Only a week after rumors began circulating of trouble behind the scenes of Disney+'s live-action Star Wars spinoff Obi-Wan, the Ewan McGregor-starrer has been shut down "indefinitely" (though not cancelled) and that the production crew assembled at London's Pinewood Studios was sent home. Based on reporting from several news sites, McGregor and director Deborah Chow remain attached, but the episode count is being reduced from 6 to 4 chapters. In addition, a search is underway for writers to replace departing scribe Hossein Amini (Drive).
One reason given for the pause in production was that Lucasfilm president and Obi-Wan producer Kathleen Kennedy was not satisfied with the scripts. A source stated that the storyline for Obi-Wan involving the lead character serving as a mentor to a young Luke and/or Leia was skewing too close to The Mandalorian-The Child aka "Baby Yoda" dynamic.
Now we're hearing from McGregor himself, who spoke to Variety at a Birds of Prey fan event about the matter. While McGregor seems to want to downplay the delay any issues involving scripts ("But it's not really as dramatic as it might seem"), he does give a more exact (if not official) timeframe for production:
"I think we start shooting early next year as opposed to summer this year. I think the scripts are great. They're in really good shape. They want them to be better. I think we keep our same airdate. All good."
The move comes over three months after Amini was announced as writer and Chow was set to move from directing two episodes of The Mandalorian to a turn in the director's chair for the Disney+ live-action Star Wars spinoff series. McGregor returns as the Jedi Master for Lucasfilm's now 4 episode limited series, though it wasn't clear how many episodes Chow would direct.
Heading into the Star Wars universe, Chow's directorial "geek cred" was already established by directing and working on series such as American Gods, Better Call Saul, Lost in Space, Jessica Jones, Reign, and Mr. Robot.
The Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi series is the third live-action series on the streamer's programming slate. The Mandalorian premiered when the streaming service debuted November 2019. The third project is a Rogue One prequel series (still untitled) focusing on Deigo Luna's Rebel Alliance officer Cassian Andor.