Co-hosts Robert Meyer Burnett and Mike Bawden talk about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Ewan McGregor, director Deborah Chow, and Disney when ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ drops on Friday, May 27.

Are they smart enough to make the limited series serve as the glue that holds the Skywalker Saga together – that might require more patience and wisdom than even Old Ben Kenobi is capable of summoning. Plus, discussions about TOP GUN: MAVERICK, THE GRAY MAN, and more!

Old Ben knows how to play the long game.

by Mike Bawden

Can Obi-Wan’s failure to save Anakin Skywalker save Star Wars (#031)

The new Obi-Wan streaming series starts tomorrow with two episodes dropping on Disney+ … and expectations are high. And with good reason.

As Rob points out in today’s podcast, this Obi-Wan project first started out as a Star Wars Story film project, like Solo and Rogue One. But eventually it transitioned into a limited series. I think everyone was fine with that because people want this character to have a worthy adventure and for the story to be more than just an extended chase or series of action set-pieces.

We’re all hoping for some character development.

And while we thought it was realistic to assume we’d get that following two, highly entertaining seasons of ‘The Mandalorian’, the problematic spinoff, ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ showed that streaming shows could be just as ill-conceived and half-assed as the sequel trilogy of films in the Skywalker Saga.

Listen to “Can Obi-Wan’s failure to save Anakin Skywalker save Star Wars (#031)” on Spreaker.

Yikes. Suddenly, this Obi-Wan series, which seemed like a kind of “afterthought” to the grander Star Wars slate announced in August of 2019. There was no name for the show and information was very hard to come by. It was just the beginning of a perceived back-and-forth between a studio having greater-than-expected troubles getting a third Star Wars trilogy successfully produced, exhibited and accepted by fans and a series lead who, at times, seemed more interested in the project than Disney.

Confusion in the wake of THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

Looking back on news reports from 2019 and January of 2020, it looked like the series was in a real state of flux. At first, it was announced that all the scripts were done, but then the showrunner left and the scripts needed to be re-written. A new director was brought in to helm all of the episodes, but even that number seemed to keep changing.

Then there was Ewan McGregor and his appearances on various talk shows and the news media. He seemed to be very restrained, never over-committing or saying too much. You couldn’t help but get the feeling he was working very hard to make this show as good as he could – after all, it makes sense that he might have a sense of ownership about how the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi was portrayed in this series and remembered ever since.

I think Ewan McGregor’s odyssey on this project may make for an interesting book of its own someday.

It’s all about relationships, right Anakin?

If it were up to me, I’d make this a smaller, tighter story about the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin. The outcome of that relationship is already known, but just how did Obi-Wan reach the point of knowing there would be hope for the Republic if Luke and Leia were reunited and handled in a way that would set them on a path to redeem/reclaim their father?

To me, it seems the knot that needs unwinding (the story that must be told) lies between the two former friends and the sense of noble obligation Obi-Wan has for Anakin. An obligation that he’s always had and expressed – even when it conflicted with the intentions and actions of Qui-Gon Jinn in THE PHANTOM MENACE.

Well, the day is almost upon us. And I, for one, look forward to seeing the story they’ve been working so hard to tell.

Extra credit

For those of you looking for even more information about the upcoming Obi-Wan series, here are some great links I used to write this blogpost …

Why the ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series is different than other Star Wars projects (Disney Food Blog)

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Obi-Wan’ Disney+ series on hold as crew sent home (01-23-20) (Collider)

‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series at Disney Plus loses writer, seeks to overhaul scripts (01-23-20) (Variety)

Production delays on ‘Obi-Wan’ Disney+ series are part of a bigger Star Wars problem (01-24-20) (The Verge)

‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ star on filming challenges, joining the Star Wars universe (04-15-22) (FanSided Blog)

Deborah Chow on ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’s’ biggest challenge (05-21-22) (Murphy’s Multiverse)

This episode recorded on May 26, 2022.

What do you think?

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I invite you to listen in on my weekday conversations with my friend and business partner, Robert Meyer Burnett, as we talk about the things we love: great movies, inspiring television programming, nostalgic genre entertainment, and pop culture.

This episode was recorded and streamed on May 26, 2022.

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