D23 is the perfect time for Disney and Lucasfilm to announce Ewan McGregor's return as Obi-Wan Kenobi. The last year has seen Lucasfilm conduct something of a course-correction after the controversy over Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the poor box office performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Part of that involved the disappointing decision to put their Star Wars spinoffs on hold - including the eagerly-anticipated Obi-Wan Kenobi movie.
But there have been repeated rumors that the Obi-Wan project is still going to happen - just in another form. There have been claims that the script has been adapted, transforming it into a six-episode limited series for the Disney+ streaming service. Backing up those unverified rumors is Disney CEO Bob Iger suggesting a third Star Wars Disney+ series (after The Mandalorian and the Cassian Andor show) is in development. For his part, McGregor returned for a voice cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and has repeatedly appeared open to a more substantial reprisal of the Obi-Wan Kenobi role.
While there's no official word that there's any Obi-Wan Kenobi project - be it a movie, TV series or otherwise - in the works at Lucasfilm, if there is, then it would make sense we'd find out soon. D23 2019 (the convention for Disney's official fan club) takes place August 23-25, 2019, and is expected to bring with it some new Star Wars news as part of the "Go Behind the Scenes with The Walt Disney Studios" panel on the Saturday. Many expect some behind-the-scenes footage from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (as with previous sequel trilogy entries) and a trailer for The Mandalorian, but it would also be a prime time to announce Ewan McGregor's return as Obi-Wan Kenobi.
It's safe to assume that this year's D23 event will be largely focused on Disney+, which is a major strategic priority for Disney and is due to launch in North America on November 12, 2019. A high-profile, fan-pleasing and much-anticipated announcement like Ewan McGregor's return to Star Wars would ensure a lot of publicity for Disney at a business-critical time; it would inevitably be seen as a major selling point for both shareholders and potential Disney+ subscribers.
That may seem very early considering an Obi-Wan show wouldn't premiere until 2022, but it's worth noting that there won't be a D23 in 2020, meaning this is the final public events where Disney can make such an announcement. The next major fan festivals are next year's SDCC and Star Wars Celebration in July and August 2020, respectively; the news would certainly have broken by then. Given that's the case, D23 would be the perfect place for Disney to go public about Ewan McGregor's return as Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Before then, of course, all eyes are on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. With it recently confirmed that Obi-Wan's Force ghost still exists, it's very possible McGregor could have a surprise cameo in Episode IX similar to Yoda in The Last Jedi.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019