The Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff movie is reportedly in pre-production and will begin filming next spring. Ever since Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012 and revealed a sequel trilogy in the Skywalker saga would be complemented by standalone films, a project centering on the famous Jedi Knight has long been rumored. Ewan McGregor, who portrayed Obi-Wan in the prequels, is up to reprise the role, but he has cautioned fans several times over the past few years that it's all "just talk" for now.
Though Lucasfilm has never officially announced Obi-Wan, the film has been gaining traction dating back to last August, when it was said Billy Elliot helmsman Stephen Daldry was in talks to direct. Since then, Obi-Wan has received the working title Joshua Tree (a reference to a New Hope filming location), but all's been mostly quiet on this particular front ever since. However, the latest word concerning the movie is that it's only about a year away from getting in front of the cameras.
According to FanthaTracks, the Obi-Wan creative team is currently making their way through pre-production (concept art, props, storyboards) and they plan to start filming at Pinewood Studios in London after Episode IX wraps later this year. The "main shoot" wouldn't start until April 2019, but FanthaTracks notes Obi-Wan will "move onto stages" come January. This essentially lines up with a previous report that hinted at a similar timeframe.
Before fans get too excited by this news, there are some aspects about the rumor that make it suspect. As stated above, Lucasfilm still has not officially announced Obi-Wan yet, instead unveiling plans for Rian Johnson's new trilogy and a series from David Benioff & D.B. Weiss. If Obi-Wan was this far along, it stands reason to believe it would have been confirmed before now. Additionally, the speculated release date of December 2020 raises a few question marks. Lucasfilm already has a tentpole planned for that year in Indiana Jones 5, and the studio has never released an Indy and Star Wars movie in the same year. Plus, Avatar 2 and Sherlock Holmes 3 will be duking it out at the box office over Christmas 2020, competition that Lucasfilm would probably like to avoid. Disney has a keen interest in Avatar's success, considering the World of Avatar attractions at their theme parks and the impending merger with Fox.
It's always possible Lucasfilm makes a surprise announcement in the near future about Obi-Wan (perhaps after Solo opens to its record-breaking box office), but for now it is still just a fan's dream. A Kenobi spinoff definitely has on-paper potential and would help film in the gaps between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope (something of a specialty for the Star Wars anthologies), though it's likely not in the cards for now. And considering a majority of the Jedi's life has been covered in films, TV shows, and comics already, it wouldn't exactly be a missed opportunity if Obi-Wan never came to be.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019