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The last chunk of 2020 was a huge one was Star Wars fans, with The Mandalorian's second season bringing a bunch of beloved characters to live-action TV for the first time, and with Disney+ announcing a variety of new TV projects and spinoffs that are on the way. With all the newness to anticipate, from the live-action Book of Boba Fett to the animated adventure The Bad Batch, it might be easy to forget the Obi-Wan Kenobi series that's still on the way. But it's definitely coming, and Ewan McGregor's filming location confirmation indicates the new show will be more like The Mandalorian than George Lucas' prequel trilogy in certain ways.
While speaking with comedian Eddie Izzard, Ewan McGregor naturally got into some Star Wars talk, with the Obi-Wan TV show having been on the table for quite a while by this point. He first revealed when and where the limited series will be filming, which was the first tipoff that the Disney+ project wasn't following in the prequel's footsteps. Here's how McGregor put it in the Twitter video that Izzard shared:
We start making it in the late spring and we're gonna be shooting it here in L.A. and not -- it's so funny, every week, there's a new report. My dad was sending me links, saying, 'Hey, I thought you were shooting it in L.A..,' because there's another tabloid expose that we're shooting it in some bizarre town somewhere. Then we're meant to be making it in Boston and then we're meant to be making it, no, it wasn't Boston, it was Boston, England. But we're not. We're shooting it in L.A.
That whole Boston confusion that Ewan McGregor refers to was quite amusing when it happened, but we're here to focus on the real facts. Obi-Wan Kenobi will be filming entirely in Los Angeles, which is definitely a stark difference from how Star Wars' entire Skywalker Saga was handled. Since the earliest days, Star Wars movies have always been filmed in different parts of the world – from Tunisia to England to Sydney to Italy to Vancouver and beyond – with very few of those locations set near L.A. California is definitely represented in Star Wars, don't get me wrong, but my point is that this is a franchise that has always been crafted around gorgeous and interesting locations.
But it sounds like Ewan McGregor will be experiencing a completely different process when Obi-Wan Kenobi heads into production in assumedly two or three months. No more Boston, England plans. No more globe-trotting for the Jedi. That brings us to the second point, which explains how Obi-Wan Kenobi will be put together without adhering to the normal filming plans. According to Ewan McGregor, the production process will apparently mirror that of The Mandalorian with the use of its next-level virtual tech.
We're shooting it much in the way The Mandalorian series was shot. We're using some of that technology. . . . I really liked it and I liked the format of it. I liked the western nature of it, like it's an old-fashioned TV western, you know? It's brilliant.
The geniuses at ILM created a massive virtual set dubbed The Volume, which has been a revelation for Jon Favreau and the Mandalorian crew. That set-up allowed The Mandalorian's cast and crew to basically film the entire series in one place, with The Volume's key advantage being powerful GPUs that are able to render backgrounds in real time that match up with the movement of the camera. Regardless of whether the characters are in the middle of the desert, in outer space, or somewhere on an ocean, ILM's virtual magic can make just about anything happen. Perhaps even a giant lava pit for Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen to take part in another lightsaber battle. Or to just hang out in as old buds.
Directly Deborah Chow likely won't be filming the entire series using The Volume, although it would make sense to utilize it as much as possible while the COVID pandemic is still making group gatherings and traveling difficult or impossible. Still, for as great as the visuals can be, here's hoping Obi-Wan Kenobi is able to take advantage of as much of Los Angeles' outside geography as possible. I mean, unless the plot line is just Obi-Wan hanging out at the Hollywood Bowl for every episode.
As soon as we learn a release window for Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+, we'll make sure that you know it soon after. May the Force be with all involved, especially if Liam Neeson ever gets a phone call.