Obi-Wan: A Star Wars Story – Everything You Need To Know About The Ben Kenobi Spin-Off

Obi-Wan Kenobi

by Owen Williams |
Updated on

As Disney ploughs ahead with its Star Wars movies – with The Rise Of Skywalker still to come – one prevailing rumour is that a young Obi-Wan Kenobi film, exploring the time between the prequels and the original trilogy, could be in the works. Here's what we know about the project.

Is a Ben Kenobi spin-off film actually happening?

 Ben Kenobi still

This is the first and biggest question at the moment, to which the official answer is "no". There has been no direct confirmation from Disney or LucasFilm that a Ben Kenobi-focused Star Wars anthology movie is definitely happening. But there has been widespread speculation and a couple of apparent scoops from "inside sources" that suggest it's a distinct possibility. And there's been no official denial either, so make of that what you will. The information that follows then is all based purely on those speculative early "revelations".

It's also worth mentioning here that there was, following the perceived under-performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story__, plans for future Star Wars films are a bit more in flux than they were just after The Force Awakens__. That said, Disney/LucasFilm have insisted that no plans have significantly changed and that everything that was in development prior to Solo is still a going concern. So the following is working on that basis.

Who is playing Obi-Wan Kenobi?

ewan mcgregor obi-wan kenobi

All expectations are that Ewan McGregor would return to the role he played three times previously between The Phantom Menace and Revenge Of The Sith. McGregor remains a Star Wars fan, has repeatedly said he's up for doing another one in the new era, and has already had a voice cameo as Obi-Wan in The Force Awakens. Nobody else's name is currently in the hat. Alec Guinness died in 2000, so it won't be him. Although come to think of it, that didn't stop Peter Cushing showing up in Rogue One.

What would be the plot of Obi-Wan: A Star Wars Story?

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi

There's no sign so far that there's a completed screenplay (or even a writer attached to the project), but the widespread expectation is that the film would be set between Star Wars Episodes III and IV. That's the period when Obi-Wan was hiding out on Tatooine. Ewan McGregor has himself said, "I’ve always thought there was a story to tell between my last [Star Wars] and Alec Guinness' first one."

Tabloid celebrity gossip site TMZ, in May 2018, went as far as to claim they'd scored an official plot synopisis. In their version, Old Ben the hermit gets involved in "tensions" between some local Tatooine farmers and a tribe of Sand People headed by a ruthless war chief.

That information is almost certainly wrong, for the simple reason that it's the plot of John Jackson Miller's 2013 novel [Kenobi](__ It is vanishingly rare – almost unheard of – for a piece of tie-in fiction to be adapted into a canonical movie. It seems even more unlikely in this case, since Miller's novel was one of the hundreds officially branded non-canonical at a single sweep with the arrival of The Force Awakens. This feels a lot like that time when the internet was confident that the next James Bond film was Carte Blanche. People were just confused because a book existed.

However... there is a slight precedent. The character of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who hails from books by Timothy Zahn, has in recent years been folded into official screen continuity, appearing in Star Wars Rebels. But he's the only piece of the expanded universe out of thousands to have made that transition.

When could Obi-Wan: A Star Wars Story be released?

Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars

According to a story from December 2017, LucasFilm was looking to start production in early 2019, for a release sometime in 2020. That version of events had Obi-Wan: A Star Wars Story shooting at Pinewood Studios in the UK under the fake title Joshua Tree (a reference to the original Star Wars' Tunisian locations; not a nod to the U2 album or the '90s Dolph Lundgren action movie) – although that seemed pointless given that everyone would know what Joshua Tree really was. Whatever, it's all moot because it hasn't happened, and the film remains lost in the Unknown Regions.

Who is directing Obi-Wan: A Star Wars Story?

Stephen Daldry

Widely reported as being in early talks to direct was the surprising name of Stephen Daldry. The man behind Billy Elliot and The Hours was certainly an unexpected choice, with little on his CV to suggest any Star Wars affinity. But he's an experienced director with a strong track record, and Disney/LucasFilm do like to bring in non-obvious names (even if it doesn't always go according to plan).

More as we learn it...

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