This week the word came down to MSW that the Star Wars Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi series for Disney+ would begin filming in Southern California. The series will apparently be filming at the train yard where the first two seasons of Star Wars: The Mandalorian filmed. The location was primarily used for exterior shooting on past Star Wars projects. I was told Lucasfilm has a five-year lease for this spot. Today the trainyard space had a full team moving things around, cleaning up, and getting it ready for something.
The last time I was in the train yard space, it was pretty vacant. Today the barriers are back up to obstruct some view of the lot and there are crew members cleaning and moving things around. It is also worth noting that the Mando Tatooine /Arvala-7 modular set pieces have been removed from the piles of storage and separated from the rest of the materials. There are still some walls for Nevarro, so it isn’t a smoking gun that this for the Kenobi show but it is notable. Also with the barriers being set up, it means they do likely have an activity planned in the near future.
The MBS Media Campus appears to be where the main filming for Ben Kenobi’s new streaming series will be done. This is also the same location as the interior shooting for The Mandalorian’s production. This campus is where they shoot in the “volume” as seen in the recent Disney+ documentary series Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian. For the last few years, I have reported on the giant LED screens used for Star Wars and how it was connected to pre-rendering devices which allows for a quick turn around in visual effects. For the second season of The Mando, there were was no such delay thanks to the amount of visual work completed before filming began.
Filming anything during a pandemic is difficult. Sources in the industry have told me stories that reflect a lot of the regular world we live in that distancing is respected by some productions and not at all by others. Sources at Pinewood, for instance, have told me about productions jumping through hoops to distance and stay safe while others completely tossed out the guidelines.
The brilliant thing about filming at the MBS Media Campus is quarantining small groups of the crew is very possible. Sources who confirmed Stormtroopers walking around the campus a few years ago for The Mando have told me they believe Kenobi will film there around the end of the year. My guess is setups are about to begin for Kenobi based on the buzz. However, it could always be Mando season three getting ready as well. That said, there are more notches in the Ben Kenobi show ramping up in this space than not.
I was told that there would be some “stuff” reused from The Mandalorian for Kenobi. Today we saw a little evidence to back that up. More as the story develops!