If Star Wars: The Force Awakens put Star Wars back on the modern cinematic map, then Rogue One: A Star Wars Story solidified the franchise’s box office power beyond the Skywalker saga. As a result, Disney and Lucasfilm are pushing forward with their shared universe, adding scores of new, fascinating characters every year and expanding upon legacy favorites, such as Han Solo and (possibly) Boba Fett, through the standalone films. Another rumored focal point for the newly christened anthology series is the galaxy’s first true Jedi Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Although his time in the original trilogy was brief, Kenobi exemplified the noble spirit and selflessness of his Order – something which fans realized wasn’t quite so black and white after the prequel trilogy. Although many longtime fans lambasted Episodes I-III, they were still thrilled by Ewan McGregor’s performance, which channeled Alec Guinness and fleshed out the noble general. Fans gained further insight into Kenobi during The Clone Wars animated series, which explored his character’s true fallibilities – like Anakin, he’d fallen in love and wrestled with his own dark side at times.
Old Ben’s brief time on Rebels, which wrapped up his decade’s long beef with Darth Maul, also proved the character’s continuing popularity. As one of the far-away galaxy’s most intriguing and beloved heroes, is the time right for his return to the big screen?
Admittedly, Kenobi is one of the Jedi with the most face-time throughout the saga as a whole, even appearing as a whisper in Episode VII. His early years have been thoroughly covered, from his Padawan days to his development into one of the galaxy’s greatest defenders and a powerful leader in his own right. Audiences enjoyed him at his peak, before his climactic duel with his friend and former Padawan Anakin Skywalker, as well as at his wisest, when he sacrificed his life to become Luke’s guide to the Force. Aside from a Force-ghost movie, there’s little left for the character after Return of the Jedi as well.
Since Kenobi’s exile on Tatooine is a direct result of the fallout from Episode III, there are few storytelling avenues available. So setting a possible Obi-Wanthology between the Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope seems like the best route, as it sets up several curious directions for Lucasfilm. While being stuck on a desert planet may seem limiting, a number intriguing options still exist – especially given Kenobi’s inherent conflict between his prior life as a galaxy-saving hero and need to remain under the radar to ensure that Anakin’s son Luke remains well-hidden. Kenobi’s curious moral quandary, as well as his deeper exploration of the Force, would form the backbone of an Obi-Wan solo film and could offer fascinating new insights into the character and his activities before the Rebellion.
At one point, rumors circulated about Zack Snyder chatting with Lucasfilm about a Seven Samurai or Western-inspired tale, something which could work very well for a movie about the Jedi-expatriate. Since the story is tied to the rise of the Empire – something McGregor seemed interested in exploring – rounding up more than one “samurai” would take a lot of doing. On the other hand, a tale where Kenobi pits two criminal factions against one another (as in Yojimbo) or resolves a conflict between the Jabba the Hutt and the moisture farmers (much like the seventh issue of Marvel’s ongoing Star Wars comic) has a lot of potential.