Ever since it was announced that Star Wars would be returning to the pre-A New Hope era with 2016’s Rogue One, fans have wanted just one thing: another film about iconic Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, starring Ewan McGregor as an older version of the character he played in the prequel trilogy.
Out of the much-maligned prequels McGregor is one of the only actors still fondly remembered (he took on the role originally played by Alec Guinness). Furthermore, we know very little about what he actually got up to between Episodes III and IV, and McGregor is even the right age to play Kenobi during his wilderness years.
All that, plus the actor himself is still up for returning to the character, as McGregor revealed when he recorded a voice cameo for 2015’s The Force Awakens.
“I’ve always thought there was a story to tell between my last one and Alec Guinness’s first one,” McGregor told French magazine Premiere last year.
“It would be fun to film that story now I’m older,” he added. “I’d be the right age. I’m 45, Alec Guinness was what, 60? I could do two of them!”
Meanwhile, last summer saw reports that Stephen Daldry was in talks to bring the film to life, though there was never any confirmation that the project was going ahead.
All in all, it’s an enticing idea – but why’s it relevant now? Over the years this story has popped up every now and again, with little information to confirm or deny it – but now fans are wondering whether Kenobi: A Star Wars Story could be closer than anyone expected.
Solo: A Star Wars story is released next week, and many fans are wondering whether McGregor might have a sneaky cameo in the film designed to set up a future Obi-Wan spin-off. After all, the film’s set around the same time as any Kenobi film would be – between episodes III and IV – and explores a similar idea, following the younger years of a character (in this case, Han Solo) as he embarks on adventures we only heard whispered about in the Original Trilogy.
Actor Ewen McGregor arrives for the premiere of the film ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ in Hollywood (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty)
And then there’s this smoking, inelegant blaster – the fact that McGregor actually attended the premiere for Solo: A Star Wars Story in the United States last week, something that (as far as we can tell) he hasn’t done for any of the other modern Star Wars films, including the one he had a voice cameo in.
Already, some fans are jumping to conclusions and confidently predicting a 2020 release date for Kenobi: A Star Wars story, following on from Episode IX but before the new trilogies planned by Rian Johnson and Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and DB Weiss.
So is it really happening? Well, at the moment we know as much as you do – it’s certainly possible, but at this stage we might have expected to know more about the project if it were really in the works. Even if McGregor were on board, it doesn’t necessarily mean LucasFilm would have found the right story and director to bring Master Kenobi back into the fold.
On the other hand, it’s hard to think that Disney would turn down the chance of making another nostalgia-appealing Star Wars film after Solo – despite all the behind-the-scenes drama, the film is tracking to be a big success – so if we were you, we’d be watching Solo closely for any hand-waving, bearded hermits with the glint of “new franchise” in their eye.
Solo: A Star Wars story is released in UK cinemas on 25th May