The Star Wars franchise is the birthplace of some of cinema's most popular characters. Everyone can quote at least one line from Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker. Obi-Wan Kenobi has become arguably more popular than all the rest, thanks to his established importance in the franchise's overarching story and revitalization of the character through the prequels. Obi-Wan's popularity has been solidified now that there's word the character may get his very own film in the Star Wars anthology film series, or, at the very least, make an appearance in Star Wars Episode IX. It's something fans have been expecting since at least 2012, when Disney purchased the rights to the franchise.
Among the plethora of rumors concerning an Obi-Wan standalone film, it was recently floated that such a film is actually being developed for Disney's streaming service, which will debut in 2019. That rumor follows an announcement made by unidentified sources representing Lucasfilm, stating that early reports of Disney halting plans for future standalone films were inaccurate. Assuming that most, if not all these rumors have a grain of truth, it appears that Disney is perhaps not as confident now about a solo Obi-Wan film as the fans -- if they ever were. So, just how seriously are studio executives taking the development of this standalone film?
To answer that, we have to look at the money, which is what any industry tends to listen to above everything else. In this context, all this may come as little surprise considering the recent failure of Solo: A Star Wars Story. The film reportedly cost approximately $300 million dollars to make and since its release one month ago, it has failed to break even, grossing just a little over $350 million dollars at the box office worldwide. Even though one could easily make the argument that there were other factors contributing to the film's poor performance -- poor timing and marketing being chief among them -- the numbers remain understandably discouraging.
For fans, the performance of Solo is not at all relevant when discussing the potential of an Obi-Wan film since, unlike the former, there seems to be an immense demand. And it's clear why. Obi-Wan (played by Alec Guiness), like the rest of the principal characters of the original trilogy, is incredibly popular. He featured the only lightsaber duel in A New Hope (directed by George Lucas) and is incredibly quotable. Then the prequel trilogy happened and Ewan McGregor, with his masterful performance, was able to breathe new life into the character, earning praise from fans. It's easy enough in the age of the Internet to find proof of his popularity in the sheer number of memes alone.
But just in case you're looking for something a little more substantial, you could also take a look at the number of times Ewan McGregor has been asked about a return to the role in interviews over the years, because that's something fans all over want to know: Will we ever see Ewan McGregor return as Obi-Wan? No one can say for certain, however, McGregor himself has always been incredibly transparent in his enthusiasm and willingness to play Obi-Wan again should the opportunity arise.
The actor's willingness is a great thing to see for fans, especially when there's to be a film built around his character. However, the actor alone -- however great -- is not enough to make an Obi-Wan film worthwhile. It takes care and commitment from studios and creative minds, which is difficult to gauge when it come to any film in the franchise that isn't a part of the main saga. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (directed by Gareth Edwards) was an undeniably brilliant start for the Star Wars anthology series. It was properly marketed and was praised for its ability to build compelling characters and a thrilling plot around a relatively minor detail from A New Hope.