Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi series won’t be like the book

STAR WARS: EPISODE IV - A NEW HOPE Obi-Wan Kenobi/Ben Kenobi ( Alec Guinness). PHOTO: Lucasfilm.
STAR WARS: EPISODE IV - A NEW HOPE Obi-Wan Kenobi/Ben Kenobi ( Alec Guinness). PHOTO: Lucasfilm. /

 Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is just over two months away, and many fans of the franchise are wondering how much of the story will parallel the Star Wars book Kenobi, which also follows Obi-Wan’s journey after Revenge of the Sith.

John Jackson Miller’s 2013 novel was one of the last Star Wars titles to be published in what is now called “Legends” — a category that includes everything published in the Star Wars timeline before 2014. Kenobi is no longer technically considered “canon,” which just means things like the upcoming series can override any storytelling from before Disney acquired Lucasfilm.

Obi-Wan Kenobi can and should draw certain themes from Miller’s novel, which takes place after Kenobi leaves Luke with Owen and Beru on Tatooine. But it shouldn’t rely too heavily on that story. In fact, it’s likely to stray from it completely, and that’s a good thing.

There are things from Kenobi that may make it into the show — Obi-Wan talking to Qui-Gon through his mental and emotional struggles, for example, or possibly his interactions with Tusken Raiders as a contrast or parallel to Boba Fett’s journey in The Book of Boba Fett.

But major plot points simply wouldn’t translate to the particular story Lucasfilm seems to be telling — based on what we know from the trailer, anyway. Obi-Wan won’t stay on Tatooine. He may interact with locals, but his entire story likely won’t be tied up in a small-town Tatooine conflict. This worked exceptionally well for Kenobi since it followed a traditional Western storytelling framework. But that doesn’t appear to be the exact route the show will follow, and perhaps that’s for the best.

Additionally, John Jackson Miller’s story, though not technically “canon,” is still a unique, compelling read that deserves to stand on its own. Many Star Wars books are good enough to be adapted into shows, but most are not designed to be. On-screen and from-the-page Star Wars stories are very different, and in general, adapting a book into a show has the potential to undo some of the magic that comes from turning the pages of a story born to be read. This isn’t to say that a Star Wars book will never become a show or movie. Kenobi is simply an example of a story that should be left in its original form.

Obi-Wan Kenobi stars Ewan McGregor with appearances by Hayden Christensen and Kumail Nanjiani and is directed by Deborah Chow, who previously directed an episode of The Mandalorian. The series is set to premiere May 25, 2022 exclusively on Disney+.

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