If Ben Kenobi had teamed up with a 10-year-old Luke Skywalker, the Star Wars fandom might have imploded. Although reactions to the Obi-Wan Kenobi series are somewhat mixed, hearing about the set-up for an earlier premise sounds like we all ended up in the correct timeline.
Here’s what Ewan McGregor said about the original Luke-centric premise for the show, and why it seems like what actually happened was so much better.
While appearing at FAN EXPO Boston on August 14, Ewan McGregor revealed that the original plan for Obi-Wan Kenobi was not to have Kenobi rescuing 10-year-old Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) from the clutches of the Inquisitors.
“It was going to be a story about me and Luke,” McGregor said, according to ComicBook.com. “It was always going to be that.”
McGregor claimed that at some point there was a “genius moment” where “everyone went ‘Wait a minute,' and then changed it.” It’s unclear if this “genius moment” occurred before or after Stuart Beattie's feature film version of the script, which would have had Inquisitor Reva dying to save Obi-Wan.
Although the character of Reva came from Beattie’s concept for a film version of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the final TV series version featured several changes to the arc of that character. In the original story outline, Reva doesn’t know Darth Vader is Anakin Skywalker and she also doesn’t survive her final encounter with Vader.
So, while it’s possible that series writer Joby Harold and director Deborah Chow decided to swap Luke for Leia, it’s not entirely clear when this decision was made.
The reveal that there could have been a lot more young Luke Skywalker in Obi-Wan Kenobi is not super surprising. Prior to the airing of the show, most fans assumed that after Revenge of the Sith, Old Ben never left Tatooine until the events of A New Hope. One of the most transgressive things that Obi-Wan Kenobi did was assert the idea that Ben went off on a mission to rescue Leia and then came back to watch over Luke.
While this played fast-and-loose with what we assumed Leia knew about Obi-Wan in the classic trilogy, this risk worked surprisingly well. Leia’s knowledge of the pseudonym “Ben” in A New Hope is now explicable, as is the fact that she named her son Ben Solo before The Force Awakens. Plus, the fact that Leia had zero screen time with Obi-Wan in the classic trilogy allows for a canon gap in which the show doesn’t generate any explicit contradictions.
This would have been the exact opposite with Luke. As it stands, the action of Obi-Wan Kenobi barely manages to hide 10-year-old Luke’s eyes from a Sith lightsaber, or the knowledge that Obi-Wan is an outright Jedi Knight. In a brief sequences in the sixth and final episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Uncle Owen (Joel Edgerton) has to outright lie to Luke, claiming that the Tusken Raiders are coming and not an Insquitor with a scary red lightsaber. In order to keep canon from breaking, Luke also has to be unconscious as Reva carries him back to the Lars family homestead.
If Obi-Wan and young Luke had gone on a bunch of adventures in Obi-Wan Kenobi, the continuity of A New Hope would have gotten even dicier than it already is. In A New Hope, Luke has fond, but hazy memories of Ben Kenobi. In terms of story, a Luke-centric Obi-Wan Kenobi series would have been forced to have Ben speaking in vague details most of the time, or to have Luke falling asleep or looking the other way whenever a lightsaber was pulled out.
In short, even if there is an Obi-Wan Kenobi Season 2, Luke’s hypothetical appearances would have to be limited. As Obi-Wan told Luke in Return of the Jedi, Leia remained “safely anonymous.” But, because Luke Skywalker kept his dad’s infamous last name, it’s probably best for future Star Wars stories to keep kid Luke on that farm as long as possible.
Obi-Wan Kenobi streams on Disney+.