When you say “Obi-Wan Kenobi” you could be talking about the upcoming Disney+ series or the man himself. In this case we’re talking about both. After all, you can’t really get into the show without explaining the history of the iconic Jedi Master and where he fits into Star Wars lore. We’ve seen a lot of different versions of Obi-Wan Kenobi since he was first introduced (and subsequently killed off) in the original Star Wars film. He’s appeared in every phase of the film franchise, animated series, books, comics, games, toy sets, theme parks, and on and on. But where and how do we meet this fan-favorite character in his first solo live-action series?
Read on to learn more about what we know so far and what to expect from the the show as we follow Obi-Wan Kenobi on his epic journey. And then be sure to tune into Disney+ on May 27 to catch the first two episodes of the six-episode miniseries.
Where in the Star Wars timeline is it set?
After an initial (and unfortunately timed) flashback to the chaos of Order 66 (in case you don’t remember, that’s the bad-guy code for “kill all the Jedi”) the show picks up 10 years after the final installment of in the prequel series, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith . When we see him again, Obi-Wan Kenobi is hiding out from Jedi hunters and still reeling from his failure as a mentor after his padawan, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), turned to the dark side. We don’t know yet if he’s aware that Anakin has been reborn as Darth Vader, but what a revelation that would be if the show goes there.
We also know that the show will end some time before the events of the animated series Star Wars Rebels, which is set prior to the original 1977 film. So in terms of lore, the series will address a five-year gap that’s never been filled in before.
Where does the show take place?
A lot of the scenes in the trailer seem to take place on Tatooine, which makes sense. The seedy, crime-ridden, backwater planet is a good place to hide out, as well as being the home of Luke Skywalker’s foster parents, Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. And it’s where we first met Obi-Wan as the desert hermit known as Ben Kenobi, played by the late, great Sir Alec Guinness.
We’ve already spent a lot of time there recently in both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, so it’s nice to see hints of more colorful locales that we can expect to visit. One of them we know about is a place called Daiyu, an underworld planet with a fast-paced, neon-lit cityscape reminiscent of futuristic real-world places like Hong Kong.
Who Will We See from the Star Wars universe?
Besides Ewan McGregor, obviously, who stars in the show at the title character, we’ll get to see more of Hayden Christensen’s Anakin, now fully embracing his Sith Lord Darth Vader persona. There’s also the young version of Luke, played by Grant Feely, and his foster parents, Owen and Beru Lars. Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse will reprise their prequel roles as the younger versions of the couple.
Fans of the animated series Star Wars Rebels should also recognize the Grand Inquisitor, appearing for the first time in live action here. He’ll be portrayed by Rupert Friend and joined by two other Inquisitors—the Fifth Brother, played by Sung Kang, and a new character named Reva, or the Third Sister, played by Moses Ingram (The Queen’s Gambit). That’s who’s been announced, though don’t be surprised to see more familiar faces.
Also worth noting is that at a panel at Star Wars Celebration just one day before the series premiere, Ian McDiarmid, Emperor Palpatine himself, warned fans not to get their hopes up for an appearance in the series. “All I would say about future speculation is if you’re expecting the Emperor to appear soon in flesh and blood don’t get your hopes up.” Nevertheless, he explained, his “presence” would be “felt” in the series.
That being said, when you have die-hard Star Wars fans like Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau and making a Star Wars show, always be on the lookout for Easter eggs and shout-outs. Maybe a line about how much Anakin hates sand? They’re also not likely to pass on the opportunity to reference to the other live-action series on Disney+, The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, although they take place much later in the timeline.
Newcomers to the Star Wars universe in this series include Kumail Nanjiani (The Eternals), Indira Varma (Game of Thrones), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (who played his father Ice Cube in the biopic Straight Outta Compton), Simone Kessell (Outlaws), Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Benny Safdie, one half of the directing team known as the Safdie brothers (Uncut Gems).
Where Will it Leave Obi-Wan?
McGregor’s portrayal of Obi-Wan in the prequel trilogy was a lightsaber wielding adventure hero, a far cry from the man we were first introduced to in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. As played by the late, great Sir Alec Guinness (who infamously looked down on the franchise as “fairytale rubbish”), Old Ben Kenobi was a wise and monkish figure full of secrets, who turned out to be much more than he appeared. And certainly more than Luke bargained for when he stumbled upon that hologram message R2-D2 was carrying (or maybe it wasn’t an accident?). There are still so many answered questions about that time (and plot points that may need some retconning) that would bridge the gap between the two very different versions of the character we know. By the time we get to the sixth episode, we’ll likely see the beginning stage of that transition.