The Original Obi-Wan Kenobi Scripts Were Scrapped For Being Too Dark

The long-awaited "Obi-Wan Kenobi" series is just a couple of weeks away, with the show finally making its debut on Disney+ later this month. Ewan McGregor will be back as the famed Jedi for the first time since "Revenge of the Sith," with "The Mandalorian" director Deborah Chow on board to usher the journey from behind the camera. And it turns out that we nearly got a very different version of the project, one that was much darker in nature, and one that Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy hit the pause button on in favor of lightening things up a bit.

This news was revealed in a story about the upcoming "Star Wars" show done by Entertainment Weekly. The series had been heading towards an August 2020 filming start when Kennedy stepped in to make her voice heard. As the outlet reveals, Kennedy became concerned with the direction of the scripts, which were written by Hossein Amini, who had also been on board when the plan was to have McGregor return in a movie:

"We're looking, ultimately, to make a hopeful, uplifting story. And it's tricky when you're starting with a character in the state that Obi-Wan would be in coming off of Revenge of the Sith. That's a pretty bleak period of time. You can't just wave the magic wand with any writer and arrive at a story that necessarily reflects what you want to feel."

Instead, Joby Harold ("King Arthur Legend of the Sword") was brought in to take the show in a new, more hopeful direction, crafting the new story alongside Chow. The new show is set 10 years after the events of "Episode III," though plot details remain quite vague right now, as is typical with any new "Star Wars" project.

Also typical: Kennedy operating as a hands-on producer, having led Lucasfilm since George Lucas sold the "Star Wars" franchise to Disney back in 2012. Although frequently treated as a scapegoat whenever anyone thinks "Star Wars" strays from their specific window of what this universe should look like, there's no denying her track record. Decades of working with the greatest filmmakers on the planet have given her killer instincts, and this sounds like the right change in direction. 

It still sounds dark, at least at first

As the first trailer for the show indicates, there is still going to be darkness to explore in "Obi-Wan Kenobi." That has not been stripped away entirely, which makes sense. The end of "Revenge of the Sith" saw the Jedi nearly wiped out during Order 66, with Anakin Skywalker turning to the dark side and becoming Darth Vader. This show picks up when the Empire is at its most powerful, controlling the entire galaxy with an iron fist. With the handful of surviving Jedi in hiding in deserts and on swamps (hello, Yoda) and the Rebel Alliance barely a spark buried under a mountain of space fascism, the show is, by default, engineered to open in a pit of despair. And while it would be easy to wallow in that darkness, perhaps the tougher choice, and the better choice, is tell a story of characters emerging from that pit rather than spend six hours sitting in it. 

Kennedy and the filmmakers opting for a tale of hope in a bleak world? Sounds like something we all need right now. 

More hopeful direction or not, the current state of the galaxy, not to mention chopping his best buddy to pieces and leaving him to burn on a volcano planet, has taken a toll on Obi-Wan. McGregor explains:

"He's a broken man after what happened with the Jedi order at the end of Episode III, but also what happened with Anakin; that he lost him to the dark side. He feels an enormous amount of responsibility for that, and guilt."

Fans will get to see a rematch here as well, with Hayden Christensen returning to reprise his role as Darth Vader. The actor is finally going to get some meaningful time in the suit, and he will face off against his former master once more. The fact that these two former best friends will face off again, before their classic duel to the death on the first Death Star as seen in the original 1977 film, may rattle "Star Wars" canon a bit, but it's also impossible to get excited at the prospect.

The cast also includes Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell, and Benny Safdie. Billed as a limited series, the show will consist of six episodes.

"Obi-Wan Kenobi" premieres on Disney+ on May 25, 2022.