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Obi-Wan Kenobi: the Money Behind Star Wars

Rebecca Ki • June 16, 2022

Obi-Wan Kenobi is in the middle of a successful six-episode run on Disney+. Let’s get into the money and the millions behind this intergalactic franchise!

Interstellar fight scenes. Introspective, character-driven plot. Colorful lightsabers.

The Star Wars world is a cultural touchstone for millions of fans. With their new Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries, Disney is betting on further expanding this massive, fantastical universe. Star Wars junkies who already know and love Obi-Wan are thrilled to see Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen reprise their respective roles as the beloved Jedi master and the Big Bad, Darth Vader. 

The show picks up ten years after the events of Revenge of the Sith and follows Obi-Wan Kenobi as he tries to protect a young Luke Skywalker on Tatooine. At the same time, he’s also avoiding the evil Galactic Empire as they sweep the stars looking to hunt down the last remaining Jedi and their accomplices. 

Unsurprisingly, a miniseries at this scale comes with a hefty price tag. Some outlets have speculated that the future production of Star Wars series is in trouble after the disappointing performance of The Book of Boba Fett, framing Obi-Wan Kenobi as a Hail Mary. But is this accurate? Let’s pull back the curtain and look at the profits and money facts around the Star Wars franchise.

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Star Wars: From Humble Beginnings to Box Office Breakout 🎬

The movie that started it all, Star Wars (1977), was made on a modest budget of $11 million. George Lucas had a dream, a script, and a superstar cast, and made a sleeper hit—the OG movie made $775 million at the box office! With that kind of success, it’s no surprise that this epic sci-fi drama shot into hyperspace.

 🔥 Chime Trivia: Star Wars exists because one man, George Lucas, dreamed of telling an epic sci-fi story. That’s why it’s even more impressive that it’s the second-highest-grossing film franchise of all time, making $9.3 billion worldwide. Any guesses on what’s number one? Drumroll, please… the Marvel Cinematic Universe! 

How Much Did Disney Pay for Star Wars? 💰

A lot. 

Okay, the real answer is a little more complicated than that, but it’s definitely in the Billions, with a B. Initial reports from 2012 told us that, after a stagnant period for the Star Wars franchise, George Lucas sold it to Disney for 4 billion dollars. But the actual number is much more!

When George made the sale, he asked to be paid half in cash and half in Disney stock. Technically, the deal was 55% cash/ 45% stock, meaning that Lucas pocketed $2.21 billion in cash and received 37,076,679 shares of Disney stock.

Since 2012, Disney stock prices have done what they do best—grow. If we do the math and assume that George still owns all of that Disney stock, his 37 million shares are now worth a whopping $7.4 billion!

Jedi Mind Tricks: How Much Money Is That? 🤯

Like comprehending how large a Death Star is, $4 billion isn’t an easy number to digest. Here’s a list of things that equal the worth of the entire Star Wars franchise: 

Why Is Star Wars so valuable? ‍💸‍🚀

As a franchise, Star Wars is much more than the movies that inspire and awe us. The immense value of the brand is supported by merchandising, events, and theme park attractions in addition to the movie box office. 

So yes, the baby Yoda stuffies, the adorable BB-8 figures, and the massive fan events like May the 4th and Star Wars Celebration are all part of why Star Wars is so valuable. Next time you want to pick up a lightsaber, you can pat yourself on the back for contributing to the intergalactic economy!

IRL Star Wars Money Facts 🤑

You know the characters and lore, but Star Wars by the numbers is a new perspective that might give you insight into how far this great empire reaches!

  • We were not kidding about how big a Death Star is. Getting enough steel to build an actual Death Star would cost approximately 852 quadrillion dollars! Don’t make us think about how many mansions we could buy with that. 
  • Leia’s gold bikini is as infamous as it is iconic. In 2015, the original gold bikini was sold at auction for $96,000! As far as swimsuits go, we’d say it’s on the pricier side. 
  • America fell in love with Baby Yoda faster than Han Solo made the Kessel run. That love is why economic analysts say that Disney may have missed out on around $2.7 million in profits by not having Baby Yoda toys ready for Christmas 2019. That’s a lot of Baby Yoda stuffies.
  • It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Harrison Ford playing suave Han Solo. But did you know he was only paid $10,000 for his role in the first Star Wars film? Though things seem to be getting better for him—his current net worth is around $230 million.
  • To bring Yoda to life for The Empire Strikes Back (1980), the production team needed four different puppets of the wise, green master, along with professional special effects teams and puppeteers. No wonder the film’s initial budget ballooned from $18 million to $33 million! 

Star Wars Fast FAQs ⭐💨

When does Obi-Wan Kenobi come out? 🕐

Great news: It’s already out! Keep watching the show on Disney+—the series finale airs on June 22, and it’s not one you’ll want to miss! 

How much money is Ewan McGregor making for Obi-Wan Kenobi? 💪

Though not publicly disclosed, Ewan McGregor made between $1 and $3 million for the prequels. Not bad for a Jedi master! As for the show, we don’t know exactly how much he is making, but he is both the lead actor and an executive producer for Obi-Wan Kenobi, making it a true passion project for him. 

How old is Obi-Wan in episode 1 of Obi-Wan Kenobi? 👴

Obi-Wan Kenobi is set 10 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith. That would make Obi-Wan around 48 years old in the first episode of the new series.

May the Force be with Obi-Wan Kenobi 🌌 ⚡

So far, Obi-Wan Kenobi is the most-watched Disney+ original series, which is super impressive when you consider other popular Disney+ shows like Loki, WandaVision, and The Mandalorian. But even if it didn’t log remarkable viewership numbers, the series is far from Star Wars’ only hope. 

One thing remains true through the $$$, movies, shows, and spinoffs: fans are the beating heart of this franchise, and fans LOVE Star Wars. How could you not, when it’s the only universe where you get BB-8, porgs, and Baby Yoda?

So tune in to the exciting Obi-Wan Kenobi finale on June 22, and if you’re looking for more ways to use the Force to level up your money game, look no further. When you sign up for Chime, you can build your credit, grow your savings, and pay anyone you want. You don’t even need to be a Jedi master. 😉

If Obi-Wan Kenobi isn’t scratching the binging itch, enter the Upside Down with us and check out the top money lessons we learned from Stranger Things! 💚

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