For a movie that never actually got officially announced, it feels like we’ve been hearing about the prospect of a Star Wars spinoff film starring Ewan McGregor as the galaxy’s favorite Jedi-in-Exile, Obi-Wan Kenobi, forever. That’s mainly thanks to all the times people have peppered McGregor with questions about his return to the galaxy far, far away.
Even as the film itself has grown from “speculative” to “really happening” to “maybe cancelled” to “god knows what’s going on any more,” McGregor’s own nebulous doubt about an Obi-Wan movie is perhaps the only consistent aspect about coverage of the alleged project since it was first rumored back in 2014. Here’s a running record of McGregor throwing water on one of the most persistent rumors to come out of the Disney era of Star Wars.
McGregor discussing the possibility (or lack thereof) of an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie actually began a year prior to the initial Making Star Wars rumor about a Kenobi spinoff, when he pitched the idea of an exiled Obi-Wan film to MTV news in February of 2013:
I think it’s a good idea. The only bit that I could get away with doing is after the last one I made, Episode III, before Alec Guinness, there’s that period where he’s in the desert.
That might be my window, there, to tell that story. I don’t know what he did in the desert. We could make up some stuff. I’d be up for it, could be quite exciting. I’d be up for it, for sure, of course.
Over the next few years McGregor was relatively quiet when it came to Star Wars, until the rumors evolved from not just one movie but a whole trilogy, leading to McGregor discussing the topic again at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2015—once again, positive but non-committal:
I’d be happy to do the story from episodes three where I finish up and Alec Guinness starts.
That’s a trend that would carry on for another year or so, as rumors about the film died down—even as McGregor himself stoked them with repeated positive comments—until McGregor eventually clarified to Collider in April 2016 that a film wasn’t happening, and he was just politely responding to a press question that just wouldn’t stop showing up:
If they asked me to, I would be happy to. But it looks like I am campaigning for it, just because I get asked about it, all the time. So, I would like it to be known that I don’t bring it up, at these interviews, of my own free will. I only respond to questions I’m asked to. I don’t know anything about it. They’ve never approached me about it.
And this is the comfortable pattern McGregor has settled into pretty much ever since. Here he is talking to Entertainment Weekly last year, for example:
There’s no official offer, and I haven’t met them about it or anything. But I’ve always said that I’d be happy to do it if they wanted to do it. It would be a good segue between the last episode of the prequels and the new episodes. I think they’ve got films to make until the 2020s, so I don’t think it’s going to happen soon if it happens at all.
And then, once again at the Golden Globes at the start of this year, talking to the Hollywood Reporter in the wake of its reporting about Billy Elliot’s Stephen Daldry being linked to the project:
There’s a lot of talk, and I’d be happy to play him again, but I don’t know anything more than you do.
McGregor has remained similarly vague even as increasing rumormongering about the start of production on an Obi-Wan movie goes on—and even that brief moment when it was reported it wasn’t happening at all. That brings us to McGregor’s most recent comments about the film, as he continued press rounds for his role in another Disney movie, Christopher Robin. They’re all pretty similar, it’s just now that instead of politely complimenting The Last Jedi after his comments, he’s complimenting Solo. Here’s USA Today, for example:
I don’t know anything more than you do. I’d still be happy to do it. I haven’t seen a script. I don’t know that they’re planning to do it. I hope they do. And I thought Solo was fine. I liked it.
And here he is speaking on The View a few weeks ago about the possibility—a little more firm, adding once more that there are “no plans” to make an Obi-Wan movie right now on top of his usual willingness:
I would totally do it, of course. There’s no plans, as such, to do it as far as I know.
Basically, we’re pretty much where we were all those years ago when McGregor first pondered the idea of an Obi-Wan spinoff, and the idea of 15 hojillion Star Wars movies was just a twinkle in Kathleen Kennedy’s eye: He’d love to do it, but there’s been no official word yet.
How much longer can we keep getting these updates? Well, we’ve had several years of them now. What’s the harm in a few more as Lucasfilm slowly but surely works through its post-Episode IX slate?