Article by Kieran Burt.
Obi Wan Kenobi: A Jedi’s Return (or Return of a Jedi) is the Disney Gallery episode, for the six part series, and just from the name alone it’s clear Disney are treating it with more reverence. It will be released on Disney+ day, on September 8th. The trailer itself is very short, and doesn’t give a lot away, but Disney have also released a press release for the show:
“With never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes footage, colorful personal stories and meaningful moments, “Obi-Wan Kenobi: A Jedi’s Return” showcases the making of Lucasfilm’s original limited series for Disney+, “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” an epic story that begins 10 years after the dramatic events of “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.” This insightful documentary from Lucasfilm and Supper Club explores the return of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker to the screen—and Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen to their respective classic roles. Director Deborah Chow, cast and crew reflect on their journey to tell a new story with iconic Star Wars characters Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader and Princess Leia, while introducing new heroes and villains into the saga along the way. Complete with visits to the creature shop, props department and more, “Obi-Wan Kenobi: A Jedi’s Return” features the side of filmmaking that makes Star Wars so unique—the respect and passion for the generation-spanning legacy and the beloved characters.”
Starting with the trailer, it plays on the awe, reverence and importance that these characters have, not just to the actors and creators involved, but also to fans of the franchise, which certainly played a big part in Disney’s marketing for the series. While learning what makes these characters important to both fans and the audience is certainly a part of these fandoms that should be explored, it’s something done quite often in interviews. Hopefully A Jedi’s Return spends a lot more time on the creation of the show, as opposed to the cast and crew hyping Obi Wan Kenobi up to the audience.
There are a few snippets that will hopefully be expanded on. A brief shot of Hayden Christensen fighting Ewan McGregor can be seen, which hopefully means the audience will learn more about the duel between Anakin and Obi Wan on Coruscant, which is part of what made Episode of Obi Wan Kenobi amazing.It would be great to see some of the banter the pair will inevitably have had on set, after all it will be old friends reuniting.
Moses Ingram gets a quick line in the trailer, indicative of a larger interview. Hopefully this will dive into the Inquisitors and their fortress, as seen in Star Wars: Rebels and Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order. Perhaps Star Wars’ alumni Dave Filoni will make a quick appearance to explain the history of these concepts, as both the Grand Inquisitor and the Fifth Brother appear. Obi Wan Kenobi connects to multiple points in the canon, and the lesser points like animation and the videogames, and they deserve the spotlight just as much as the films.
A construction shot of Daiyu can be seen, and hopefully a detailed section of the episode will focus on just the city alone. It’s extremely vibrant and colourful, certainly fitting the bill of a “wretched hive of scum and villainy” with the spice factory, bounty hunters and Imperial Inquisitors. The press release above mentions visits to the creature shop, no better place to talk about the many creatures that populated the city.
Another point that the press release mentions is a reflection on the creative journey that the whole crew undertook in making Obi Wan Kenobi. Indeed, it was quite tumultuous, with it originally being a film, and then script delays, and then COVID-19. It would be intriguing if any of this was brought up in the episode, and explain at what point in the story that was done and how that made the crew feel? How was the series expanded to fill roughly six hours instead of two? Deborah Chow also confirmed that Darth Vader’s presence wasn’t a given, so at what point did she realise the series needed him and why? Finally, at what point were the Inquisitors brought into the story?
These questions and the look at Daiyu are certainly the most interesting aspects of the documentary, along with the playful banter between McGregor and Christensen. Hopefully the show is long enough to answer these questions and doesn’t glance over them. If Disney wants to make their behind-the-scenes documentaries informative, they have to accept the troublesome aspects of their production, as well as the positives of bringing back a fan favorite character.