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'Obi-Wan Kenobi' was originally planned as a film trilogy, but 'Solo' disappointment killed the idea
Writer Stuart Beattie has his name on several episodes, but had zero involvement with the show.
It's no secret that Lucasfilm originally planned to make a Star Wars movie centered around Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi following the events of Revenge of the Sith. The project was pretty close to happening, with Hossein Amini (Drive) writing the script and Stephen Daldry (The Reader) on board to direct.
All of that has been pretty well-publicized. What you may not know is that another screenwriter — Stuart Beattie (Collateral, 30 Days of Night) — pitched an entire trilogy of Obi-Wan films back in 2016. While his vision was never realized in the wake of Solo's box office disappointment in 2018, it did serve as the general blueprint for the eventual Disney+ TV series. As a result, he received writing and/or story credit on four out of the six episodes, including the finale, despite not being directly involved with the show in any way.
"I spent like a year, year-and-a-half working on it," Beattie said of his initial Kenobi screenplay during a recent conversation with The Direct. "And then, when the decision was made not to make any more spin-off films after Solo came out, I left the project and went on to other things. Joby [Harold] came on and took my scripts and turned it from two hours into six. So, I did not work with them at all, I just got credit for the episodes because it was all my stuff."
Beattie went on to explain that he planned to explore "three different evolutions that the character has to make in order to go from Obi-Wan to Ben." The end goal was to provide a a rationale for why Obi-Wan seems to so ready to accept his demise at the hands of Darth Vader in Episode IV.
"The first movie, which [became] the show, was, 'Surrender to the will of the Force. Transport your will, surrender your will. Leave the kid alone,'" the writer continued. "So then, the second [movie] was thinking about where Kenobi ends up. And one of the most powerful and probably the most powerful moment in all of Obi-Wan's story is that moment where he sacrifices himself in A New Hope. Great moment, you know, makes you cry. But, if you stop and think about it, it's a pretty sudden thing, to just kind of go be fighting a guy, to see Luke and go, 'I'm gonna die.' You know, that to me, that required forethought. That required pre-acceptance that this was going to happen."
Either through a prophecy or a conversation with Qui-Gon Jinn, Kenobi would learn that he must someday give up his own life for the greater good. "So that when that moment comes up in [A New Hope], you understand," Beattie said. "He's recognizing he's been on this journey already, and he's waiting for this moment, and that's how he's able to make it so easily. To do this [sacrifice], and die. So that to me was the second evolution, the second film, the second story. So for me, if I have anything to do with the second season of Obi-Wan, that's the character evolution that I would take him on. That, to me, is really interesting. And like I said, universal."
Lucasfilm and McGregor were apparently on board when Solo fizzled out financially, forcing the company to rethink its roster of announced spinoffs, which included a standalone vehicle for Boba Fett and an origin story for the Mos Eisley Cantina. The success of The Mandalorian the following year led Lucasfilm to go all in on the small screen.
"It certainly crushed us. Devastated, absolutely devastated," Beattie admitted. "But, that's the business, you know, highs and lows. I'm glad it got made. I'm glad the show got made. I'm proud of my story that [got] told. I'm glad my characters are all through it. And I'm glad I got credit for it. I wish, I wish they'd been able to make my movies."
Amini, who served as lead writer until early 2020, also received credit on the TV series along with Hannah Friedman (Willow) and Pixar vet Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo).
All six episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi are now streaming on Disney+.
Looking for more sci-fi goodness? The entire run of SYFY’s Battlestar Galactica is streaming now on Peacock, along with the second season of Resident Alien, which returns to SYFY this fall with new episodes.