Today, we at Omega Underground have uncovered the production title for the upcoming Star Wars anthology film featured around Obi-Wan Kenobi. According to a recent listing for Obi-Wan: A Star Wars Story the working title is Joshua Tree. Other recent working titles for Star Wars productions include Space Bears for The Last Jedi and Red Cup for Han Solo (we confirmed back in December).
Why is this working title important?
Joshua Tree (aka desert yucca palm tree) could be hinting to Joshua Tree Nation Park in Southern California (along with other parks) as a possible shooting location for the new anthology film. The original Star Wars shot some Tatooine scenes at Death Valley National Park and surrounding locations. The location tease supports fan speculation that the Kenobi film will indeed take place on Tatooine.
Located primarily in the Southern California Desert with a small portion extending into Nevada, Death Valley National Park covers 3.4 million acres (14,000 km), making it the largest park in the lower 48 states. Within this acreage is an almost complete spectrum of the Earth’s geological eras that are well worth a visit beyond the shooting locations.
In January 1977, George Lucas took a second-unit team to Death Valley to film some leftover pick-up shots that weren’t filmed in Tunisia due to difficulties they had encountered there.
The StarWars website also references U2’s Joshua Tree to Death Valley’s Zabriskie Point, one of the locations for A New Hope.
Zabriskie Point, a famous viewpoint just east of Furnace Creek. Come at dawn for the best lightning of these badlands. Zabriskie Point can also been seen on U2’s Joshua Tree album cover.
California has recently made it attractive and cost-effective for big studios films to return to the state with new incentives. This has led to films like Paramount’s Bumblebee and Marvel’s Captain Marvel moving their productions to California. It’s possible that the legacy of original saga shoots and these new incentives might bring Star Wars back to California.
Kenobi was first introduced to us on Tatooine and has spent a lengthy stint on the desert planet between Revenge Of The Sith and A New Hope, as a Galactic fugitive expected to be shot on sight if discovered to be a Jedi by Imperial forces. While I’m game for a return to Tatooine, it would be nice to see them travel to a couple other planets just for variety’s sake as well.
Officially it’s unknown if Ewan McGregor will return as Obi-Wan but unofficially he has stated multiple times he’s game. It’ll be interesting to see how Lucasfilm tackles this Ben Kenobi period, a lot of this has already been covered by novels and comics, not unlike Han Solo.
As with all Star Wars productions, it’s expected that Kenobi will first shoot at Shepperton Studios in the UK before moving on to location shoots. Star Wars: Episode 9 is set to begin filming this January according to Kathleen Kennedy and our assumption is that Kenobi (if it’s next up) could begin filming around January-February of 2019.
Nobody has been officially named as director or screenwriter. However, it was revealed by THR that Stephen Daldry could direct and months back we were hearing rumors that Mr. Robot’s Sam Esmail could possibly write it.
Lucasfilm has yet to announce the Kenobi project officially.
Obi-Wan: A Star Wars Story has no set release date but is expected to be released in 2020.