“Obi-Wan Kenobi” will have to wait on using the force for the Emmys until 2023. Variety has learned the upcoming limited series will not be submitted nor eligible for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards consideration.
The excitement for the “Star Wars” Disney+ limited series that stars Emmy winner Ewan McGregor (last year’s winner for lead actor in a limited series for “Halston”) and Hayden Christensen is palpable after dropping a new trailer last week that finally revealed a glimpse at the villainous Darth Vader.
With Sith villains, lightsabers and the sands of Tatooine, the six-part series is set to have its first two episodes premiere on May 27. Still, it won’t have its episodes available for the Television Academy in time for voting consideration. Per the Academy’s rules for “criteria for eligibility,” all series must fall within the eligibility calendar from June 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022. However, the rules regarding “hanging episodes for series eligibility” read:
If an ongoing series has enough episodes that have been nationally broadcast in the current eligibility year to qualify as a series and has hanging episodes or episodes deemed ineligible because their airdate falls after the end of the eligibility year (May 31, 2022), those episodes must be posted on an accessible platform by May 31 in order to gain eligibility for the current eligibility year and must meet all of the following criteria:
- Episodes must be posted within the current eligibility year (by May 31)
- Episodes may be posted on a private online platform accessible only to Television Academy
- Episodes must be the same in form and content as when they later appear in their regular time slots
- The subsequent airing of the episodes must take place prior to the start of nominations-round voting (June 16)
The “Obi-Wan” finale is scheduled to drop on June 22, after the start of nomination voting. So unless Disney decides to release the final two episodes on June 15 and (and far less likely) make the episodes available to the over 20,000 TV Academy members only ahead of its Disney+ debut, the show will have to sit this year out.
We’ve seen shows split their eligibility seasons up, gaining moderate awards success, such as Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” in 2019, when its leftover episodes from Season 2 were submitted for consideration. But unfortunately, it wasn’t eligible to submit for outstanding drama series. Nevertheless, the dystopian series still landed an impressive 11 Emmy noms, which included directing and writing. It netted three statuettes, two in guest acting categories for Bradley Whitford and Cherry Jones.
The question about where the Lucasfilm production will be submitted surely is a factor, as it’s not yet known (publicly) if “Obi-Wan” will be an ongoing story or a one-off limited narrative. You can never know with these types of shows and how well they will perform for streaming services. There’s a chance the show decides to go the route of “The Mandalorian” (which will have its third season dropping sometime later this year) or to end the Jedi master’s saga here.
Disney+ still has plenty on its roster for the TV Academy to consider. On the “Star Wars” front, “The Book of Boba Fett” will be angle for attention on the drama series side, despite no second season officially being announced yet. Disney also has some Marvel Studios tentpoles in drama, including “Loki” with Tom Hiddleston.
“Obi-Wan” is set 10 years after the events of the film “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” (2005), when Anakin Skywalker made his complete turn to the dark side and became Darth Vader.
The show is directed by Deborah Chow, who helmed two episodes of “The Mandalorian” in Season 1, making her the first woman ever to direct a live-action Star Wars title. Bryce Dallas Howard also helmed two “Star Wars” TV series episodes. At the same time, Victoria Mahoney was the second-unit director on “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (2019), the first woman to be on a directing team for a “Star Wars” feature film. In addition, Joby Harold is serving as the showrunner for “Obi-Wan.”
Also starring in the show are Joel Edgerton, Kumail Nanjiani, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Benny Safdie, Maya Erskine, Simone Kissell, Bonnie Piesse, Moses Ingram, Indira Varma and Rupert Friend.