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'Obi-Wan Kenobi': Everything you need to know about Disney+'s new Star Wars show
Ewan McGregor's fan-favorite Jedi Knight returns to the galaxy far, far away on May 27.
It's been almost two decades since Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) left Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) for dead on Mustafar and dropped baby Luke off with his aunt and uncle on Tatooine. Since that time, Star Wars fans have clamored for a look at the disgraced Jedi Knight's time in exile following the execution of Order 66. Their prayers are finally being answered with an entire television series dedicated to the beloved character.
Coming to Disney+ next month, Obi-Wan Kenobi (intended as a limited event, but you never know what the future might hold) explores the tragic fallout of Episode III, picking up a decade after the destruction of the Jedi Order. Head below for everything you need to know about the hotly-anticipated show before it premieres on May 27.
When does the show premiere?
The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi are scheduled to premiere on Disney+ Friday, May 27.
The original plan was to release the show two days earlier on Wednesday, May 25 (keeping in line with the new Disney+ model first adopted by Loki last summer). No reason was given for the recent date change, though it may have something to do with Star Wars Celebration taking place in Anaheim that same weekend between May 26-29. McGregor personally broke the news to fans in a pre-recorded video message posted to the official Star Wars social media channels, in which he thanked them for all their "incredible support and response" to the series thus far.
Disney+ usually drops fresh episodes around 12 a.m. PST / 3 a.m. EST.
How can you watch the show?
As with every other Disney+ show in existence, a subscription to the streaming platform is required to watch Obi-Wan Kenobi. The service offers two main pricing options: monthly access for $7.99 or an annual package for $79.99 upfront. In addition, there's a bundle option that nets you Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for $13.99 a month.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is the third live-action Star Wars television project to come out of Lucasfilm after The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. Several more Disney+ series are on the way, including a spinoff for Rosario Dawson's Ahsoka Tano and Leslye Headland's The Acolyte. For an entire rundown of all the galactic programming currently in development, click here.
Who stars on the show?
Ewan McGregor, a universally-accepted highlight of the polarizing prequel trilogy, steps back into the role of master Kenobi, who has chosen to live a life of quiet exile on Tatooine. Here, he protects a young Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely) from afar. The ex-Jedi lives with a sense of constant shame, forever haunted by the fact that his own apprentice was swayed to the Dark Side of the Force by Emperor Palpatine.
"Obi-Wan is lost," McGregor explained to Entertainment Weekly. "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."
Vader isn't just some mythical boogeyman looming in the background of this post-Clone Wars galaxy. Hayden Christensen is also back for the show as the dreaded Sith Lord — once again donning the boots, helmet, and cape of one of the greatest villains in pop culture history. The big question mark that still needs to be answered is how much of his face and voice we'll see and hear.
Did Lucasfilm, for example, tap James Earl Jones (now in his early 90s) to provide the voice of Vader when the baddie's got his respirator going at full blast? Will there be any flashbacks to the Republic days before Anakin had most of his limbs chopped off?
While answers to those questions continue to elude us, audiences can rest assured that Christensen is indeed the one under the suit whenever ol' Darth turns up onscreen.
"It's a great honor to get to put that suit on," Christensen told EW. "It was mostly a lot of excitement because I had spent enough time with this character and felt like I knew him, and coming back to it felt very natural in a lot of ways. And I was just really excited to get to come in and play Darth Vader at this point in the timeline because it did feel like a natural continuation of your journey with the character. And that was very meaningful for me."
Two more prequel veterans — Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse — return to portray Luke's adoptive parents, Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru.
"I was so excited to bring them back," Obi-Wan director Deborah Chow said. "Part of what made the series feel very special is that we were bringing back not only Ewan and Hayden, but people like Joel and Bonnie from 20 years ago and gettingt o reunite as the same characters."
The supporting cast is full of Star Wars green-horns, although their characters may feel like old friends to longtime devotees of the franchise. For instance, Rupert Friend (Hitman: Agent 47) plays the Grand Inquisitor, a former guard of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, who ultimately sided with the Empire. Under his direction, the Force-sensitive Inquisitors — like Reva (Moses Ingram) and the Fifth Brother (Sung Kang) — scour the galaxy, hunting down the last-remaining dregs of the once-great protectors of peace and prosperity.
Naturally, Obi-Wan is at the top of their hit list.
Kumail Nanjiani (Eternals), Indira Varma (Game of Thrones), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Godzilla: King of the Monsters), Simone Kessell (Terra Nova), and Benny Safdie (Licorice Pizza) round out the ensemble cast in mystery roles.
Who are the folks behind the camera?
The movie was later reworked into a television series, with Amini still on board as writer. Production was supposed to begin in 2020, but was delayed, so the scripts could be overhauled. This extended development period turned out to be well-timed, given that every live-action project was forced to shut down their cameras in the wake of the novel coronavirus two years ago.
McGregor downplayed the severity of the overhaul in early 2020, stating: "It’s not really as dramatic as it might seem.”
Amini's entire vision was ultimately scrapped (reportedly for being too much of a downer) and Joby Harold (co-writer on Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead) was brought on board to oversee the new scripts.
"This was a character that's always been a minor obsession of mine," he told EW. "And when I heard it was a character they were exploring, I very aggressively told them all the things I thought they should do."
Prior to Harold's hiring, Deborah Chow (a veteran director of The Mandalorian) was tapped to helm all six episodes of the show. She also serves as an executive producer alongside McGregor, Harold, Michelle Rejwan, and Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy.
The cameras finally got rolling last spring, with production wrapping five months later in September. Lucasfilm debuted a short sizzle reel during the Disney+ Day event two months later. An official teaser trailer with actual footage recently made its debut online.
Is there more Obi-Wan in store?
According to McGregor and several other crucial members of production, the six-episode Obi-Wan Kenobi will serve as a self-contained limited television event. Never say never, though. If fans are ravenous for more, then Lucasfilm can and will find a way to tell more stories with Old Ben prior to the events of A New Hope.
"It was definitely conceived as a limited series, and it is one big story with a beginning, middle, and end," Chow told EW. "The approach has always been that it is one full story."
"It's certainly something we talk about," echoed Kennedy when asked about the potential for more seasons. "Mainly because everybody came together and had such an incredible time. Ewan had an incredible time. Hayden had an incredible time. So certainly from that point of view, everybody involved would love to see this not end. But we have to really spend our time asking the question: Why would we do it? If we were to decide to do anything more with the Obi-Wan character, we'd have to really answer the question why?"
Find out how strong the Force is with Obi-Wan Kenobi when it premieres May 27.