In the nearly one year since Disney+ launched, its biggest original hit, by far, has been “The Mandalorian,” the series set in the “Star Wars” universe that features the beloved character of “The Child,” sometimes known as “Baby Yoda.” The series was a huge hit when it launched last November, and a second season is on the way later this month.
It’s part of a long-planned strategy by Disney to base Disney+ original series on the huge amount of intellectual property controlled by Disney, as the company also has multiple series in the works based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, such as “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “WandaVision.”
It’s been known for a while that Disney+ was working on another “Star Wars” show, focused on the classic character of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and that Ewan McGregor would be reprising his role from the prequel trilogy as the future mentor of Luke Skywalker.
The Obi-Wan series was first announced in the fall of 2019, with the show set following the events of the prequels but prior to those of “Star Wars: A New Hope.” However, the series has been delayed, due to re-writing of scripts and reported changes behind the scenes—a fairly common occurrence in “Star Wars” projects since the property was taken over by Disney in 2012. And this was before coronavirus shut down productions everywhere.
Now, there’s word on when the Obi-Wan show is getting underway. According to Variety, McGregor said on a recent talk show that filming is set to begin on the show in March. Deborah Chow, who directed episodes of “The Mandalorian,” will be the showrunner for the series.
“It’s the Obi-Wan Kenobi story, I suppose. It’s not all me, but it certainly will be a lot of me, which is good,” McGregor said on “The Graham Norton Show.”
Disney has also announced a LEGO version of the infamous “Star Wars Holiday Special,” which will arrive later this year.
The news about the Obi-Wan series finally going forward coincides with that of a major corporate restructuring by Disney, which was announced Monday after the closing bell.
The shuffle, per CNBC, is aimed at focusing on streaming.
“Under the new structure, Disney’s world-class creative engines will focus on developing and producing original content for the Company’s streaming services, as well as for legacy platforms, while distribution and commercialization activities will be centralized into a single, global Media and Entertainment Distribution organization,” the company said in a statement.
“Given the incredible success of Disney+ and our plans to accelerate our direct-to-consumer business, we are strategically positioning our Company to more effectively support our growth strategy and increase shareholder value,” Bob Chapek, who became Disney’s CEO earlier this year, said in the announcement. “Managing content creation distinct from distribution will allow us to be more effective and nimble in making the content consumers want most, delivered in the way they prefer to consume it.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.