The original plan was for Ray Park to reprise the role of Maul in the six episode ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series but the scripts were rewritten when preproduction was paused in early 2020 due to Lucasfilm higher-ups being unhappy with the direction of the project.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, things had gone as far as Park attending stunt training sessions and possibly shooting test footage. The creative overhaul allegedly didn’t happen until series director Deborah Chow showed the original writer Hossein Amini’s scripts to Star Wars power couple Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. The pair where fresh of the success of the first season on ‘The Mandalorian’ and where now steering the Star Wars ship.
The Hollywood Reporter’s sources say Favreau and Filoni where unhappy with how similar in structure ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ was to ‘The Mandalorian’ with both series featuring a lead character protecting young child. It is also likely that Filoni vetoed the use of Maul as it would have contradicted his work on ‘Star Wars Rebels’. The two of them pushed Chow to go bigger with the story, like they where doing with ‘The Mandalorian’. Joby Harold was brought in to rework the scripts and the result was Maul was swapped out for Darth Vader and the Jedi hunting Inquisitors – characters that Filoni had developed for ‘Rebels’.
A side effect of the delay in shooting meant that a young actor who had been cast as a ten years old Luke Skywalker had to be recast as he had aged out of the role but it is thought that no footage was shot.
While this overhaul seems quite extensive, especially with Lucasfilm having a recent history of retooling projects that are deep into shooting, all the changes where made in pre-production which is a natural part of the creative process.
Production on the series finally started in early 2021 and the first episode of the Ewan McGregor lead ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ will be on Disney+ from 25th March.