There have been rumblings in the Force for a while: Lucasfilm considering a possible return to Obi-Wan Kenobi during the period of time between Revenge of the Sith and 1977’s original Star Wars.
Ewan McGregor, who played the Jedi master in the prequels, has been asked about it in nearly every interview since Lucasfilm relaunched the franchise and has expressed openness to reprising the role. Fans seem to want it, since they’ve been asking the question, too.
On Thursday, the first sign that it may actually be happening arrived: Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter published a story saying that filmmaker Stephen Daldry is in talks to direct the project.
If it happens.
That’s important: EW’s sources say there’s still an “if” involved, but yes — we can confirm this is a movie that’s being actively explored as a possible stand-alone beyond 2019’s Episode IX.
Lucasfilm and parent company Disney did not immediately respond to a request for official comment on the news.
A source close to the filmmaker suggested it is far from a done deal, calling the news “premature, at best.”
Daldry, who was Oscar-nominated for The Hours, Billy Elliott, and The Reader, has most recently been a director and executive producer of the Netflix series The Crown. He’s not known as an action or sci-fi filmmaker, but he has a history of exploring characters who live within a regiment social structure but remain rebellious at heart. His style is very British, but … so is Obi-Wan Kenobi’s.
As of now, there is no script and no cast. But any film like this would want to secure a filmmaker before taking those steps, so McGregor’s involvement is certainly a possibility.
There’s a good reason for Lucasfilm to wait until after Episode IX to explore Obi-Wan’s backstory and his time in the Tatooine desert before we meet Alec Guinness’ portrayal in the first movie: They’re still figuring out how he connects to the new saga, which started with The Force Awakens.
In that film, Daisy Ridley’s Rey hears Obi-Wan’s voice when she touches the Skywalker family lightsaber. (Director J.J. Abrams created the phrase, “Rey, these are your first steps” by merging old audio of Guinness with McGregor saying the rest of the line.)
If Ben Kenobi’s past is represented in the new saga, the filmmakers will need to sort that out before going back to those earlier years. In Star Wars, the past is always speaking to the future, and vice versa.
For now, sources close to the project tell EW there is no deal in place for Daldry, but talks with him continue. And Obi-Wan’s solo movie is becoming more and more real.
Trust the Force.