Upcoming Star Wars projects are notoriously secretive. So, it seems like a big slip-up that Ewan McGregor revealed how many episodes the Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+ will run. The revelation came as part of a long, in-depth interview with the noted actor. In it he discusses his upcoming film Doctor Sleep and playing the DCEU’s first LGBT villain as Black Mask in Birds of Prey. While it’s an interesting read, the big news in the piece deals with his return to the Star Wars universe, this time as Ben Kenobi.
The Star Wars prequel trilogy debuted to controversy (of course) but George Lucas’ plan won out in the end. The kids who grew up with prequel trilogy love them like Gen X loved the originals, only with the benefit of a superior meme culture. No matter what your feelings are about the prequels, pretty much everyone agrees that Ewan McGregor’s performance in the role originated by Alec Guinness was pitch-perfect. The idea of another look at this character appeals to fans of all generations. To the prequel fans, he is the definitive version of Obi-Wan Kenobi. To fans who prefer the original trilogy, it offers the chance for a new kind of Star Wars story in a very familiar setting.
How Many Episodes Will the Obi-Wan Series On Disney+ Be?
Image via screengrab
On Day One for Disney+, the only Star Wars offerings will be all of the films, previously aired animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels, and the first episode of The Mandalorian. The first-ever live-action Star Wars television series, it will run for nine episodes and tell a rollicking tale about a crew of bounty hunters after the fall of the Empire. Yet, the Obi-Wan Kenobi series would likely tell a much different story.
There will be action and adventure, surely. But it is also the chance for storytellers to do a character study of the last holdout of a dead religion. It could get very philosophical about the Force. Rather than the story of Obi-Wan fighting off some Tusken Raiders or criminals, we could simply see how Obi-Wan becomes Ben. The series will not need as many episodes to tell that kind of story. That could be why the series will only be a collection of six one-hour episodes.
“The storyline sits between Episode III and Episode IV,’ he says, dropping us a breadcrumb. The last time we saw him in the role, ‘the Jedi Order was falling apart. It will be interesting to take a character we know in a way and show him—Well, his arc will be quite interesting, I think, dealing with that the fact that all the Jedi were slaughtered with the end of Episode III. It’s quite something to get over….’
“’I want to get closer and closer to how Obi-Wan felt while Alec Guinness was playing him. I feel like I’m grayer and nearer him in age, so it’ll be easier to do that.’ He then reiterates the obvious: ‘I’m not allowed to tell you anything about it.’ Though he did let it slip that the series will be six hour-long episodes.”
So, when Ewan McGregor revealed how many episodes the Obi-Wan Kenobi story will be, he may have revealed more than he thinks. McGregor’s a movie star. He might simply be less inclined to invest the time it takes to shoot a series. It’s always possible six episodes were all he’d give them. Still, it’s clear that McGregor is very happy to play the character again.
Ewan McGregor Lied for Years About His Status as Obi-Wan
McGregor didn’t just reveal how many episodes the Obi-Wan series will be in the interview. He also admits he’s not been honest dozens of times when asked about it. When Kathleen Kennedy announced the Obi-Wan series, the crowd at the D23 Fan Expo exploded with delight. When he got to speak, McGregor asked her to ask him if he would play Obi-Wan again if asked. He gleefully said, “Yes.”
He explains in the interview that they first approached him about doing an Obi-Wan project back in 2015. However, during the shift from annual Star Wars films to the focus on Disney+, he couldn’t really say anything. Finally saying yes to the question was “a massive f*cking relief,” he said.
The bulk of the interview happened just before that announcement in August, but the reporter did call him afterwards. McGregor said that as a young man he dreamed about what it might be like to be a rock star. When he stepped out on that stage of just(!) 7,000 fans screaming in joy and adoration, he finally knew. The series is expected to start filming in summer 2020. Kathleen Kennedy said that all of the scripts are already written for the show.
Let us know what you think. Are you happy with how many episodes the Obi-Wan series will be? What sort of story do you want? A showdown with Darth Maul’s Crimson Dawn organization? A quiet, character study about the changes the character goes through between Episodes III and IV?
Featured image via screengrab
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.