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'Star Wars' Obi Wan spin-off in the works: US media
[LOS ANGELES] Oscar-nominated filmmaker Stephen Daldry is in early talks to direct a "Star Wars" spin-off about Jedi master Obi Wan Kenobi, US media reported on Thursday.
There is no script yet and no actor lined up to play the bearded warrior and sage made famous by the late Alec Guinness in the original series of films.
Ewan McGregor, who played Kenobi in the much-maligned prequel series, will be an early favourite for the role, although at 46 he might be a stretch if the film concentrates on the character's formative years.
The Hollywood Reporter said Mr Daldry, nominated three times for best director Academy Awards, would be part of the team overseeing the development and writing if the deal were to go ahead.
Lucasfilm, which is owned by Disney, is in the middle of a trilogy of "anthology" films running in the even years alongside its main trilogy, which falls in odd years.
"Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" (2015) - the first release in the main saga for a decade - was followed last year by "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" - the first of the spin-offs.
"Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi" is due for release in December and will be followed in May next year by an as-yet untitled "Han Solo" standalone movie.
That film, starring Alden Ehrenreich as Solo alongside Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover and Thandie Newton, hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in June when directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were sacked.
Lucasfilm, citing "creative differences," replaced the pair behind the "Jump Street" films and "The Lego Movie" with veteran director Ron Howard, and the project is now said to be back on track.
Speculation over an Obi Wan spin-off has been circulating for as long as the plan for the three anthology films has been public.
"There's no official offer, and I haven't met them about it or anything," Mr McGregor told Entertainment Weekly in April about the prospect of reprising the role.
"But I've always said that I'd be happy to do it if they wanted to do it. It would be a good segue between the last episode of the prequels and the new episodes."
Unconfirmed reports in the trade press have also linked Lucasfilm to projects centering on several other favorite characters, such as Jedi grand master Yoda and bounty hunter Boba Fett.
Daldry, whose Oscar nominations came for "Billy Elliot" (2000), "The Hours" (2002) and "The Reader" (2008), is up for an Emmy this year for directing hit Netflix period drama "The Crown". Disney and Mr Daldry's representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.