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The Obi-Wan series is going back to Star Wars basics: samurai and spirituality

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Nov 11, 2019, 10:56 AM EST

After years of speculation and secrecy, Ewan McGregor’s return as Star Wars favorite and all-around nice guy Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi is starting to come into view. The man fans met in the original Star Wars, then got to know over the prequel trilogy, has his own upcoming Disney+ show — and thanks to its writer, fans now know that the series will be taking Star Wars back to George Lucas’ roots.

Speaking to DiscussingFilm, writer Hossein Amini (who is scripting while Deborah Chow tackles directorial duties) explained how the potential movie turned into a six-episode series and what fans can expect from a storyline bridging the long gap between Episodes III and IV.

That’s a lot of time to play with, as Amini is well aware. Obi-Wan goes through a lot from slicing and dicing his ex-Padawan to becoming a desert hermit on Tatooine. The writer said that “the situation is so complex both for him personally and in a way, the state of the galaxy, you sort of need time to explore it and to be honest there are loads of other stories within that period as well, it’s quite a few years.” 

“The idea of being able to go into a character journey plus the politics and plus all the vastness of the empire and what’s going on is exciting just because it feels like a proper period of history and sometimes that is hard to do in two hours,” Amini said. “Sometimes with two-hour movies there is always an imperative for the action and the plot to move particularly fast and quickly and to go from action sequence to action sequence and there are many more aspects to storytelling that I find interesting.”

One of these aspects Amini wants to focus on is the religion of the Force itself. “So, for Obi Wan’s character, he has a lot to adjust to given the loss of his close friends and the order that he believed in,” the writer explained. “It felt like a really exciting opportunity to explore a different side of a franchise that I always loved and I’ve always loved it because of its spiritual aspects as well as its fun and action elements, it seems to work one way more than one level which isn’t always true for those big franchises.”

Obi-Wan’s reckoning is going to be a painful one, and one likely of solitude. Perhaps even one going back to one of  Lucas’ main Star Wars inspirations: Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress. It would make sense now that Amini is in charge of Obi-Wan’s wanderings. “I loved Star Wars because I’ve always been interested in different religions, like the whole notion of the samurai I’ve always loved,” the writer said. 

In fact, his research — varied as it was — touched on much of Lucas’ original touchstones. Amini has been looking at everything from “books about crisis and extraordinary bits of anthropological stuff” to “Buddhism or theology or anthropology” to “all the stuff that George Lucas himself read from A Hero with a Thousand Faces to all the studies he did from samurai costumes to weapons.” That’s a lot to keep in mind, but with Star Wars, there’s always a sense of honoring the past — especially with a character that’s been there since the beginning.

Obi-Wan is set to begin production in July of 2020.