I know that it might seem like a lot to expect James Earl Jones, Liam Neeson and Natalie Portman to all have cameos in Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I have a case to make.
Warning: Spoilers for existing Star Wars Content in general, including but not limited to Clone Wars, Mandalorian, Book of Boba Fett, Jedi: Fallen: Order, and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith ahead.
For one thing, we know Disney/Lucasfilm has its folks maintain strict secrecy on Star Wars in general, usually very successfully.
Grogu (a.k.a., Baby Yoda) was kept secret. People anticipated Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano, Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett, and, to a lesser extent, Katee Sackhoff appearing as Bo-Katan Kryze in Mandalorian, but they were all kept secret. So, epically, was Mark Hamill returning as Luke Skywalker in the same season, let alone him appearing beside Ahsoka (and with R2-D2) in Boba Fett, in which Cad Bane’s appearance was also kept secret.
For Obi-Wan, stars Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen certainly had to keep a lid on it for a long time, especially the former. So, we can bet there will be some big surprises.
Frankly, I also needed a sanity break from writing constantly about Ukraine, so let me lay out the case for each of the main three stars I am predicting are likely to appear.
Why James Earl Jones could be in Obi-Wan Kenobi
Let’s just be honest: there would be OUTRAGE if anyone else other than James Earl Jones himself voiced Darth Vader with his helmet and suit on. He has been working lately even in his old age, and I cannot fathom Disney/Lucasfilm not making the obvious call here, especially since it would be all voice acting and easier for the aged yet legendary actor. Need I say more?
Why Liam Neeson could be in Obi-Wan Kenobi
In Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith we have Yoda’s famous final lines in the entire movie to Obi-Wan are about how Obi-Wan can reconnect with Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn, his old dead master, so it would even be odd to not deal with that, almost an elephant-in-the-room to ignore it.
And Neeson already returned in two stellar arcs of the overall stellar Star Wars: The Clone Wars series (the last arc setting up Yoda’s big lines to Obi-Wan at the end of Revenge of the Sith), so I wouldn’t be surprised if he “communes” with Obi-Wan in this series, as Yoda intended (“Qui-Gonn?!” a surprised Obi-Wan exclaims; “How to commune with him, I will teach you,” answers Yoda, the last lines for each character in the entire Prequel Trilogy).
Why Natalie Portman could be in Obi-Wan Kenobi
As the star of her own big Marvel MCU movie in Thor: Love and Thunder, we know Portman is in good with Disney. If they decided to ask the actress who played Padmé Amidala, the love of Anakin Skywalker’s life (including as Vader: the canon comics now have him obsessed with Padmé post-transformation, as does the VR game Vader Immortal) to pop in for one scene, flashback or dream, or simply to record some voice-lines to bounce around Vader’s tormented headspace, how could Portman she say no??
From all the interviews being given about the show, it seems we will get some idea of what is going on in Vader’s head during this series, and that is likely to have some glimpse of Padme, even if just a voice-over. And how can we not expect Padmé to come up one way or another? If she is mentioned and on the minds of the writers and showrunners, how hard would it be for her to appear visually or audibly as I mentioned? The answer is, not hard at all.
With Neeson or Portman
With Neeson or Portman, we might just get a voice (obviously with Jones, that is all we would get) or a flashback or a dream, but I would not rule out something that happens during the time of the series involving Neeson actually communicating with Obi-Wan, maybe even with Vader (how insane would that be???), as (maybe?) happened in the Clone Wars’ epic Mortis arc when Anakin was still Anakin.
Also, for various reasons, we could see glimpses of Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine, someone as young Ashoka (maybe Dawson, maybe not; maybe Ashley Eckstein’s voice?), Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa (Luke’s sister Leia’s adoptive father), Cameron Monaghan as Cal Kestis, Debra Wilson as Cere Junda (the last two from one of the best story-driven video games of my lifetime, Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order), and Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera, all who should be (likely) be running around doing something.
After all, we have Kenobi in the first series trailer telling someone or someones “we lost” [emphasis mine], and their possible appearances would probably be in some brief holo transmission and that would likely be it (anything more would distract, at this point, from what should be the focus of this show). And no one would be surprised too much by a quick holo transmission to any of the Jedi in hiding or rebel sleeper cells or agents (covering Bail and Saw). But I think the theoretical (Jones being virtually certain) cameos that are likely to have the biggest impact on the series are the three I highlighted today.
I know I was off in my last piece for Dork Side with Aurra Sing before when it came to Boba Fett, but I also feel that can still happen in future Lucasfilm live-action content related to Boba Fett (but hey, I did raise the possibility of a Cad Bane appearance in Boba; oh, yeah, maybe he will be hunting Kenobi for the Empire in this Kenobi series?
The two have ample history, and I wouldn’t be surprised, but that’s a whole other discussion [I am not convinced he is in one of the trailers, as some have stated]. But for the three predictions outlined above, they make even more sense and are more tied to the material, so I feel confident there’s a good chance for not just two out of the three, but all three coming true.
How wizard would that be?
(Also, be sure to check out my recommendation for the best way to watch the Clone Wars finale arc alongside Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in prep for Kenobi!)