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Now that The Mandalorian has established Star Wars' ability to successfully expand its storytelling to the small screen, anticipation has grown for Disney+'s future with the franchise. Arguably the most desired new project is the standalone Obi-Wan Kenobi series, with the prequels' star Ewan McGregor set to return for one more round as the beloved Jedi Master. The rumor mill has been working overtime recently, first with reports of the show's cancellation, then with reports of delays. Thankfully, Ewan McGregor set the record straight. Sort of.
The most recent reports allege that Disney+ delayed the Obi-Wan Kenobi series due to dissatisfaction with the scripts that were written by Hossein Amini, and that a new writer is being sought out by Lucasfilm. But when IGN caught up with Ewan McGregor as he was promoting the upcoming DC movie Birds of Prey, and his Obi-Wan update didn't exactly coincide with the rumors. In his words:
It’s just slid to next year, that’s all. The scripts were really good. I think now that Episode IX came out and everyone at Lucasfilm's got more time to spend on the writing, they felt like they wanted more time to spend on the writing. I’ve read about eighty, ninety percent of what they’ve written so far, and it’s really, really good. Instead of shooting this August, they just want to start shooting in January, that's all. Nothing more dramatic than that. It often happens in projects, they just wanted to push it to next year. It will have the same release date, I don’t think it will affect the release date.
Ewan McGregor offers a lot to talk about with that answer, even if it's altogether more confusing than anything else. The first point of contention is McGregor's claim that the scripts were really good, and that he'd apparently enjoyed the majority of what was written so far. So was he under the impression that the initial scripts are still the ones that would be used, or are there errors in the reports about the search for a new writer?
It's also worth mentioning that Obi-Wan reportedly only had two finalized scripts written, even though Kathleen Kennedy claimed last year that all of the episodes' screenplays had been submitted. It's not clear exactly what the issue is with the story, but it's speculated that it might have coincided too much with The Mandalorian's central narrative.
Next, Ewan McGregor makes the beyond-bold claim that this delay in the writing process will push the production start from August to January 2021, but that the previously planned release date (which wasn't made public at any point) won't be changing. That seems suspect, though, doesn't it? A five-month delay is massive for a project like this, which will presumably have a big mix of practical and digital effects throughout. So how in the world would the original release date possibly stay the same?
That answer possibly lies in another rumored detail, that the Obi-Wan TV show is getting cut from six episodes to four episodes. I'm not sure that losing two episodes would balance losing five months of production, but it's assumed any new writers being brought in would be given some kind of outline to know how to stretch the story out.
For what it's worth, Ewan McGregor didn't seem to have gotten that episode-shrinking memo, either. His response when asked about it:
I haven't heard that.
So what is the deal, people? Are the rumors correct, since they're coming from people who could possibly be working on the production on a day-to-day basis? Considering the actor is doing press for the DC spinoff Birds of Prey, he might not be in constant communication with everyone at Disney and Lucasfilm, so he might not have the most up-to-date information about it all.
On the flip side, maybe Ewan McGregor knows exactly how everything is happening, and he's just having a good time sending the Internet barking after its own tail. Hopefully we find out something more official from Lucasfilm or Disney+ in the near future.
Before the Obi-Wan show gets here (or doesn't), be sure and sign up for a seven-day free trial to see what all the hubbub is about.