Well, hello there. It’s been a long time coming, but Ewan McGregor is finally returning to that galaxy far, far away in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney Plus. The Star Wars spin-off aims to flesh out the years between Kenobi’s fiery duel with his former apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, on Mustafar and the Alec Guinness years of Star Wars: A New Hope.
As such, there’s plenty of ground to cover and plenty of fresh (and familiar) faces to get accustomed to – not least of all the returning Hayden Christensen, who is stepping into the iconic suit of Darth Vader for the first time since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith.
We’re sure you have questions about what is – The Mandalorian season 3 aside – the most anticipated Star Wars series over the horizon. Below, there’s talk of an Obi-Wan Kenobi series release date. Namely, how a filming start date points towards a (hopeful) 2022 release. There’s also the full cast list for you to take a peek at. Plus, we dig even deeper into the series’ story, including quotes from McGregor, Christensen, and Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy on what we can expect.
Obi-Wan Kenobi series release date speculation: filming start date and more
Outside of The Book of Boba Fett arriving in December 2021, Disney and Lucasfilm haven’t revealed any release dates for their live-action output in a galaxy far, far away.
So, no Obi-Wan Kenobi series release date just yet – though filming has now begun. As per the official Star Wars site, cameras started rolling in April 2021.
What does that mean for a potential release date? Taking The Mandalorian as a guideline, it’s clear that we should all be circling our calendars for 2022. The first season of The Mandalorian started filming in October 2018 and debuted in November 2019. Likewise, it was around a year between The Mandalorian season 2’s filming start date and its premiere on Disney Plus.
If the Kenobi series continues on that path, we can expect it in the first half of 2022. Adding fuel to the fire (too soon, Anakin?) The Hollywood Reporter dropped a general ‘2022’ release date in passing during an interview with Ewan McGregor, though that’s not yet official.
As for when we’ll find out more, expect either an out-of-nowhere drop from an industry trade or, more than likely, Disney mentioning a narrower release window in their next Investors’ Quarterly meeting at around August time. There’s no D23 this year, nor is there another Star Wars Celebration planned for 2021. Outside of Disney once again announcing an impromptu stream (with announcements) those are the two best bets.
Obi-Wan Kenobi series cast: who’s joining Ewan McGregor in a galaxy far, far away?
Of course, an Obi-Wan series wouldn’t feel quite right without the man himself: Ewan McGregor is indeed returning as Obi-Wan.
Alongside him is quite the cast, though the standout name for fans of all things a galaxy far, far away is Hayden Christensen. He’ll be reprising his role as Darth Vader, marking the first on-screen appearance for the actor in Star Wars since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith.
The full cast is filled with familiar names, too. Joel Edgerton is set to play Luke Skywalker’s uncle, Owen and Bonnie Piesse is playing Luke’s aunt, Beru. While the rest of the character identities are being kept under wraps, the following actors are definitely set to appear: Moses Ingram (The Queen’s Gambit), Kumail Nanjiani (Eternals), Indira Varma (Game of Thrones), Rupert Friend (Homeland), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Just Mercy), Sung Kang (Fast & Furious), Simone Kessell (Terra Nova), Bennie Safdie (co-director of Uncut Gems).
The incredible cast includes Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell and Benny Safdie. pic.twitter.com/VltHs5Aw6rMarch 29, 2021
We’re holding out hope for other Star Wars legacy characters to join Uncle Own and Beru. One who says they’re not showing up – and we believe them, sadly – is Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best.
He said on Twitter, "Thanks for the love, but I will not be in this series. As much as I would've loved to be a part of it. But I'm ecstatic to see folks who I love dearly back together doing great things."
Now meesa sad.
Obi-Wan Kenobi series story: Darth Vader’s return
The big headline news is that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader will seemingly cross paths (and lightsabers) once more.
Of course, Obi-Wan has the higher ground since their last fateful meeting: he defeated his former apprentice and left him for dead in Mustafar, though his body was recovered and kept alive by a new set of cybernetic armor. Thus, Darth Vader was born.
But Revenge of the Sith’s Darth Vader – remember the “nooooo”? – and A New Hope’s planet-destroying villain are two very different beasts. How did we get there? It’s something the Obi-Wan series will seemingly approach on Disney Plus.
There’s not only a 10-year time jump (more on that in a moment), but Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy hinted that we’ll be getting the “rematch of the century” (via StarWars.com). Another clash with Obi-Wan on Tatooine could fully cement Vader as the villain we know and love… to hate.
McGregor also added (via ComicBook.com) that Obi-Wan’s final task after the events of the prequels is, predictably, to keep Luke Skywalker safe. That appears to confirm that the crux of the show will take place on the twin-sunned planet of Tatooine
As you can imagine, further plot details are under wraps tighter than a sarlaac’s grip. Christensen has said he’ll be working with Ewan McGregor again and, similarly, McGregor has said on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he’s filmed a certain scene with a special unnamed someone. The Scot also told Men’s Journal that Obi-Wan’s arc will be an "interesting" one as he comes to terms with the loss of the Jedi.
The series will likely bridge the gap towards A New Hope and chart how Obi-Wan became a watchful protector on Tatooine in the post-Order 66 era. The emergence of the Empire under Palpatine is also likely to factor in, making Obi-Wan increasingly isolated and in short supply of allies. Coupled with Vader’s likely training and harnessing of his Dark Side powers makes for an intriguing showdown. That, however, is all speculation at this point.
Obi-Wan Kenobi series: when does it take place on the Star Wars timeline?
The matter of when things take place in Star Wars is almost always a thorny issue. This is no less confusing.
Lucasfilm has confirmed that the Obi-Wan Kenobi series takes place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Specifically, a decade after Anakin’s defeat and transformation into Vader.
If Revenge of the Sith takes place in 19 BBY (19 years before the Battle of Yavin, the focal point in the in-universe calendar and a reference to the year in which the first Death Star was destroyed in A New Hope), the Obi-Wan series should take place in 9 BBY. That’s nine whole years before A New Hope and, if you’re keeping track, 50 years before the events of The Mandalorian.
For a more detailed breakdown of every major event in the series, check out our comprehensive Star Wars timeline.
Obi-Wan Kenobi series directors, writers, and episode count
Deborah Chow, who directed two episodes of The Mandalorian, will be helming the entire series. The series will be written by Joby Harold, who can count King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Army of the Dead among his writing credits.
Unlike The Mandalorian’s 10-episode seasons, the Obi-Wan series episode count is slightly shorter. McGregor told Men’s Journal that we’re getting six one-hour episodes. Hello there, indeed.
For more from a galaxy far, far away, here are all the upcoming Star Wars movies you need to know about.