There have long been rumors of an Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff, but finally Lucasfilm look set to work on that intriguing premise. Only a few days ago, we learned the studio is in early discussions with Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Crown) to produce the film, and fans immediately began to clamor for Ewan McGregor's return to the role.
His return would be easiest if the film were set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, telling an untold tale of Kenobi's exile to the desert planet Tatooine. In surprising news, Omega Underground has just revealed the movie's working title — and it implies we may be getting just that!
An Intriguing Working Title: 'Joshua Tree'
According to Omega Underground, the #Kenobi spinoff is filming under the working title Joshua Tree. Now, it's worth noting that Omega Underground has a good history reporting these working titles — they called it with The Last Jedi and the Han Solo spinoff, after all. So we can be fairly confident they're right about this one, too. But what is a Joshua Tree, and why has Lucasfilm chosen this enigmatic working title?
Properly known as the yucca brevifolia, the Joshua Tree is a distinctive tree that grows in the arid southwestern United States. It was given its common name by Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the 19th century; its unique shape reminded the Mormons of the Biblical tale of Joshua raising his hands in prayer. Surprisingly, when you do a little digging, you'll find that the Joshua Tree has two strong links to the planet Tatooine. That's because it's found in Southern California, in the desert environments Lucas used to shoot the desert world.
The first link is Joshua Tree National Park, which is situated close to Death Valley and has the same kind of arid environment. The second — and more amusing — link is through the band U2. Their album "Joshua Tree" famously used shots from Death Valley's Zabriskie Point on its cover. And Zabriskie Point was actually the location Lucas used to create Tatooine back in the 1970s, when he filmed A New Hope.
The Joshua Tree is found in Southern California, in the desert environments Lucas used to shoot the desert world of Tatooine.
It seems pretty clear that this working title is a quiet admission on Lucasfilm's part; the Kenobi spinoff will be set on Tatooine. If that's the case, Ewan McGregor himself is sure to be delighted; earlier this year, he suggested Lucasfilm should explore this chapter of Obi-Wan's life.
"I’ve always thought there was a story to tell between my last one and Alec Guinness’ first one... It would be fun to film that story now I’m older. I’d be the right age. I’m forty-five, Alec Guinness was what, sixty? I could do two of them!"
Lucasfilm Need To Be Very Careful
This may be an exciting prospect, but Lucasfilm need to tread very carefully. We have to remember that Kenobi's self-imposed exile to Tatooine had a purpose; he was there to guard the infant Luke Skywalker, who he believed to be the galaxy's last hope against the Empire. In fact, a recent episode of #StarWarsRebels showed Darth Maul successfully track Kenobi to Tatooine. As Maul lay dying at Kenobi's feet, the Jedi Master comforted his opponent by assuring the one-time Sith that he was here protecting the Chosen One. Understandably disillusioned with Anakin after the events of Revenge of the Sith, Kenobi had come to believe that Anakin's son was the actual Chosen One. His exile wasn't an inconvenience; it was an essential role, one that Kenobi took very seriously indeed.
All this means Lucasfilm need a very smart script for the Kenobi film. If it's set on Tatooine, then the character will need to be very carefully managed; what kind of events would force Kenobi to break his self-imposed exile? Why would he risk wielding a lightsaber, when any mention of a Jedi on Tatooine would bring the Empire's agents to the desert planet? Remember: He can't risk the infant Luke being discovered by the Empire. And he'd have rightly deduced that Imperial agents were scouring the galaxy looking for Force-sensitive children.
There is an easy solution, though. A New Hope showed an intriguing character dynamic between Owen Lars and Obi-Wan; significantly, Owen forbade Luke going anywhere near the old hermit. Is it possible that, early in Luke's childhood, something Obi-Wan did somehow put Luke in danger? That the recklessness that we saw time and again in The Clone Wars animated series — as much a part of Obi-Wan as his old apprentice, Anakin — brought the Empire to Tatooine, and almost saw Luke and Obi-Wan found by Darth Vader's agents? Over in the Star Wars comics, Jason Aaron has already penned a minor tale of Tatooine that he clearly intended to fill this specific narrative gap, but that doesn't discount the possibility Lucasfilm could yet revisit this idea.
So it looks as though the Kenobi spinoff is indeed set in between the trilogies, and features an older Obi-Wan Kenobi. If that's the case, we can eagerly assume Lucasfilm is currently in discussion with Ewan McGregor, hoping he'll reprise his dearly-loved role. What's more, a smart script could make this a powerful part of the Star Wars universe, drawing a focus on the infant Luke and his future role as the galaxy's last hope.
[Source: Omega Underground]