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Why We Won't Be Seeing Obi-Wan Kenobi At The 2022 Emmys

Disney+ continues to expand the Star Wars cinematic universe in a variety of fun and interesting new directions. The next "Star Wars" project on the schedule is the upcoming six-episode limited series "Obi-Wan Kenobi." The show, which has been highly anticipated by fans since its announcement in 2019 (via Variety), is set to premiere on May 27. Lucasfilm released the official trailer for the series on May 4, prompting endless squeals of delight from "Star Wars" fans around the world.  

The series will see Ewan McGregor return to the role of the legendary Jedi Master. Of course, McGregor is no stranger to "Star Wars," having played the character in three George Lucas-directed films: 1999's "The Phantom Menace," 2002's "Attack of the Clones," and 2005's "Revenge of the Sith." Also reprising his role from the prequel trilogy is Hayden Christensen, who will once again take on the role of Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader). Additionally, the new series will see the return of Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse as Owen and Beru Lars. Newcomers to the series include Rupert Friend as the Grand Inquisitor, Moses Ingram as Inquisitor Reva, and Maya Erskine, Kumail Nanjiani, and O'Shea Jackson Jr. in unnamed roles (via Variety). 

Although "Obi-Wan Kenobi" takes place only 10 years after the events of "Revenge of the Sith," a whole 17 years have passed since the film was released. Given the visual wizardry that Lucasfilm and a Disney budget can afford, that is likely to be an easily surmountable challenge. However, when it comes to the Emmys, no amount of technical or performative genius will be enough to solve one giant timeline issue for "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

Obi-Wan Kenobi's episode release dates mean the series will not be eligible for Emmy awards until 2023

According to Variety, the release dates scheduled for the six episodes of "Obi-Wan Kenobi" definitively place the series outside this year's Emmy eligibility window. Episode 6, the last of the limited series, is scheduled to hit Disney+ on June 22, less than a week after Emmy voting begins on June 16. 

Should Disney wish to put the show in a position for awards consideration this year, the studio must make two adjustments to its current plan. For starters, Disney would need to push up the final episode's release by at least one week, meaning a public release date for Episode 6 on June 15. According to Variety, this would barely satisfy the Academy's criteria for eligibility, which requires that any such episodes air by June 15 at the latest.

However, there is an even bigger problem at play for the especially secretive series. Variety also reports that the Academy requires that episodes be made available to members of the Academy by no later than May 31. Although the Academy technically allows this to occur via a private internet portal or physical media, even a limited release of the finale would undoubtedly cause spoilers to rip across social media. Notably, even if Disney opts to move the release date, this will inevitably force the company to reveal future plans for the show by choosing to submit it as either a limited or regular series.

Per Variety, Season 2 of "The Handmaid's Tale" also ran afoul of the Academy's eligibility cutoff date in 2019, and episodes released beforehand were still submitted for individual honors. It stands to reason that Disney+ could do the same for "Obi-Wan Kenobi," simply submitting it for full-series honors next year instead.