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The Real Reason Why Disney+ Put Obi-Wan Kenobi On Hold

The Disney+ series centered on Obi-Wan Kenobi is an Obi-Wan Ke-no-go — at least for now.

Pre-production on the series has been put on hold as the Mouse House and Lucasfilm are reportedly searching for a new writer to pen the series. Apparently, the scripts furnished by scribe Hossein Amini were deemed unsatisfactory (via The Hollywood Reporter).

The news isn't completely unexpected, as reports of trouble with the series — with some even going so far as to suggest that it had been cancelled — had surfaced as recently as last week. As it turns out, the series isn't destined for the scrap heap, but it may be undergoing a major retooling, as reports indicate that Disney was displeased with the entire narrative approach that Amini had been taking. 

This means that whoever is hired to course-correct the small-screen adventures of Obi-Wan will essentially be starting from scratch. While it's unclear whether this means that the series will be delayed significantly from its expected release frame sometime next year, it certainly seems likely, considering that the series appeared all but ready to go before the cameras. Deborah Chow, who had turned in excellent work on the hit Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian, had been hired to direct, and actors were even being screen-tested opposite Ewan McGregor (reprising his role from the Star Wars prequel trilogy) in preparation for shooting to commence.

It's also not exactly clear why the series' script troubles didn't become apparent until so late in the pre-production process, but according to THR's sources, it is reasonably plain just what those problems were: Amini was treading ground that felt just a wee bit too familiar for comfort.

The Obi-Wan Kenobi series might have been following a too-familiar formula

Those sources say that Disney and Lucasfilm brass were dismayed to find that Amini was crafting a story that was essentially The Mandalorian redux. As you're probably aware, that series — which recently wrapped up a stellar first season which was warmly received by fans — saw the titular bounty hunter taking his would-be target, the 50-year old infant known affectionately to fans as Baby Yoda, into protective custody rather than, you know, disintegrating him. The first season saw the pair bouncing around to several potential safe spots around the galaxy while evading those who would do harm to the floppy-eared tot, only to find that said spots invariably turned out to be less than safe.

THR reports that Amini turned in two scripts for the planned six-episode Obi-Wan series, and that the powers that be were dismayed to find that he was basically following a very similar formula. While those sources didn't offer any specifics, we can assume that Amini was planning to have Obi-Wan playing the role of protector to some helpless innocent, probably while on the run from the nefarious forces of the Empire.

Perhaps Amini hadn't actually seen The Mandalorian, or maybe he figured he'd just roll with the type of narrative that had given Disney+ its first smash hit; either way, it was apparently the wrong approach. Fans may always wonder what might have been; Amini's excellent screenplay for 2011's Drive had them wondering just how he would tackle the exploits of Obi-Wan. Then again, he also penned the script for 2017's The Snowman, one of that year's very worst films, so there's that.

Will any changes be made to the Obi-Wan Kenobi series?

The good news here: yes, McGregor is still on board to return as the Jedi Knight, and Chow is also still attached to direct. Aside from the narrative retooling, though, THR reports that the series will undergo one other major change: it's being whittled down from six episodes to four.

Again, it's anybody's guess as to why this could be — but since we're pretty good at guessing, we'll take a shot. Disney+ hasn't exactly been cranking out the original content since it debuted in November 2019, and we're thinking that when it comes to its major, already-announced projects — like the MCU-connected Marvel series and their Star Wars serials — the House of Mouse is probably keen to stay the course to whatever degree it possibly can.

We find it likely, then, that Obi-Wan's adventures are being condensed in order to get the series to the screen within a reasonable time frame. Disney has already pushed the debut of Marvel series WandaVision up from 2021 to late 2020, and announced season 2 of The Mandalorian for later this year, as well — all in an apparent bid to assure customers that, yes, new and awesome stuff is on the way soon, no need to cancel that subscription.

Of course, there is another possibility here, especially if McGregor himself is to be believed: it could be that this has all been blown way out of proportion.

Ewan McGregor says that the Obi-Wan Kenobi series is still firmly on track

During a presser for the upcoming Birds of Prey, McGregor offered his own take on the news, in words that were none too gentle. According to the actor, Obi-Wan's series has undergone nothing more serious than a simple reshuffling of its shooting schedule, and all of the news that's been reported to the contrary is... well, we'll defer to his words.

"All this bulls**t about creative differences and all that stuff is, none of it true," McGregor said. "We just pushed the dates... [Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker] came out, everyone had more time to read the stuff that had been written, and they felt that they wanted to do more work on it. So they slid the shoot. It's not nearly as dramatic as it sounds online."

McGregor also indicated that he had read "90% of the writing" for the series, and that it was "really good" — adding that the series will "start shooting in January." He went on to characterize the script work being done as less of a total retooling and much more of an ever-so-slight tweak. "I think they want to keep the same release date, so [the delay is] not really gonna affect the viewer in any way," he said. "It just simply gives them more time to write, make the scripts even better" (via The Wrap).

Okay, well, now we don't know what in the heck to think. We're sure that the circumstances around the reworking of the Obi-Wan series will become more clear once it gets around to entering production; of course, we'll keep both ears to the ground for any developments, and we'll be here to report all the news we can get our hands on.