Star Wars fans were surprised to learn last week that a Boba Fett "Star Wars Story" movie almost happened - it even had a teaser announcement, a logo, and director Josh Trank developing it. However, when he pulled out of the project, Lucasfilm pulled the plug on it altogether, at least for the forseeable future. Aside from Fett, the other familiar name fans have been clamoring for to get his own standalone film is Obi-Wan Kenobi. It's not even just the fans; Ewan McGregor, who portrayed the character in the Prequel Trilogy, has expressed his desire to return for a solo film.
"I've always thought there was a story to tell between my last one and Alec Guinness' first one. It would be fun to film that story now I'm older," McEwan said last month. "I'd be the right age. I'm forty-five, Alec Guinness was what, sixty? I could do two of them!"
If fans want it, the actor who would most likely involved wants it, and the stories are ripe for the telling in an era they seem more than happy to explore at length in multiple novels, comics, an animated series, and both planned standalone movies so far, why would Lucasfilm be so hesitant to put an Obi-Wan: A Star Wars Story film on paper?
EW's Anthony Breznican went on record on the "Rebel Force Radio" podcast this weekend with an intriguing reason we'll label as rumor, as it doesn't come with any official source and certainly no official confirmation from Lucasfilm.
"I have heard rumors that the one reason they haven't moved sooner on Obi-Wan is that they're not done with Obi-Wan quite yet in the Saga films," he said. "So I wouldn't be surprised to see an Obi-Wan [solo film] happen beyond Episode IX."
Obi-Wan Kenobi's voice, comprised of audio of both Ewan McGregor and Sir Alec Guinness (who portrayed him in the Original Trilogy, of course), can be heard in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. When Rey picks up the Skywalker lightsaber and has her Force vision, she hears Kenobi say, "Rey? These are the first steps." The Rey is in Guinness's voice using a sample, while McGregor recorded the following words fresh for the film (interesting trivia: James Arnold Taylor, who voiced Obi-Wan on Star Wars: The Clone Wars was also involved in a way - he recorded the full line as Obi-Wan before Lucasfilm/Skywalker Sound was able to figure out the way to include Guinness and work out the details with McGregor).
That vocal cameo has prompted many fans to believe Rey may be related directly to Obi-Wan Kenobi, as a descendant of the Jedi whose exile on Tatooine for 19 years remains untold in canon. It would explain why it was he, not anyone else existing as a Force ghost would reach out to her in the vision, and could even give her a connection to that particular lightsaber without necessarily being a Skywalker; after all, while Anakin had the laser sword for just a few years, building it during the Clone Wars, and Luke had it for just about 3 years in the time from A New Hope through the end of Empire Strikes Back, Obi-Wan had it in his possession for nearly two decades.
With all that in mind, Obi-Wan Kenobi being involved in later Episodes of the core Skywalker Saga films, be it Star Wars: Episode VIII or only in Episode IX, the final film of the new sequel trilogy, while not a foregone conclusion, does make sense. If Lucasfilm is holding any ideas for a standalone film in his past until they figure out what they're referencing in the future, we could still see an Obi-Wan film start development just about any time after the Episode IX script is complete. While writer/director Rian Johnson is in editing and post-production on Episode VIII now, he was also signed to work on the treatment for IX, so that could be sooner than we think.
For now, fans can look forward to Rogue One in just over two weeks, Episode VIII a year later, Han Solo currently about five months after that, and Episode IX rounding it all out in 2019. If they stick to the one movie per year model, we'd be looking until at least 2020 for any Obi-Wan (or any other character/subject) film, anyway.
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