When “Obi-Wan Kenobi” hits Disney+ this spring, it may be the most high profile “Star Wars” television show that Disney has produced to date. “The Mandalorian” benefited from being a largely original story, allowing it to massively overdeliver on low expectations (to the extent that it’s possible for a “Star Wars” project to have low expectations). “The Book of Boba Fett,” on the other hand, expanded on one of the franchise’s most beloved side characters, but it also had the benefit of following a character who had never spoken in a film before, giving the creative team plenty of freedom to develop him as they saw fit.
But “Obi-Wan Kenobi” follows one of the series’ biggest characters, and brings back an A-list actor in Ewan McGregor to reprise his role from the prequel films. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, the show also features Darth Vader. In a new EW feature, McGregor and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy detail the pressure they put on themselves to make sure the Disney+ series lives up to its high expectations.
Kennedy reveals that early scripts from original writer Hossein Amini were incredibly dark, and the entire show was put on hold to adjust the tone. Production was delayed from August 2020 to January 2021 to allow the show to bring in new writers and craft a sunnier story.
“We’re looking, ultimately, to make a hopeful, uplifting story,” Kennedy said. “It’s tricky when you’re starting with a character in the state that Obi-Wan would be in coming off of ‘Revenge of the Sith.’ That’s a pretty bleak period of time. You can’t just wave the magic wand with any writer and arrive at a story that necessarily reflects what you want to feel.”
“Army of the Dead” writer Joby Harold was brought in to overhaul the scripts, working closely with series director Deborah Chow. The two did a full revamp of the show, with Chow saying that “we inherited some of it, but we did really make some significant changes and add a few different elements.”
While the news of the scripts being sanitized may be disappointing to some fans, McGregor still thinks the show is dark enough. “Obi-Wan is lost,” he said. “He’s a broken man after what happened with the Jedi order at the end of ‘Episode III,’ but also what happened with Anakin; that he lost him to the dark side. He feels an enormous amount of responsibility for that, and guilt.”
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” will premiere on Disney+ on May 25.