Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place 10 years after Revenge of the Sith. The Empire has tightened its grip on a helpless galaxy, and most Jedi have been exterminated. Obi-Wan and Yoda, two of the greatest heroes the galaxy has ever known, are in hiding. A lot has changed since the Prequel Trilogy, none of it for the better.
This is the grim reality in which we find the weathered Jedi Master, who now lives in a cave on Tatooine, just outside the Lars homestead where little Luke Skywalker is growing up a moisture farmer. Not exactly the life a former general in the Clone Wars likely envisioned for himself a decade ago. Of course, the Obi-Wan Kenobi trailer has already teased that things will quickly change for our hero when the Empire arrives on the desert planet, leading to a new journey across the stars and a fateful rematch with his former apprentice, now the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader, played once again by Hayden Christensen.
Not only is this series set to reveal that Obi-Wan had adventures off-world in between his exile on Tatooine, but it’ll dive into an era in the Star Wars timeline between the Prequels and the Original Trilogy that’s still general unexplored. This means the six-episode series is free to add any number of things to the lore, or even change a few things, such as the previous notion that Obi-Wan and Vader never met again after their duel on Mustafar until the events of A New Hope. Since the series also takes place nine years before the original Star Wars film, it isn’t actually in any real danger of brushing up against events George Lucas set in stone in 1977. That is, as long as director Deborah Chow and writer Joby Harold are careful.
“It was definitely something we were very mindful of,” Chow told EW of the challenges of fleshing out some of Obi-Wan’s previously unseen history. “And for me also taking on [George Lucas’] legacy, it’s an honor to take these characters and be able to tell a new story with them. So I wanted to be very respectful to what exists and not change anything that George intended originally or anything like that.”
But she also teased that “obviously something happened in these 20 years [in Obi-Wan’s life], there are some things from our series where there’s going to be a little bit more room for interpretation on.” So it’s possible that Vader and old Ben’s final meeting on the Death Star could be recontextualized 45 years later.
Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s place on the timeline opens up an even bigger question beyond retcons, though. Since it has a such a long runway to work with before the events of Rogue One and A New Hope that must come to pass, Obi-Wan Kenobi could be ripe for a season 2 and more. But is a continuation beyond the upcoming six episodes in the cards?
“We really did conceive this like a beginning, middle, and end,” Chow told Total Film. “It is one big story, and it was always meant to be.”
In other words, it doesn’t sound like Obi-Wan Kenobi season 2 is on the docket, but Chow also hints that you should never say never: “You can never tell what happens in the future. But, if another series were to happen, it would be the same process of making sure that there was a real story to tell. Ours is obviously very connected to the prequels, but I love the idea that there can be more stories that are all over the timeline.”
If not a direct continuation of Obi-Wan Kenobi, could “more stories” arrive in the form of spin-off shows starring other characters introduced in the limited series? It wouldn’t be unprecedented. After The Mandalorian became a huge, early success for Disney+, Lucasfilm seeded several spin-offs in the show’s second season, including this year’s The Book of Boba Fett and next year’s Ahsoka. There was even a third companion show planned, but Rangers of the New Republic was reportedly put on hiatus after Cara Dune actor Gina Carano was fired from the franchise.
Beyond the flagship show’s viewership numbers and social buzz, what made such a big expansion of The Mandalorian-verse possible? It takes place at another largely unexplored point in the Star Wars timeline set five years after Return of the Jedi and decades before the Sequel Trilogy. This means there’s a lot of space to plug in new shows, lore, and big galactic events without treading on the films.
The 19-year period between the Prequels and the Original Trilogy means Obi-Wan Kenobi could do the same. If Ewan McGregor’s time as the Jedi Master is over after this adventure, what’s to say the larger story of this era won’t continue across other shows? For example, Obi-Wan Kenobi will introduce a new villain named Reva (Moses Ingram), a member of a faction of Jedi hunters known as the Inquisitorius. She’s so prominent in the trailer and stills released thus far as to imply that she is a major part of the show, a new character Lucasfilm is clearly invested in — the kind of lightsaber-wielder that could become such a popular addition to the canon that a spin-off would be a no-brainer.
And who knows what other new and returning characters could be introduced in this series before jumping into their own shows, like Boba Fett did after The Mandalorian season 2. Rupert Friend, who plays the intimidating Grand Inquisitor, recently teased the cameos to come, and Chow echoed this with Total Film.
“Obi-Wan’s going on a journey,” Chow said. “There’s going to be different people that come into his life. One of the things I was trying to do with this series was to have the legacy, and who is important in Obi-Wan’s life, and to also have some new characters. So it’s going to be a mixture of the two. But I do think there are some surprises to come. I hope.”
This is all speculation, of course, but franchise expansion and interconnected storytelling has long become a big part of the Disney playbook, and there’s no denying that Obi-Wan Kenobi is just the kind of high-profile show that could serve as a gateway into a whole new era of live-action series set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, just like The Mandalorian did before it.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. For now, we have Obi-Wan Kenobi, which premieres on May 27.