A few months ago, I speculated what the third live-action Disney+ Star Wars series would be and we certainly didn’t have to wait long to find out. This past August at D23, Kathleen Kennedy and Ewan McGregor took to the stage to announce an as-of-yet untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi series set between the prequel trilogy and the original films. It didn’t take a genius to know this was coming – my speculating of just that being testament to the fact – and I’m excited for the show. An Obi-Wan film was rumoured to be in development for quite some time but, after the box office disappointment of Solo: A Star Wars Story, it seems like a series on Disney’s upcoming streaming service was the better option. The scripts are written and the show is set to go into production in 2020, but just what will we see when Obi-Wan makes his much-anticipated return to Star Wars?
Prequels are often difficult to execute in a satisfying way – just look at some previous attempts in Star Wars. The prequel trilogy, which I enjoy a lot and added fascinating extensions to the canon, is poorly executed in a lot of ways, and more recently Solo, which is fun enough but largely unnecessary. The rule seems to be that prequels should stand alone as their own entity and I agree with this for the most part; Better Call Saul being a prime example. The Kenobi series should follow suit and have its own feel and yet I want it to embrace what it is. To me it’s an 8-episode character piece with the purpose of connecting the prequel and original trilogies. I don’t want it to continue on for seasons and break new ground in Star Wars like The Mandalorian is doing. It should be a short miniseries that inhabits its place in the canon. It will hopefully have some long-form character drama that will feel refreshing but really this show is just something to fill in the gap between trilogies, and that should remain its primary purpose. It shouldn’t have to fully stand alone but rather fit in as missing piece of the canon.
Well, I say missing piece of the canon but actually that’s not entirely true. The canon comics, short stories and the animated series Star Wars: Rebels have featured Obi-Wan during this part of his life. While there’s still plenty of drama yet to be told, I hope the series doesn’t spend too much time covering old ground. Rebels brilliantly featured Kenobi’s final confrontation with Maul so I imagine that character won’t be making an appearance, even though he was re-introduced to live-action in Solo. With Maul’s story told, it begs the question of whether Vader will appear in the series. Could they find some wiggle room in the canon to have Vader and his old master fight again? Probably, but I hope they don’t. I much prefer the idea of Kenobi and Vader meeting aboard the Death Star in A New Hope having not encountered each other since their duel on Mustafar. However, when we get to the original trilogy, Kenobi knows that Anakin survived and is now the cyborg Darth Vader but we’ve yet to see him discover that. He ends Revenge of the Sith believing that Anakin/Vader is dead and so in the show I would love to see him discover that isn’t the case. Maybe Vader visits Jabba and Obi-Wan senses his old padawan nearby, or maybe he just hears rumours of a Sith Lord and reaches out with the force to confirm his suspicions.
So, what villains could Obi-Wan face in his own series if Vader and Maul are off the table? My main hope is that the entire series takes place on Tatooine – he is supposed to be protecting Luke this whole time and I don’t want to see him abandoning his ultimate purpose for a planet-hopping adventure – and that limits the variety somewhat. Tusken Raiders maybe? Criminal factions emanating from Mos Eisley? The Empire? Jabba the Hutt and his cronies? All could be interesting and I’ve even seen the theory that Obi-Wan could face clone Commander Cody again. I like that idea but Cody shouldn’t be the antagonist of the series. He was just as much a victim as the Jedi he helped slaughter, but there would certainly be drama in them reuniting. The villain I most want to see is an Inquisitor. Introduced in Rebels, Inquisitors are now showing up all over canon and are Imperial Jedi-hunters that travel the galaxy investigating rumours of force-sensitive individuals and either recruit or kill them. Maybe Obi-Wan has to use the force early in the series and there’s a witness who contacts an Inquisitor to investigate. I feel this would be the most interesting option for a villain because it could be the impetus for Obi-Wan to hear that Vader is still alive, and it would be the only antagonist – other than Vader himself – that would allow for a cool lightsaber fight.
With a franchise as densely packed with characters as Star Wars, it’s hard not to speculate on which other characters might make an appearance in the Kenobi series. Qui-Gon Jinn is at the top of my list, both in terms who I want to see and who I think we’ll see. At the end of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan learns through Yoda that Qui-Gon has somehow managed to survive in the force and that he too should learn how to do so. During his isolation on Tatooine, Kenobi has plenty of time to do just that and I think he’ll be receiving occasional guidance from the force-ghost of Qui-Gon, once again played by Liam Neeson. Yoda too might make an appearance by using the force to communicate with Obi-Wan from across the galaxy, like we saw him do with Ezra in Star Wars: Rebels. I also imagine we’ll see Owen and Beru Lars again, especially considering that Joel Edgerton is a much bigger star now than he was when he was in the prequels. And then there’s the possibility of flashbacks. I would love to see some more live-action Clone Wars and see cameos by Hayden Christensen as Anakin, who will no doubt still always be on Obi-Wan’s mind, or Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu. They don’t have to be straightforward flashbacks either, maybe they’re dreams that haunt Obi-Wan.
But it’s not all about who Obi-Wan should fight and which other characters should make cameo appearances. There’s also the question of, you know, what the show should actually be about. What we do know is that the series is set 8 years after Revenge of the Sith and I feel like that’s the perfect point in time for the show. I hope the series explores and encapsulates the character’s transition from Obi-Wan Kenobi to Ben Kenobi. He’s still struggling to deal with what has happened. The galaxy and his life are in turmoil. His padawan turned to the dark side, the Jedi Order fell and the Empire has risen to replace the Republic. Maybe he has PTSD caused by the horrors he’s seen, both surrounding Anakin’s fate and the Clone Wars. He’s a broken man but his encounter with the Inquisitor, or whatever threat he faces, puts it all into perspective and once again puts Luke’s safety into the forefront. He has to let go of the past, commit it to memory and leave the old Obi-Wan behind to become Ben and focus on preparing Luke for his destiny rather than on how Anakin failed his.
What are your hopes for the upcoming Disney+ Kenobi series? Should Obi-Wan face Vader in the show? Let me know in the comments and be sure to geek out with me about TV, movies and video-games on Twitter @kylebrrtt.