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Obi-Wan Kenobi adds Hayden Christensen to cast – release date and plot for Disney+ series

After some false starts, Ewan McGregor's spin-off is officially its the way.

Star Wars Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith
starring Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

As if fans weren’t excited enough for Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+, Lucasfilm has announced that the event series will also see the return of another star from the prequel trilogy.

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Hayden Christensen will reprise his role of Anakin Skywalker for the ambitious project, which takes place 10 years after the former Jedi Knight is seduced by the dark side of the force and becomes Darth Vader.

It is yet to be revealed how prominent Christensen’s role will be, but the actor has alluded to exploring the troubled relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan following their brutal clash on the volcanic planet of Mustafar.

“It was such an incredible journey playing Anakin Skywalker,” he said. “Of course, Anakin and Obi-Wan weren’t on the greatest of terms when we last saw them… It will be interesting to see what an amazing director like Deborah Chow has in store for us all. I’m excited to work with Ewan again. It feels good to be back.”

McGregor has also expressed his enthusiasm for the project, telling Radio Times that he’s looking forward to portraying Obi-Wan at a later point in his life.

“I’m very excited to do it again – I’m probably more excited about it this time round,” McGregor told Radio Times. “I’m older, slightly wiser, maybe. The great fun part of it the first time was to try and be Alec Guinness, but younger. That was the acting challenge, as well as learning all the tricky fights.

“Now I’m much closer in age to him – I guess he was in his 60s when he made the first Star Wars film, and I’m about to be in my 50s. Don’t tell anybody! So now I’ll be able to bridge that gap a bit more, and it’ll be fun to find him in that place.”

Read on for everything you need to know about Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney Plus.

When is Obi-Wan Kenobi released on Disney Plus?

Obi-Wan Kenobi does not yet have a confirmed release date, but filming is scheduled to begin in March 2021.

Assuming that the production keeps to this timetable and is not hit by any COVID-19 complications, then we can reasonably expect to see the limited series sometime around early 2022.

Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy revealed that work was underway on the project, telling The Wrap that it was being developed as a limited series (meaning that there may not be multiple seasons).

She said: “It’s been very exciting to see the talent that’s come in. And we’re now developing the limited Obi-Wan Kenobi series with Deborah Chow, and she’s just been doing a phenomenal job.”

Obi-Wan Kenobi series cast

Ewan McGregor will return to play Obi-Wan Kenobi once more. He debuted as the iconic character in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, appearing in The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

The first actor to play Obi-Wan Kenobi was the legendary Alec Guinness in 1977’s original Star Wars movie, but he passed away in 2000.

“Now I’m closer in age [to] when he did the first one… I think it’ll be really interesting now to go through that experience again and to start watching Alec Guinness,” McGregor said. “Now I’ll have to watch Alec Guinness’ work when he was in his 40’s and 50’s.”

At their epic investor presentation in December 2020, Disney confirmed what had long been rumoured: prequel trilogy co-star Hayden Christensen will reprise the role of Anakin Skywalker (AKA Darth Vader) for the limited series.

The news was confirmed in a tweet from the official Star Wars account, along with a first look at the show’s logo, which seems to make reference to the sands of Tatooine.

There have also been rumours that Ahsoka Tano – Anakin’s padawan learner from the Clone Wars animated series – could make an appearance played by Rosario Dawson, who took on the role in The Mandalorian season two.

However, for the moment at least, these remain unconfirmed; we expect to hear more Obi-Wan Kenobi casting news as the show nears the start of filming, so watch this space for more updates.

What is the series about? When is it set?

Star Wars Episode III - Revenge Of The Sithstarring Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

The Obi-Wan series will take place 10 years after the events of 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, where we last saw Obi-Wan watching over Luke Skywalker, the secret child of Darth Vader, on Tatooine.

Relatively little plot details are known, but it appears that Obi-Wan Kenobi will once more face off against his fallen apprentice, in what producer Kathleen Kennedy has described as “the rematch of the century”.

Ewan McGregor has also revealed Obi-Wan hasn’t quite recovered from the Jedi Cull in Revenge of the Sith.

“His arc will be quite interesting, I think, dealing with that, the fact that all the Jedi were slaughtered with the end of [Revenge of the Sith]. It’s quite something to get over,” he told Men’s Journal.

Many fans are hoping the series can fill in some of the blanks about Obi-Wan. Why does he call himself ‘Ben Kenobi’ in A New Hope? How is he so familiar with Mos Eisley? And did he have adventures outside Tatooine during his wilderness years?

How will they film the Kenobi series?

In a recent interview, McGregor shed some light on what filming processes would be used to create the series, with the crew borrowing the dynamic background screen techniques used regularly in fellow Disney+ series The Mandalorian (read our latest The Mandalorian review).

“They employ that incredible screen, and I don’t even begin to know how it works, but it’s pretty amazing, y’know,” he told ACE Universe.

“And so when you’re on set, if you’re in a snowscape or something, well, when you look around, you see that. And it makes you feel like you’re in the place; I think it’s going to be more, it’s going to feel realer for us, for the actors. And I think we’ll be using some of that technology on our show.”

Who’s making the series?

LucasFilm have announced that Deborah Chow will direct the series. Chow, who recently worked on fellow Star Wars Disney+ series The Mandalorian, has also directed episodes of Mr Robot, American Gods, Jessica Jones, Fear the Walking Dead, Better Call Saul and The Man in the High Castle.

“We really wanted to select a director who is able to explore both the quiet determination and rich mystique of Obi-Wan in a way that folds seamlessly into the Star Wars saga,” LucasFilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a release.

“Based on her phenomenal work developing our characters in The Mandalorian, I’m absolutely confident Deborah is the right director to tell this story.”

The series was originally being written by Hossein Amini, the screenwriter behind films and TV shows like McMafia, Drive, The Alienist, 47 Ronin, Snow White and the Huntsman and Our Kind of Traitor, which coincidentally starred Ewan McGregor.

However, Amini left the project in January 2020. He is reportedly being replaced by Joby Harold, who served as executive producer for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and is writing Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead. According to Variety, Harold was also selected to develop a new take on the Transformers franchise over at Paramount.

Chow and McGregor will serve as executive producers alongside Kathleen Kennedy, Tracey Seaward (The Queen) and John Swartz (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).

Was there going to be an Obi-Wan Kenobi film?

Apparently, yes. McGregor has confirmed that early plans for Obi-Wan’s return had him on the big screen, but eventually the idea shifted to Disney+ instead.

And director Deborah Chow says that’s all for the better.

“The situation is so complex both for [Obi-Wan] personally and in a way, the state of the galaxy, you sort of need time to explore it,” Chow recently told the New York Times.“And to be honest there are loads of other stories within that period as well, it’s quite a few years.

“There is so much going on between [Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope] that hasn’t been explored. The idea of being able to go into a character journey plus the politics and plus all the vastness of the Empire and what’s going on is exciting just because it feels like a proper period of history and sometimes that is hard to do in two hours.”

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The Obi-Wan Kenobi series will air on Disney+. You can sign up to Disney Plus for £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.