Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi Film Trilogy Shelved After Solo Problems

How did an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie trilogy become a six-part television show? The Han Solo prequel movie happened.

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Photo: Lucasfilm

The overall response to Obi-Wan Kenobi may have been positive, but there is one complaint that many fans seem to share: they want to see more. For some, that desire comes from a love of the characters, especially after showrunner Deborah Chow crafted a suitable bridge between the Star Wars prequels and the original trilogy, forcing Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan to face for the first time his former apprentice Anakin Skywalker in the form of Darth Vader, played by Hayden Christensen. For others, that desire comes from a sense that the series rushed through events, not giving viewers enough time to understand Kenobi’s dire situation.

Whatever they wanted from a continuation of Obi-Wan’s story, fans almost got more – a whole lot more. Speaking exclusively with The Direct, screenwriter Stuart Beattie revealed that Lucasfilm originally planned an entire trilogy of movies starring McGregor as Obi-Wan. “Yeah, Ewan was on board, everyone,” Beattie assured the outlet. But one problem stood in the way: Solo: A Star Wars Story. When that prequel movie failed to meet expectations, Lucasfilm decided to scrap their plans and start anew, changing the three-movie epic into one six-hour television season.

Originally, Beattie had planned for a trilogy to connect the defeated Obi-Wan of Revenge of the Sith to the wizened teacher ready to sacrifice himself in A New Hope. For the writer, there are “three different evolutions that the character has to make in order to go from Obi-Wan to Ben.” The first movie contained much of what made it into the show, involving Obi-Wan learning to surrender to the will of the force and, as Beattie puts it, “[l]eave the kid alone.”

But the second movie in the trilogy is what really excited the writer, as it gave him a chance to explore universal themes about one’s end and purpose. That movie would have followed Obi-Wan’s struggle to accept that he will die, which sets up his sacrifice to save Luke in A New Hope. In that movie, “Obi-Wan now has to come to terms with his own mortality, somehow in a prophecy, or Qui-Gon telling him, ‘There’s going to come a moment where you’re gonna have to sacrifice yourself for the good.’”

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These concepts were enough to convince Lucasfilm to put the trilogy into production. But those finished films never came to be, due to the shortcomings of Solo. Although the decision to retool the project “devastated” Beattie, his script for the first film became the basis for the series, even as Chow and screenwriter Joby Harold took over. “I did not work with them at all,” Beatie admitted. “I just got credit for the episodes because it was all my stuff.”

Despite his disappointment, Beattie holds no ill will towards Solo – “I like Solo, personally,” he revealed – and has moved onto other things. Even better, he’s glad that the series exists and that his “story got told.” Even better, there’s the possibility that Chow and Harold will return to Beattie’s scripts if Obi-Wan Kenobi season two ever happens.