All they have to do is bring him on stage to a huge cheer from the audience, and we can start getting properly excited about the show.
Originally intended as a spin-off movie (with McGregor attendance at the Solo premiere adding fuel to the fire that he’d be back to lead it), the concept has apparently been adapted to a six-part mini-series for the streaming service.
Whether it’ll go past one season is still unconfirmed (as is McGregor’s involvement - he’s said to be ‘in talks,’ according to Variety).
But, whatever, it’s never too early to speculate about something that has so much potential to be great. We’ve cracked the spines on some of our favourite canon books to see what they can tell us about the possible focus of the series, while examining some of the potential influences the show could have.
Marvel’s Obi-Wan and Anakin
One of the biggest plot holes in the live-action Star Wars universe is Obi-Wan and Anakin’s relationship. The time jumps between prequel films means we never actually get to see the two of them on bonding adventures, we only get to hear about them. Thankfully, the animated Clone Wars series fills some of the gaps, as does Marvel’s superb comic series, Obi-Wan and Anakin - which takes place when Anakin is 12, and still in training as a Jedi.
While we’re definitely not expecting to see a straight adaptation, partly because the new series is said to be set in the post-Anakin period after Revenge Of The Sith but before A New Hope, we’d love to see some flashback sequences to this stuff on the Disney+ show.
One thing’s certain; on the Disney+ show Obi-Wan will be playing mentor to a young apprentice (it’s arguably his defining trait), whether it’s Anakin, Luke, or a brand-new character, and this comic is one of the best examples of that dynamic.
The Clone Wars: Wild Space by Karen Miller
Until the Disney+ series premieres, the Clone Wars CGI cartoon is the most expansive version of Kenobi’s character we have, and canon spin-off novel Wild Space presents us with an inner conflict that provides depth to Kenobi’s outer calm on the show.
As great as the Clone Wars is, we’re not sure if we could cope with a direct live action adaptation of its stuffy / sarcastic take on Kenobi, so we’re expecting the Disney+ series to take some influence from Wild Space, and add some layers - no matter what era its set in.
And if the show could include a riff on Wild Space’s ‘Obi-Wan has to fight the dark side’ plotline, we’ll be happy.
Rebels’ ‘Twin Suns’
There’s evidence in the Star Wars live-action universe that the Obi-Wan series could involve elements from the prequel era. Solo: A Star Wars Story had an epically confusing cameo for casual audiences, the return of Darth Maul. This obviously connects to Obi-Wan in a major way, transforming closure for the character (Kenobi ‘killed’ Maul after the Sith cut-down his mentor Qui-Gon Jinn) into a dangling plot-thread.
Die-hard fans closely following every piece of Disney sanctioned Star Wars media knew exactly how Maul had survived The Phantom Menace, of course, and why he had mechanical legs. But for most people watching Solo, it was baffling.
Animated series Rebels pitted Obi-Wan against Maul for a final show-down, which we won’t spoil here, but it’s arguably the most poetic lightsaber battle in the entire franchise (seriously!).
While we don’t expect this to be recreated until season 10 of the Disney+ Kenobi show, it would be cool to involve Darth Maul somehow, as the characters are so closely connected across lots of different media. They don’t have to meet directly, but Obi-Wan could definitely encounter members of Maul’s Crimson Dawn crime syndicate on the show.
If nothing else, it would explain what McGregor was doing at the Solo premiere last year.
Kenobi by John Jackson Miller
This is the big one. Japanese classic Seven Samurai is so much of an influence on Star Wars, George Lucas asked star Toshiro Mifune to play Obi-Wan, according to the actor’s daughter, Mika.
"I heard from my father that he was offered the role of Obi Wan Kenobi, but he was concerned about how the film would look and that it would cheapen the image of samurai, on which George Lucas had based a lot of the character and fighting style," said Mifune.
2013’s canon book Kenobi seems to take this influence as a starting point for the narrative, with the plot, Obi-Wan helping a group of moisture farmers defend themselves from a gang of Tusken Raiders, feeling very familiar to fans of Akira Kurosawa’s film.
If Disney+’s miniseries doesn’t do the same - using eastern and western influences to create new narratives for Kenobi (because six episodes of Old Ben watching toddler Luke through some space binoculars will get pretty boring) - we’ll be more surprised than the Emperor after he’s been thrown into a reactor shaft.
Marvel’s Star Wars 007 / Star Wars 015 / Star Wars 020
Now we’re talking. The plot synopsis for issue 007 of Marvel’s post-Disney Star Wars comic, which is firmly in canon, might as well be a description of what most people imagine the Disney+ series will be.
‘As villainous scum runs rampant over the blistering sands, only a Jedi Master stands any hope of liberating the planet from the grasp of gangs, thieves and thugs. But would Ben risk everything to do what was right? Even if it meant revealing himself to those searching for his whereabouts?’
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The issues are based around a bunch of journals Luke finds after Obi-Wan gets struck down by Darth Vader, and they’re all amazing. The plots centre around Kenobi’s efforts to protect Luke, and involve all sorts of cool characters - whether it’s Jabba the Hutt (who will definitely pop up on the Disney+ show) or the black furred wookiee bounty hunter Hutt hires to track Kenobi, Black Krrsantan, arguably the greatest character only fans have ever heard of.
Disney, if you’re listening, we’d swap our force powers for a live-action version of the conscience-free wookiee who fights for fun.
If you want to see how the Disney+ series will balance new adventures for Kenobi while keeping him connected to the original trilogy, these are the comics to pick up.
D23 takes place in Anaheim on 20-25 August.