This Friday, the 27th of May, Disney+ will launch the highly anticipated ‘Star Wars’ spin-off series, ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ which sees Ewan McGregor once again step into the famous titular character.
The series begins 10 years after the dramatic events of “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat—the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.
The series will also see the return of Hayden Christensen in the role of Darth Vader and possibly Flashback Anakin. Returning to the Star Wars fold are Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse as BBQs to be Owen and Beru. Joining the cast are Moses Ingram, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell and Benny Safdie.
During the recent round of press events, Star and executive producer, Ewan McGregor, Moses Ingram and Director Deborah Chow took some time out to chat about bringing the latest entry into the ‘Star Wars’ canon to life.
Ewan McGregor on how he obtained his return to the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi
“it was a very long, slow process of coming back to playing him. It was born of two things. I think a) I was just asked a lot. At the end of every interview I ever did for years I was asked two things; would I do the sequel to Trainspotting, and would I ever play OBI-WAN Kenobi again. It was always the last two questions as the publicist is poking her head around the door saying, “That’s the last question.” And so, I just started answering it honestly and I think I became more aware of the fondness that the generation that we made the prequels for have for those films. Because when we made them, we didn’t hear that. We didn’t get that response, really. So, gradually, I started realizing that people really liked them and that they meant a lot to that generation which warmed my feelings about them. And then, Disney just asked me to come in one day for a meeting because they kept seeing on social media that I’m saying that I would like to play OBI-WAN Kenobi again. It looked like I was sort of touting for work at Disney’s door. I think there’s got to be a good story between Episode III and Episode IV and that’s what we definitely found, you know, after a lengthy process of exploring some different storylines. I think we’ve ended up with a really, really brilliant story and one that will satisfy the fans sitting between those two episodes.”
Executive Producer and Star Moses Ingram on joining the Star Wars franchise
“I was surprised. I mean from what I knew of Star Wars, I didn’t realize it was that dangerous. It felt dangerous what I was reading and I was like, “Oh, I like this. I’m into this. Yeah.” So, I was really excited.”
McGregor on the differences between the film’s version of Ob-Wan Kenobi and the limited series.
“I think because of what happens at the end of Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, at the end of the third episode, the Jedi order are all but destroyed and those who aren’t killed have gone into hiding and they can’t communicate with one another. So, for 10 years or if it’s been 10 years, for 10 years, OBI-WAN has been in hiding. He can’t communicate with any of his old comrades and he’s living a pretty solitary life. He’s not able to use the Force. So, in a way, he’s lost his faith. It’s like somebody who’s stepped away from their religion or something if you like. And the only responsibility to his past life is looking over Luke Skywalker who he’s delivered to – we see at the end of Episode III – to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. So, that’s his only sort of link to his past. So, it was interesting to take a character that we know and love from Alec Guinness’ creation of the character in the seventies of this wise, sage-like, spiritual man. And then, the work that I did in Episode I to III from the padawan, from the student to the Jedi to somebody’s who’s sitting on the Jedi council, you know, to take that OBI-WAN and take him to this more sort of broken place was really interesting to do.”
Director Deborah Chow on Hayden Christensen returning as Anakin and Darth Vader
“When we were developing the material and we were really looking at the character of OBI-WAN and looking and going, you know, what was important in his life, what are the relationships that were meaningful. And obviously, the history coming out of the Revenge of the Sith is so strong and it’s so powerful that it really felt like, for us, that, obviously, there’d be so much weight coming into this story that was connected to Anakin Vader. So, I think it just felt natural that, obviously, it would be Hayden and that, you know, we would continue this relationship in the series.”
McGregor on working with Christensen again
“We just were so close when we made Episode II and III together and we made them in Australia. So, we were both away from home and we had so much time training for the fights together and then, being on set together. But also, because we were so far from home, we spent a lot of time outside of work together as well. We were close. And then, over the years, I guess, we had slightly lost touch. I hadn’t seen Hayden for years. So, when I saw him again and was able to talk about this project with him, it was very, very exciting. It was great. And when we were acting together, it was really like some sort of time warp. I really like looking across at him on set was like the last 17 years didn’t happen at all, you know. It was really peculiar.”
Moses Ingram on her character “Reva” and training for the series
“She’s really smart and she plays the offence and she’s always 10 steps ahead, you know. She is a subordinate of Darth Vader and she’s going to do everything she can to get the job done to the best of her ability. I think I was most intrigued by just her fervour for what she does. It’s fun to be bad, and also, the weaponry and the stunt work, once you get to a point where your body is confident doing the moves, that plays into it as well as the costumes. Suttirat did such an amazing job, our costume designer. Like, building something that when you step into it, it lends itself to a feeling, I was happy to be there. I was really happy to be there. We trained for about four months before we ever even got to set. The everyday, regular strength and cardio, and then three days a week of Jedi school on top of that which, at the beginning was a little intimidating because I come in. We’re doing lightsaber work and, of course, he’s being doing this for years. So he’s like, flipping it and wielding it and I’m like, oh, God, I’m never going to get it. I look terrible. But, you know, if at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again.”
Deborah Chow & McGregor on the technology used to film the series.
Chow: “I started using that technology, stagecraft, on Mandalorian. So, I was actually incredibly excited to be able to use it on Kenobi as well. I think one of the interesting things is, in the first season of The Mandalorian, a lot of the tech, it’s advanced so much. Every passing year, there are advances. So, by the time we came to do Kenobi, already there were things that we could do that we couldn’t do in the first season. But it was also really exciting to be able to design and to develop material knowing that I was going to shoot stagecraft. So, a lot of times I’d be looking at the scene even as we were writing it, thinking about how is this going to translate into the volume and how can we take advantage of the tech as best as possible.”
McGregor: “I’d never worked on the stagecraft set before and it was such a game-changer for us. The experience of the first three, especially Episode II and III, there’s so much blue screen and green screen and it’s just hard. It’s very hard to make something believable when there’s nothing there, you know. And here we were in this amazing set where, you know, if you’re shooting in the desert, everywhere you look is the desert. And if you’re flying through space, then, you know, the stars are flying past you as you scout along. It’s so cool.”