Obi-Wan Kenobi has been one of the most anticipated Star Wars releases in years, which is really saying something. The excitement around Ewan McGregor returning to the role of the titular Jedi master to explore the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope was at a fever pitch by the time of its release yesterday, but it turns out there has already been a change made to the miniseries. Unfortunately, this is not the kind of edit made for narrative reasons, but as a response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in which a gunman murdered 21 people (including 19 children) and wounded 17 others. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Disney placed a warning about violence towards children on the show’s page on Disney+.
Specifically, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s landing page on the streaming platform has text in the details section that reads “Although this fictional series is a continuation of the story from Star Wars movies filmed many years ago, some scenes may be upsetting to viewers in light of the recent tragic events” and “Warning: Contains violence involving children.” Reportedly, this text is not showing to every account on Disney+ and does not appear on screen to every viewer. However, it is being added to attempt to warn viewers of potentially triggering images in the opening scenes of the series.
The premiere episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi opens with a flashback to the time period of Revenge of the Sith, when Stormtroopers are executing Order 66 at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Within the lore of Star Wars, this is the culmination of a long-term plan by the Sith Lord and Republic Chancellor, soon to be Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) to exterminate the Jedi en masse. Revenge of the Sith included a scene that implied but did not show Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) personally killing children in the Jedi Temple. The opening scene of Obi-Wan Kenobi shows some of those children in the Temple being attacked by Stormtroopers firing blasters at them.
While Obi-Wan Kenobi does not actually show the children being hit by blaster fire, it is understandable that the image of children being attacked by armed men would be very rough for some viewers in the current context. In the show, the children are defended by an unnamed Jedi who is killed in the process. Over it all, we hear Palpatine’s voice repeating “Execute Order 66.” It is an intense scene and clearly intended to be, but also is somewhat altered by the events that have recently transpired.
As the warning text said, Obi-Wan Kenobi was scripted, produced, and filmed quite some time ago. Mass shootings are a tragically commonplace event in the United States, and the use of violence in any fictional piece of entertainment has to occur in that context. While Disney and Lucasfilm can do very little about that, it is appropriate that they at least do what they can to warn.