Obi-Wan series delay could be bad news for Disney Plus

(Image credit: Disney)

Bad news for fans of Star Wars, Disney Plus, and Ewan McGregor. The Disney Plus exclusive Obi-Wan series has been reportedly put on hold, and its production crew has been sent home.

According to Collider, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy is reportedly “not happy” with the scripts of the untitled Obi-Wan series starring the Scottish actor Ewan McGregor. The show will narrate the adventures of the Jedi Master between Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (the Star Wars movie timeline is getting really complex).

The current reported timeline will explore the adventures of Obi-Wan eight years after he held the high ground against Anakin Skywalker on Episode III. The series — which reportedly started as an idea for a standalone movie — have been written by Hossein Amini (who penned the movie Drive) and director Deborah Chow (who did a great job on The Mandalorian). 

Here’s what Collider had to say:

Two independent sources with knowledge of the situation tell Collider that the Obi-Wan series has been put on hold, as the crew that had assembled at Pinewood Studios in London was sent home. A timeframe was not given, but the crew was told that the show would be down “indefinitely.”

The good news: the show has not been cancelled. It’s only being delayed probably until the summer, after the scripts are reworked. McGregor responded to the production rumors in a recent interview with ET, claiming that "the scripts are really, really good. They want to make them better."

This may be a case of stage fright: after the success of The Mandalorian, Kennedy may not want to risk another tepidly-received project like Solo. But, in doing this, Disney Plus is risking a major setback.

These are not the subscribers you are looking for

The problem is that Disney Plus is losing momentum.

After the end of The Mandalorian, the streaming service lost a lot of subscribers who signed up to see the adventures of Mando and Baby Yoda. You could argue that The Mandalorian was the critical success that Disney Plus needed on the launch pad to get the ship to orbit. And now that there isn't another high-profile show to keep interest up, the spaceship is stalling.

Sure, there are plenty of families who will keep the Disney Plus service for its immense catalog of classic titles and series. They need something to plug their kids into — and Netflix‘s kids offering is a mixed bag of great stuff and garbage. Disney Plus has those people covered and offers a great value.

But the catalog has little appeal for people who want to see new stuff. After all, you can only watch all the Marvel movies so many times and in so many ways. Or all the Star Wars movies and series. That’s why The Mandalorian was so exciting and why people are now eager to watch series like Obi-Wan or Loki.

The fact is that Disney was already in trouble because it already had an almost empty slate for 2020 for both Star Wars and Marvel titles. Aside from the new season of The Clone Wars animated series coming in February, there’s arguably nothing new worth seeing until The Mandalorian Season 2 and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier come out this fall.

And that, in the ultra-competitive Streaming Wars, may be a real problem.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.