Ever since Ewan McGregor made his final on-screen appearance as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, fans immediately started wondering when he’d return. This is the funny thing about Star Wars fandom: Even though we know Obi-Wan pretty much sat around in the desert for 20 years in between the prequels and the classic films, we still want to see that thumb-twiddling happening. Does this have to do with the likability of Ewan McGregor? The reverence for the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi? The need for hardcore fans to see familiar robed figures standing around in the desert? We’re not sure, but one thing is clear: Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi absolutely should return for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Otherwise, the movie won’t really be wrapping up the saga at all.
Speculation for Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker follows.
Back in 2017, news broke that Ewan McGregor was 100 percent for sure coming back as Obi-Wan in a standalone anthology film. This was never confirmed, but we were all pretty excited about it, anyway. McGregor has since debunked the idea he’s coming back to the part, which didn’t stop rumors about an Obi-Wan Kenobi TV show being developed for Disney+ to emerge from the ether this spring. Will this TV show happen? Has anyone even talked to McGregor about it? Who cares! All we really need is Ewan in Rise of Skywalker.
Because The Rise of Skywalker is billed as the end of a nine-part story that begins with Episode I: The Phantom Menace, it would be odd if the only major character in both movies was cackling-old Emperor Palpatine. Because Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor) appears in all three prequels and all three classic films (played by Sir Alec Guinness), having his Force ghost appear in The Rise of Skywalker seems like the most obvious way to pay tribute to the entire saga. Plus, both McGregor and Guinness have already taken part in one film of the new trilogy, too. In The Force Awakens, during Rey’s “Force-back” vision, a voice sample of the late Alec Guinness was used that was manipulated to sound like he was saying “Rey!” while Ewan McGregor came into the studio for one day to record the line: “These are your first steps.”
So, in Rey’s first movie, and the beginning of the sequel trilogy, Obi-Wan Kenobi spoke directly to her, meaning, not only would it be cool for the character to return in The Rise of Skywalker, it would also make sense. Why did Obi-Wan’s spirit talk to Rey specifically? Now, there’s no reason for anyone to dredge up those played-out “Rey-Is-Really-a-Kenobi” theories, because, at this point, that kind of last-minute revelation would just be irresponsible. But, having Obi-Wan’s spirit speak directly to Rey seems like a total win.
The other way to think about this is using Ewan McGregor in flashbacks. If we’re supposed to believe this one movie wraps up the whole saga, then it stands to reason we could see something of Obi-Wan’s exile on Tatooine in a flashback sequence. After all, Rey doesn’t necessarily have the whole picture of what the galaxy was like before she was born, but maybe, thanks to reading those texts, she might see into the past more clearly.
Imagine this: Rey turns the pages of the old Jedi text and, suddenly, we’re back on Tatooine, and Obi-Wan is just hanging out in his hut, conversing with Qui-Gon Jinn’s ghost about how the Force needs to get balanced. Admit it, you got chills just thinking about that.
J.J. Abrams said he wants to “unite” all three Star Wars trilogies with The Rise of Skywalker. And the best way to do that is with Obi-Wan Kenobi stopping by and saying, “Hello there.” Of all the things that would make Star Wars fans happy, this would be the biggest and most welcome surprise the movie could drop. After all, no one’s ever really gone. Not even Ewan.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.