Disney+ was a pretty easy sell for me. Out of all the streaming services that are on the horizon, the HBO Max, the Peacock (worst name?), and Apple+, Disney was my clear favorite. The only reason I would get the Peacock is to continue streaming The Office but I’m leaning toward downloading the entire series so I just have it forever. HBO Max has my curiosity but I already have HBO Go so do I really need it? Seriously, do I? I can’t figure this one out. I was willing to sit out on Apple because of the lack of library but I was offered a free year of the service soooooo… if it’s free it’s for me. I don’t mind considering that it allowed me to watch Servant. Disney just had so much to offer to turn a blind eye to.
You don’t really comprehend how much Disney owns until you take an evening to search through Disney+. That library is deep ya’ll. We know about Star Wars, the MCU, Pixar/Animated movies but did you know that 10 Things I Hate About You, Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and the animated X-Men series are all available on the service?! It’s kind of mind-boggling and you can easily get lost discovering all the movies, shows, and animation that falls on the Disney flagship. That was all an easy part of the sell but it was the promise of content to come that really sold me.
As a Marvel/Star Wars fan, there was no possible way I could turn down Disney+ and look myself in the mirror with any type of self-respect. The promise of content was too great. The Mandalorian, Falcon and the Winter Soldier (now moved up to August!), Wandavision (now moved up to this year!), the return of the Clone Wars (next month!), and the long-awaited, long-anticipated Obi-Wan Kenobi series starring Ewan McGregor. So much awesome and so many of my fanbases gathered in one place. It’s like the most ideal streaming service for yours truly. So much universe expanding content, especially with Star Wars, that I couldn’t lay down my six bucks a month fast enough. Ewan McGregor back as Obi?! Come on, we’ve wanted that for years but it’s also with Obi-Wan where Disney+ has hit its first wrinkle.
It’s been a tough week and a half for the Kenobi series and its left fans a little frazzled. It all started about a week ago when a parody Twitter account posted something about the show being canceled. Since Twitter and the internet is a rational place this Tweet went off like a Death Star strike on a Jedi temple causing an uproar. Sites like We Got This Covered who notoriously post rumors and unsupported “news” items were all over the “cancelation” just stoking the fire. Mind you, none of these sites had sources. Like none what so ever. Just reporting on something unsubstantiated for the clicks and that infuriates me. There’s a responsibility to your readers to report on something that’s actually valid or maybe to preface the column as a theory or rumor. It’s almost as if sites like this scroll Twitter and Reddit looking for fan theories and then have someone write them up as if they’re fact. Then people who just read the headlines post these pieces and it starts this whole cycle of yuck. It’s kind of like some of your friends do on Facebook concerning politics. This is the geek equivalent.
All this trepidation over the show’s cancelation lasted about a day before the internet ultimately decided that this was not the truth they were searching for and things calmed down… until last Friday when some substantial sites were reporting that the show had been put on hold indefinitely and everyone in production was sent home. This rumor quickly became a reality as we learned that Kathleen Kennedy, the head of Star Wars, became unhappy with the scripts and shut down production in order for the writers to get their shiz together. Rumor was the show felt too much like The Mandalorian, with Obi supposedly looking after child Luke Skywalker, and needed a revamping. Then another rumor circulated that the writing was so bad that the episode order went from six to four which left fans nervous that the show was getting close to actual cancelation.
All this begs the question, how concerned should we be about the upcoming Disney+ Obi-Wan series actually seeing the light of day?
Surprisingly… I’m not all that concerned which is strange considering some of the behind the scene drama with the majority of the Disney run Star Wars projects. Solo and The Rise of Skywalker both had their films lose directors and writers and it’s safe to say that the fan base is pretty divided on those films. Especially in the case of Rise of Skywalker. Rogue One, one of my favorite Star Wars movies ever, needed mass amounts of reshoots in order to fix the films ending which is why a number of trailer scenes don’t make it into the movie. Then you have the film trilogy that was handed to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, of Game of Thrones fame, that they backed out of due “not having enough time to do the trilogy justice” which was veiled speak for “we don’t want to deal with another property with toxic fandom”. The Disney years of Star Wars have been rocky at best leaving a large number of fans screaming for the head of Kathleen Kennedy. I personally would love to see Dave Filoni in charge as he’s George Lucas’s handpicked heir apparent, and who provided some of my favorite Star Wars stories with Clone Wars/Rebels/The Mandalorian, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Part of my unfounded optimism comes from Ewan McGregor himself. In a piece written by IGN, a website I completely trust, McGregor was asked about the suspended production during his Birds of Prey press tour and the answer given was rather comforting.
“I’ve read about eighty, ninety percent of what they’ve written so far, and it’s really, really good. Instead of shooting this August they just want to start shooting in January, that’s all. Nothing more dramatic than that.”
This can, of course, be perceived as an Obi-Wan Jedi mind trick set with the intentions of soothing our fears and getting us to look away from the supposed chaos, but I feel McGregor is being genuine here. This also falls kind of falls in line with Disney+’s plans to release both Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Wandavision ahead of schedule. This on top of the second season of The Mandalorian scheduled for this fall. It certainly appears that Disney wants to ensure that their programming is top-notch so if they need to fine-tune some scripts, why not take the time and do so. It’s not like the show had a set release date that I know of.
Adding to my comfort here is that despite all the turmoil behind the scenes on a number of key projects, no movie was actually canceled. Solo got Ron Howard. Rise of Skywalker got the return of JJ Abrams. Rogue One was a massive hit and really opened the door to what a live-action Star Wars project could be outside of the Skywalker Saga. On top of that, the Kenobi announcement was one of the marquee announcements during last year’s Disney Expo. McGregor had revealed that this was something he had been attached to for almost four years. The promise of this series brought in a ton of subscribers and is something fans have been begging for since the prequels wrapped. There is no way that Disney would just scrap the project entirely. It’s far too valuable and outside of D&D backing out, no other Star Wars project has been discarded. That’s a good sign.
And while the crew may have been sent home no one was fired. I didn’t read anywhere that writers were canned because the scripts were that bad. Debroah Chow, who immensely impressed during her Mandalorian episodes, is still the showrunner. I’ve seen nothing officially confirming the episode cuts. While the news of a production stoppage is alarming it also seems like par for the course in this Disney Star Wars era. And with Twitter, Reddit, and social media being a hotbed for drama, of course, people were going to freak out. Leave it to the internet to make a bigger deal out of something than is warranted.
Yes, you can roll your eyes and grumble that we’re going to have to wait a tad bit longer for this Obi-Wan series. Yes, you can use this to further your argument that Kathleen Kennedy’s tenure has been up and down at best. Yes, you can even stress about the scripts being subpar. What you shouldn’t stress about is the show’s cancellation. Kenobi isn’t going anywhere and nothing we’ve seen with how Disney handles Star Wars says otherwise. There is a historied philosophy here of “if we don’t like what you’re doing we’ll just replace you” while leaving the content. Has this always worked? That varies. The Star Wars fan base can be, uh, a bit volatile. Be mindful of your thoughts and let the anticipation build. You’ll be saying “hello there” to this long-awaited series in no time.