Obi-Wan Kenobi is returning to the high ground. After a production beleaguered by obstacles, Disney announced a cast list for the upcoming Star Wars spinoff Obi-Wan Kenobi, along with the news of production beginning this April.
While some of the cast members are already known, like Hayden Christensen reprising his role as Anakin Skywalker, some new but familiar faces are along for the ride as well — and they seem to confirm a huge appearance in the series that could change Star Wars forever.
The News — Several actors have been announced for the new Star Wars show, including the previously rumored Indira Varma. Other notable names include Kumail Nanjiani, Rupert Friend, Sung Kang, and director Ben Safdie in some unknown co-starring role.
But two of the returning actors for the Kenobi series are already familiar Star Wars faces: Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse, presumably reprising their roles as Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru.
Cry Uncle — Edgerton and Piesse have been busy since they appeared in the Star Wars prequels. Edgerton branched out into working behind the camera, and wrote, directed, and starred in both The Gift and Boy Erased. Piesse got caught up in the notorious NXIVM cult, left, and helped dismantle it, as documented in HBO’s The Vow. But they’re finally returning to their Star Wars roots in Obi-Wan Kenobi, presumably reprising their roles.
Obi-Wan Kenobi was previously announced as a spin-off focusing on the years Obi-Wan spent as a hermit on Tatooine. Presumedly, he lived a reclusive life, since Luke was only tangentially aware of Obi-Wan’s “Ben Kenobi” alias by the time they met in A New Hope.
But just because Luke Skywalker doesn’t remember interacting with Obi-Wan, it doesn’t mean Obi-Wan wasn’t involved in Luke’s.
Return of the Jedi, Again — It’s confirmed in A New Hope that Owen and Beru knew Luke’s true identity, as they reference his father. With this news that they’ll appear in Obi-Wan Kenobi, it could mean they know much more than first thought. If they have regular interactions with Obi-Wan, they would know just how powerful Luke truly is.
Not only that, this cast announcement means we’ll almost certainly see a young Luke Skywalker running around Owen’s moisture farm. With no live-action portrayal of Luke between the prequels and the original trilogy, he could be primed to have his own “Phantom Menace Ani” moment.
It’s likely we’ll soon see a cast announcement for a young Luke, unless the series doubles down on the Mandalorian cameo and digitally de-ages Mark Hamill down to a child. Stranger things have happened.
(Actually, they haven’t. That would be extremely strange.)
The Inverse Analysis — With a young Luke, you can count on all the precociousness of Jake Lloyd as Anakin mixed with Luke’s classic “Tosche Station power converters” energy. It sounds like a nightmare, but the right actor could supply the core to Obi-Wan’s lost years — not to mention supply us, the viewer, with an emotional connection of our own.
After establishing Star Wars as a sophisticated sci-fi television powerhouse with The Mandalorian, maybe what the franchise needs is a return to its goofy family-friendly roots. Baby Yoda might not grace on our screens again for a while, which makes this the perfect time to introduce a new Force-sensitive youngling — or reintroduce, as the case would be with Luke.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is expected to stream on Disney+ in 2022.