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Joby Harold has reportedly been tapped to write the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi “Star Wars” series on Disney+. Variety reported that Harold will take over writing duties on the mysterious series from Hossein Amini, who exited the show in January. Sources close to production confirmed Variety's report with IndieWire.
Few details are known about the upcoming Obi-Wan series, though prequel trilogy star Ewan McGregor is confirmed to reprise his role as the beloved Jedi. Deborah Chow, who directed two of the best episodes of “The Mandalorian,” will direct the Obi-Wan series.
Harold most recently executive produced “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.” Whether this means that McGregor's Obi-Wan will have the unique pleasure of killing a Stormtrooper with a pencil remains to be seen, but Harold also served as an executive producer on “Edge of Tomorrow” and wrote Zack Snyder's upcoming “Army of the Dead” Netflix zombie film, which is scheduled to release this winter.
The upcoming Obi-Wan series will mark Harold's first TV writing credit.
While Harold's hiring indicates that work on the Obi-Wan series is progressing, the news follows what has been a rocky few months for the highly-anticipated project. The series reportedly suffered from script issues in January and crew were allegedly told that the series had been indefinitely delayed. It is unclear how drastically current events — which have disrupted wide swaths of the entertainment industry — will impact work on the Obi-Wan series.
The Obi-Wan series isn't the only Disney+ project that has suffered from behind-the-scenes turmoil: Production on Hilary Duff's “Lizzie McGuire” revival was halted in February, and Duff indicated that Disney was reluctant to allow the series to explore mature elements.
The untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi series is one of several “Star Wars” television shows that will exclusively stream on Disney+. The House of Mouse's platform hit the ground running with its “Mandalorian” tentpole, which is expected to release its second season in October. Filming on that series has already wrapped and its release date is not expected to be impacted by current events.
Disney+ is also working on a live-action Cassian Andor series, which will center on Diego Luna's character from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” The platform is also streaming the seventh and final season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”
Disney+ may benefit from further delays with the studio's theatrical releases as more movies may be going directly to the streaming service in the future. This, according to former Disney CEO and current Executive Chairman Bob Iger. It was recently revealed that Artemis Fowl will debut on Disney+ sometime this year, skipping a theatrical release. As Iger explains, that may not be the only title to make the move from theatrical to streaming, but don't expect to see it happen with the studio's upcoming tentpole releases.
Given what's going on in the world right now, most movie theaters are shut down entirely and virtually all major releases through June have been delayed. Some have wondered if Disney might put movies like Black Widow or Mulan on Disney+ instead. While that won't be happening, Bob Iger isn't ruling out other movies making the shift. Here's what Iger had to say about it in a recent interview.'There are some we've decided to put on Disney+. We already announced one, Artemis Fowl, that would have been released in theaters. Others we've simply delayed. In some cases we've moved things onto Disney+ faster than we would have. Frozen 2 was one of them, but Onward would be the biggest example. It was in theaters when this happened.' 'We moved to a pay-per-view period for a couple of weeks where people could buy it and own it. And then we ended up putting it on Disney+. In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we'll simply wait for slots. In some cases we've announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar.'
There is a lot to unpack here. Black Widow and several other delayed movies were recently given new release dates as Disney reshuffled its 2020/2021 calendar. Black Widow and other big-budget tentpoles stand to make far more money in theaters, even with a relatively uncertain future ahead, than they could possibly generate via streaming. So putting movies like them directly on Disney+ doesn't make that much business sense.
In the meantime, taking riskier projects such as Artemis Fowl and giving Disney+ subscribers something flashy and exclusive is helpful. But what other movies might fit the bill for streaming debuts? The New Mutants perhaps? Whatever the case, as Bob Iger points out, the studio is content to wait until things return to normal. Disney, more than any other studio in Hollywood, is capable of raking in big dollars at the box office. So this truly isn't that surprising.
Other studios, on the other hand, may see value in doing a VOD/Digital release. Universal kicked that door wide open a couple of weeks back by putting recent releases such as The Invisible Man and The Hunt online. Trolls: World Tour, which was destined for theaters, will arrive digitally this month. Disney has not yet set a premiere date for Artemis Fowl, but it's...