A new report reveals the original story for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, which was far too similar to The Mandalorian’s narrative. After years of waiting, Ewan McGregor’s return to Star Wars was officially confirmed during 2019’s D-23 Expo. However, even after that, making the Obi-Wan Kenobi show wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, with its story getting some major overhauls just months before its production was supposed to kick off.
Originally conceived as part of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars anthology of movies, the project was reworked to be a small-screen endeavor on the heels of Solo: A Star Wars Story’s failure at the box office. At the same time, Disney was also pushing for their own streaming service, Disney+, so it made sense to turn the new Obi-Wan Kenobi narrative into a show instead. But after the initial announcement that McGregor would be back, the series continued to encounter certain hurdles. One of its biggest issues was that its story was too similar to Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian.
Now, a brand new report claims what exactly happened behind the scenes that caused Lucasfilm to change Obi-Wan Kenobi’s story. According to THR, citing their anonymous sources, Ray Park’s Darth Maul was supposed to appear in the show as one of the villains. Obi-Wan, meanwhile, was meant to protect a young Luke Skywalker from his old nemesis, as well as other bad guys who were after the future Jedi. Director Deborah Chow, who directed episodes for The Mandalorian season 1, consulted with Favreau and his creative partner, Dave Filoni, about this arc, and the pair raised concerns that the narrative would be another Lone Wolf and Cub-like story, too similar to what they’re doing with the Pedro Pascal-led The Mandalorian. These concerns reached Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy, who ordered the re-evaluation of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
At this point, Darth Vader’s return wasn’t still included on Obi-Wan Kenobi. After the rewrites and some motivation from both Favreau and Filoni to “go bigger” with the series, Hayden Christensen was tapped to reprise his villainous role. In a separate report, Kennedy was candid about why she ultimately decided to re-evaluate the project, saying that they wanted a more optimistic narrative for the next Disney+ endeavor, and it was quite tricky to do that considering where it lands in the Star Wars timeline. She didn’t get into specifics, however, of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s original narrative, but she said that they went back-and-forth on whether or not to feature the Sith Lord. Nonetheless, considering the fact that it will be a limited series, it’s arguably the best time and project for Lucasfilm to bring Christensen’s Darth Vader back.
It’s uncertain as to what extent Maul’s role was going to be in Obi-Wan Kenobi. The pair has met only a handful of times in Star Wars canon, but they are deemed arch-nemesis, so it would’ve been interesting to see square off with each other, especially with the safety of Luke Skywalker on the line. That being said, it would’ve also diminished the impact of the pair’s final duel in Star Wars Rebels which is arguably one of the best fight scenes in the franchise.