Star Wars fans all over the galaxy have sensed a great disturbance in the Force — the delightful news that Lucasfilm is in talks to produce an Obi-Wan Kenobi film! Ewan McGregor has been campaigning to return to the Galaxy Far, Far Away for a long time, and it looks as though he's finally going to have his chance. But what stories could be told? Let's explore the life and times of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and see what Lucasfilm could do...
The Adventures Of Obi-Wan And Anakin
We were first introduced to the Prequel-Era version of Obi-Wan back in The Phantom Menace. There's then a 10-year time-jump before Attack of the Clones, in which he wanders the galaxy as a Jedi and trains Anakin Skywalker as his Padawan. That whole period of the canon is currently fairly empty — meaning that Lucasfilm could tell pretty much any story they want from this era.
Now, before you protest, remember: this wouldn't prohibit Ewan McGregor from playing the part. We all know that Industrial Light & Magic has the tech to adjust an actor's age at a whim. What's more, you don't even need to use tech; remember the young Kurt Russell in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? That was all makeup. At the same time, though, you don't want to go too far back. Sooner or later you'd have to recast the character, and given how dearly-loved Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan is, that would kind of defeat the point.
The best approach would be to set this shortly before Attack of the Clones, giving us a more adult relationship between Master Kenobi and Padawan Skywalker. The Prequel Trilogy showed us surprisingly little of that crucial relationship, as Attack of the Clones quickly split them up in order to push Anakin towards the dark side. Frankly, a film like this would make the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker's fall even greater; a movie that showed both characters at their best, that didn't beat you over the head with a dark side sledgehammer, but that actually showed the relationship between Obi-Wan and his student.
The Clone Wars
You have to understand that the Clone Wars, fundamentally, were one big Jedi trap; they forced the Jedi to abandon their role as peacekeepers, facing them with a philosophical challenge they couldn't possibly resolve as they fought on the front lines. The old Star Wars Expanded Universe (now non-canon) used this to great effect, in books like Matt Stover's Shatterpoint.
There's really no better era to explore just what made Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi Master, tick. The Clone Wars provide a perfect opportunity to separate the maturing Jedi from the rest of the Order, and to test his mettle in battle against the Separatists. This was supposed to be the time in which Obi-Wan Kenobi became something of a living legend, and it would be a delight to see some of those exploits onscreen.
Between The Trilogies
Now we arrive at the controversial choice. Ewan McGregor himself is keen on exploring this period, observing:
"I’ve always thought there was a story to tell between my last one and Alec Guinness’ first one... It would be fun to film that story now I’m older. I’d be the right age. I’m forty-five, Alec Guinness was what, sixty? I could do two of them!"
I've got to say, though, that I disagree. Obi-Wan's story between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope is a simple one: he's watching over Luke. As the novelization of Revenge of the Sith makes clear, the whole point is that he's recognized Luke as the galaxy's last hope. If Obi-Wan goes off on an adventure during this period, it means he's failing in his duty, as Luke Skywalker is left unprotected.
Recent episodes of #StarWarsRebels have pressed the point home. In 'Twin Suns,' we saw Darth Maul successfully locate Obi-Wan on Tatooine, and Kenobi was forced into a final duel. Naturally, he emerged victorious, but he still had compassion for his old enemy, reassuring Maul that he was here to defend "the Chosen One." Maul died at peace, confident that the Chosen One would bring an end to Sidious's plans.
If Obi-Wan has indeed concluded that Luke is that important, is he really going to leave the child unprotected?
So there you have it, #StarWars fans! Ewan McGregor himself is keen to explore the story between the trilogies, but frankly that seems unwise to me. A better approach would be to set this Obi-Wan movie earlier in the timeline, perhaps even in the Clone Wars, or else take the opportunity to actually show the relationship between Master Kenobi and Padawan Skywalker.
Whatever decision Lucasfilm ultimately make, it's great news to hear that Obi-Wan's tale is not yet finished. Fans will also see an origin film for Han Solo next year, And if the Force wills it, we'll see Ewan McGregor reprise his much-loved role too, shortly after...