It is well known that Lucasfilm had planned a movie centered on Obi-Wan Kenobi before turning it into a TV series. But in a new interview with The Direct, Obi-Wan Kenobi writer Stuart Beattie reveals that the studio actually wanted to make a trilogy of Obi-Wan movies set between Episodes III and IV.
Although he has writing credits on the series, Beattie technically didn’t work on it. He wrote a script for the first movie of the then-planned Obi-Wan trilogy:
“I wrote the film that they based the show on. So, yeah. I spent like a year, year-and-a-half working on it. And then, when the decision was made not to make any more spin-off films after Solo came out, I left the project and went on to other things. Joby [Harold] came on and took my scripts and turned it from two hours into six. So, I did not work with them at all, I just got credit for the episodes because it was all my stuff.”
“So when I pitched my Obi-Wan story to Lucasfilm, I said, ‘There’s actually three stories here. Because there’s three different evolutions that the character has to make in order to go from Obi-Wan to Ben.’ And the first one was the first movie, which was the show, which was, ‘Surrender to the will of the Force. Transport your will, surrender your will. Leave the kid alone.’ So then, the second [movie] was thinking about where Kenobi ends up. And one of the most powerful and probably the most powerful moment in all of Obi-Wan’s story is that moment where he sacrifices himself in A New Hope. Great moment, you know, makes you cry. But, if you stop and think about it, it’s a pretty sudden thing, to just kind of go be fighting a guy, to see Luke and go, ‘I’m gonna die.’ You know, that to me, that required forethought. That required pre-acceptance that this was going to happen.”
“So again, it’s one of those universal things we all struggle with, to come to terms with our own mortality. So, that was the second step of the evolution for me, that Obi-Wan now has to come to terms with his own mortality, somehow in a prophecy, or Qui-Gon telling him, ‘There’s going to come a moment where you’re gonna have to sacrifice yourself for the good,’ And then [Obi-Wan] is like, ‘What? No, no, no, no, I’m here to help… I can’t, no.’ And get him to that point where Obi Wan has accepted the idea that he’s going to die, and that he’s going to die willingly at a crucial moment, and you will know when that moment presents itself. So that when that moment comes up in [A New Hope], you understand. He’s recognizing he’s been on this journey already, and he’s waiting for this moment, and that’s how he’s able to make it so easily. To do this [sacrifice], and die. So that to me was the second evolution, the second film, the second story. So for me, if I have anything to do with the second season of Obi Wan, that’s the character evolution that I would take him on. That, to me, is really interesting. And like I said, universal.”
Beattie claims that both Lucasfilm and Obi-Wan actor Ewan McGregor wanted to do the trilogy he had pitched.
“Oh absolutely. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, Ewan was on board, everyone. We were like, ‘Yeah, ready to go.’ And we were so excited about it, too… It’s a great story to tell, right? It’s such a fitting character and Ewan is just so fantastic at it. And he’s the perfect age, everything.”
“It just was dying to be done. You know, unfortunately, it’s just, it was Solo that changed the direction of the system. I like Solo, personally, but it hadn’t made a lot of money. It is crazy in some ways to think about it how it [was directed by] of the best filmmakers working today. But, just because it didn’t hit a certain number, they just had to rethink. And, again, way above my paygrade, but it certainly crushed us. Devastated, absolutely devastated. But, that’s the business, you know, highs and lows. I’m glad it got made. I’m glad the show got made. I’m proud of my story that [got] told. I’m glad my characters are all through it. And I’m glad I got credit for it. I wish, I wish they’d been able to make my movies.”
Beattie specifies that he didn’t write treatments for the second and third movies before moving on:
“No, just the first. Because they hadn’t hired me to do the others yet, ’cause I was busy working on the first one.”