If this is the first you’ve heard regarding the rumor that the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series had been canceled, then congratulations. I envy you. The rest of us, on the other hand, had our IQs forcibly lowered a few points on Friday afternoon when a joke from a parody Twitter account (with fewer than 300 followers) snowballed out of control.
As far as I can tell, DiscussingFilm.net is a small-yet-respectable film news website. A quick glance at their homepage and social media accounts don’t trigger any fake news alarms. Their Twitter account, @DiscussingFilm, boasts a healthy 52,000 followers.
The account is apparently popular enough to have inspired someone to make a parody of it, @DicsussingFilm. Despite the parody account naming itself Discussing Film, the Twitter handle is different by one letter (and dangerously close to being X-rated).
Their tweets consist of fake movie announcements along with a falsely identified source and an attached picture, which gives the appearance of an article thumbnail.
On Wednesday, January 15, they tweeted this:
Considering that this tweet was preceded by one about Venom 2 being the highest grossing comic book movie of all time…and the account clearly labels itself as a PARODY in its header…you’d think folks would realize it was just a joke.
And for the most part, they did. But that was before the clickbait sites got involved.
Have you ever eaten Spaghettios straight out of the can without heating them up first? Well, the bowel movement that results from such a rash culinary decision is where stories on sites like Fandomwire typically spring forth into existence.
In this case, the news pooper is one Liam Harte, who wrote an EXCLUSIVE report stating that “sources close to FandomWire” had revealed the Obi-Wan cancelation news.
I think we all know what actually happened: Liam saw the @DicsussingFilm tweet, took it at face value without double checking the source, and pushed ahead with a story so he could get those sweet, sweet clickbait page views.
I wanted to ask Liam if this was what happened, but he recently deleted his Twitter account (@OfficialHartes), either out of embarrassment or for the good of humanity. It was the right call, either way.
Unfortunately, Liam had triggered an avalanche of fake news poop that was now sliding downhill too quickly to be stopped.
We Got This Alexa Rating
If you spend any time on Facebook, you’ve likely been gobsmacked more than a few times by a sensational sounding headline from WeGotThisCovered.com. In case you weren’t aware, the articles behind those headlines are almost always a complete load of crap.
Don’t take my word for it, though. Read through this excellent Twitter thread by Pierre Chanliau, who likely sacrificed a large chunk of his sanity reading WeGotThisCovered articles and organizing their prolific journalistic failures into colorful, easy to read charts.
In the case of the Obi-Wan series, WeGotThisCovered latched onto the report from FandomWire and reported it as news, creating the first two segments of a fake news human centipede. The third and final segment was created near the end of WeGotThisCovered’s report, where they state:
FW has a decent track record when it comes to scoops and their report is being backed up by multiple people on Twitter, so it does seem that indeed the show is dead.
This of course sent folks to Twitter, where one search for “Obi-Wan” finds Star Wars fans’ heads exploding over the fake cancelation news while (conveniently) linking the WeGotThisCovered article as their source.
Oh, and how great was that “FW has a decent track record” line? You almost have to admire the complete lack of self-awareness it takes to puff up a fake news source like that. They could have simply gone with their usual anonymous (i.e. fake) sources and gotten the same massive number of clickbait pageviews they always do. But no, WGTC was going to take Liam Fandomwire’s Geocities-looking website down the fake news rabbit hole right along with them.
Considering the Impossible
Could I be wrong? Could FandomWire (and WeGotThisCovered) be the dog that finally catches the car on this story? Maybe, but I highly doubt it.
The scripts have been written and casting is underway. Fans are all types of excited for the series. Ewan McGregor is excited about the series. It’s not very often you find “safe” projects that are also intriguing and highly anticipated by both the potential audience and the people working on them, but that’s what you have right here.
So is there any chance at all–even if it happened to be a wild/lucky guess by clickbait fake news sites–that the Disney+ Obi-Wan series is actually getting canceled?
Ewan McGregor’s reps confirmed to TheWrap.com that rumors of the Obi-Wan series being canceled are “totally inaccurate.”