The worst kept secret in Hollywood has been revealed today in an exclusive piece by The Hollywood Reporter. Borys Kit, one of the most trusted journalists in the business, delighted fans with an announcement that Lucasfilm is working on an Obi-Wan Kenobi film written and Directed by three times Oscar nominated Stephen Daldry. A Director who fits the picture perfect definition of an Oscar darling. This news isn’t official as of yet and according to reporting from EW’s Anthony Breznican, the talks are still very much in the early stages. But where there’s smoke, there’s fire and for a film about Obi-Wan Kenobi, the smoke has loomed large for years. This story by THR is big news, and it isn’t. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm, almost immediately rumors circulated of pitched ideas and even treatments for an Obi-Wan Kenobi film. Why not right? He is one of the pillars of the Star Wars saga that nearly everyone gravitates too. He is our comfy warm blanket of morality. The serene calmness of reason and the dedication to something bigger than ourselves. While many characters had their faults in this war torn galaxy, Obi-Wan has had few. A character worthy of his own film where he plays center stage.
The first questions are obvious for anyone reading about today’s news about this motion picture. Will it be a stand-alone movie in the same manner as Rogue One and the untitled Han Solo film? Or will be this be a multi-film deal that has been rumored for a while now? These are important questions because one of the biggest mysteries about this franchise is what happens after Episode IX. In a story matrix that always evolved around three movies, the originals, prequels and now the sequels, where do we go once the credits role for Rey’s story in Colin Trevorrow’s Episode IX? This announcement today was instantly hailed as a stand-alone movie, but I am not so sure on that.
A few months back, the excellent front page EW reporter Anthony Breznican threw the grenade into the room during the Rebel Force Radio podcast, suggesting that perhaps the reason for the delayed announcement of the Obi-Wan film could be due to the revealing events in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The undercurrent theory of Rey being an Obi-Wan descendant running quietly under the streets, fast and quiet through the sewer of Star Wars speculation. If this does pan out, then will we see an Obi-Wan film that sets the origin of Rey’s Mother or Father?
The second question, is where in time does this movie take place? Will we see an Obi-Wan during the Clone Wars or in his self-imposed exile on Tatooine? An act of incredible dedication to the Jedi order, preservation of the Force and for the hope of all innocent souls of the Galaxy. Obi-Wan who gave up the rest of his life on a backwater planet to keep an eye on everyone’s last and only hope. No small feat of devotion even for a character as large as Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The third question is the story itself. What kind of threaded tale will be told about a hermit sitting in the desert keeping an eye on a growing boy? For over twenty years in the barren dangerous lands beyond the dune sea, does there lie adventure? But of course, there is, this is Star Wars after all. We have witnessed this recently with Maul making his way to Tatooine to face his nemesis for the final battle in an episode “Twin Suns” of Star Wars Rebels. The “Geritol To End It All” I affectionately called it. There grandly finished what I think would have made for a marvelous Kenobi film. Confusing for the casual Star Wars movie goer, but incredible none the less. That story opportunity has passed being laid at the altar of the animation space, where honestly it should be. Maul resurrected in the animation space, and there is where he should end. If only not to confuse the general public.
This movie will also bring an incredible fascination of what the story will be. Not since Star Wars: The Force Awakens will fan’s be ultra interested in what tale will be told. When the slate is thoroughly clean, anything can happen. Obi-Wan Kenobi was a dedicated man to a profession with strict rules. But when all that falls apart, when an institution is no more, and a lonely man is still a man, rules get bent, broken or just discarded. Obi-Wan the desert hermit is a character I want to know. A man hunted by the Empire with perhaps a crisis of faith. There have been great stories in our world where people of faith have doubted God and his existence, from Mother Theresa to the run of the mill Clergy. Would Obi-Wan question the ways of the Jedi and perhaps the Force? For such evil has won and grandly at that. A series of events directly tied to his actions.
One of the great takeaways from Star Wars Rebels has been the guilt of Jedi Master Yoda. The wrong decisions, fear, and powerlessness in dealing with a Sith Lord. The self-realization that they failed, utterly and comprehensively, but still the drive to do what’s right. I want to know that man in the desert. I want to see my Percival under the blazing sun with a story to tell. I want the guilt and the perfect man we know to show some cracks. But the resiliency is still there and the drive to deliver hope to the galaxy.
We wish our very best to Stephen Daldry in his mountain climb of steep shifting sands. This story won’t be easy but could be the most intriguing, deep and rewarding stories in Star Wars.