Did You Hear? is a weekly examination of headlines in the entertainment industry and a take on what they could mean for the future of the industry and (often), the little geeky bubble that we occupy.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is Coming to Disney+
It’s the biggest news breaking Twitter a full day after it was rumoured, then quickly confirmed, by Deadline: Ewan McGregor will reprise his role as iconic Jedi teacher, Obi-Wan Kenobi. According to the article they have confirmed that McGregor is in talks to step back into his role. They were not the only trade to run this story with The Hollywood Reporter picking up the story an hour later. Normally “in talks” is the vaguest of news and barely worth reporting on, but let’s take a macrocosmic view for a moment:
D23 (a.k.a. The Disney Convention), is next Friday.
Disney+ plans are expected to be a core component of the on-stage preview presentations at Disney’s D23 Expo later this month in Anaheim. That programming will likely include the introduction of McGregor as a returning screen star in the Jedi universe.
Deadline reminds us.
In the wake of limited Disney/Star Wars/Marvel announcements at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con it’s fair to assume small announcements will be made from this week until the doors open at the convention, with even more rumours swirling in from the usual suspects. Whether these leaks are being made by the studio or talent publicist in order to ensure an on-stage presence at the event is almost moot if something this longed-for by the geek community comes out of it.
From the moment Star Wars: Episode XI: Revenge of the Sith wrapped shooting almost, McGregor very publicly expressed his desire to return to the role of Kenobi. He’s picked up old parts in the past, reprising Rentboy in T2: Trainspotting in 2017.
Plans to produce a stand-alone Kenobi feature film morphed into the current plan for a big-budget series for Disney+, just as the discussion of a Boba Fett film gave way to the similarly spirited The Mandalorian series.
Kenobi, Boba Fett, and Knights of the Old Republic have been some of the most hoped-for stand alone Star Wars content since the original trilogy wrapped. With The Mandalorian poised to be Boba-Fett-Without-Boba-Fett and now something in development that is going to have Kenobi in the title it’s evident that Disney has their ear to the ground. They are listening to what fans are asking for.
Fan service is a tricky line to toe. It can introduce truly incredible pieces of art, but can also result in scenarios that feel like a snake eating its own tail. In this case, the fan reaction has been overwhelmingly positive AND – unlike so many other reboots, sequels, and prequels – there is in-story precedent for audiences to see Obi-Wan Kenobi at this point in his life. We have a broad idea of what he is up to.
Despite the fact that a huge portion of the Star Wars Extended Universe is no longer considered to be a part of the contemporary canon so much of it has been mined and rebranded under the new regime I don’t think it unlikely that prose and comic book fans already have a good sense of what Kenobi on Disney+ is going to look like.