The hype for the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi show is very real, especially after got our first real glimpse of it earlier in the week. Star Wars’ newest Disney+ series is winding back the clock to post-Revenge of the Sith, with Ewan McGregor returning to the luxurious beard of the titular Jedi. But back in 2020, his show was unexpectedly put on indefinite pause, with the scripts being not quite cited as a reason why.
Turns out, the scripts were indeed the reason for the delay, but not because they weren’t ready. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly for their cover story, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy revealed that the original scripts were “too bleak,” hence the delay and change in writers from Hossein Amini (brought on when Kenobi was originally planned as a film) to Joby Harold. There was difficulty in finding that balance, she admitted, given how Obi-Wan ended Revenge now tasked with guarding the child of the best friend he just believed he executed. “You can’t just wave the magic wand with any writer and arrive at a story that necessarily reflects what you want to feel,” she said. “We’re looking, ultimately, to make a hopeful and uplifting story.”
It won’t be all fun and games, though. McGregor himself described his character as “lost” after Revenge’s end, something the show will no doubt explore. “He’s a broken man after what happened with the Jedi order, but also what happened to Anakin…he feels an enormous amount of responsibility for that, and guilt.” Considering how much happened to Obi-Wan during the Clone Wars outside of Anakin going bad, from encountering Darth Maul again to reuniting with and losing his lover Satine, the show has plenty of fertile ground to play with in regards to its lead character’s state of mind.
Harold described Obi-Wan as a “minor obsession” of his, and told EW how it was his passion for the character that landed him the writing gig. His main desire was to bridge the two eras of Obi-Wan from the prequels to the original trilogy in an organic way over the limited series’ six-episode run. “Obi-Wan in the prequels is very emotional, there’s a passion to Obi-Wan,” Harold explained. “When we get to see him again in A New Hope, he’s the Zen master. That was the story that I wanted to understand — what had happened to Obi-Wan between the guy that Ewan had brought to life and the guy that Sir Alec Guinness brought to life.”
According to series director Deborah Chow, only a few parts of the original story made it to the show, while everything else underwent “pretty big” changes. And that’s a bit of a shame; Star Wars doesn’t do bummer endings all that often. Other than Revenge, the closest the franchise has gotten in this regard has been the endings to Clone Wars and Rogue One. Though it makes sense to have a bit more of an uplifting journey for Kenobi, hearing the original story was bleak has you wonder what Amini’s ideas were that warranted such heavy rewrites.
Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres May 25 on Disney+.