since it was able to utilize The Volume technology to enhance its visuals.

Well, now a new interview seems to indicate those involved with the project were under a rushed schedule to get the show out.

A Rushed Production for Kenobi?

Obi-Wan Kenobi Darth Vader battle
Star Wars

In an interview with YouTuber Kyle KatarnObi-Wan Kenobi production designer Todd Cherniawsky talked about how the series had a rushed schedule, especially given everything that needed to be done with the show.

Cherniawsky explained how, even though they had “90-something days” and “100 days of prep” before that, the production was always working at a frantic pace:

“But you’re moving at such a fast pace. I know 90-something days sounds like an incredible number, but you’re moving so fast. And when I started the show, which was the fall of 2020… and then we went to camera in the late spring of [20]21. That five and a half/six months of time, when you start to do that math, so let’s say it's five times four, it’s 20 weeks, 22 weeks… times five days, you’ve got about 100 days of prep. And on a 100-day shoot, you’ve probably got, at least on that Star Wars show, we had about 100+ sets. So that means every day, you have to design, build, paint, light, and finish a set. Now obviously, that’s not the way it works, ’cause you have ’til the end of the schedule. But when you start actually putting it up on the calendar, it’s frightening at the level of which you have to check these boxes.”

When it came to his days filming on set, the designer revealed how “a typical day is 12 hours” and that “[director] Deborah [Chow] is a wizard at being able to carve a day out that didn’t get too long:”

“Well, a typical day is 12 hours, whether that’s prep or shooting. I mean, Deborah is a wizard at being able to carve a day out that didn’t get too long. We had a handful of very long days, but for the most part, we always kept it to 12 hours. When working with a child, you know, Vivien [Lyra Blair] has to be in and out of set time within a very specific window… So we can start the day early, work with Ewan [McGregor] in the morning and a handful of other actors, bring Vivien in, shoot her out, and then continue. Or start with her first thing in the morning when she’s really fresh and bright and well-rested.”

The Rapid-Fire Production Speed for Television

So, did this potentially rushed timeline truly affect the final product? While it certainly sounds that way, that 100-day timeline is pretty common for most TV shows. Generally speaking, because of how much content a series needs to complete, those productions do work at a much faster pace than a feature film.

What may have hurt the show was the scale the story was attempting to reach—one which could have made the time crunch even harder to deal with.

Of course, the Ewan McGregor-led project wasn’t always in the television format. Once upon a time, the Jedi Knight had his own movie instead. Would that have allowed the project to look less rushed overall and ease up the workload for those behind the scenes?

There’s no way to know—not to mention that making a movie isn’t necessarily easier in any respect. Had that film gone through, though, the story would have been far different; Commander Cody once had a role, Reva died, and Vader actually won his fight with Kenobi.

While the product audiences got may be flawed, there’s plenty to love about it. Hopefully, as more Star Wars projects make their way onto Disney+, Lucasfilm will be able to streamline the process for everyone involved.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is now streaming on Disney+.