The upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series sees Ewan McGregor return to the role after 17-years away, but the Kenobi we see in the trailer is very different then the one who had just battled his friend on the lava planet of Mustafar. The year is 9 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), ten years after the Emperor sent out Order 66 to eliminate the Jedi.
McGregor recently described Kenobi’s emotional state to Entertainment Weekly:
“Obi-Wan is lost. He’s a broken man after what happened with the Jedi order at the end of Episode III, but also what happened with Anakin; that he lost him to the dark side. He feels an enormous amount of responsibility for that, and guilt.”
As for what we can expect, writer Joby Harold talked about the journey we’ll see in the six-episode series:
“When we last saw Obi-Wan in the prequels, he’s very emotional. There’s a passion to him. And when we get to see him again in A New Hope, he is the Zen master. That was the story that I wanted to understand — what had happened to Obi-Wan between the guy that Ewan had brought to life and the guy that Sir Alec Guinness brought to life.”
We will also see the return of Hayden Christensen to the role of Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader. This will be the first time Christensen has returned to the Star Wars franchise in seventeen years since his character lost “the high ground” to his friend-turned-foe Kenobi. While both Christensen and McGregor are excited to work together again after all this time, the character of Vader appeared in another live-action film since Revenge of the Sith, that would be Rogue One which focused on how the Rebels were able to get the plans for the Death Star.
McGregor described being on the soundstage when he noticed the crew standing around doing nothing, and while he wondered why they were unusually inactive, he saw a familiar figure appear around the corner. He said:
“I came round the set, and it was just this ring of people standing around. I had the cameras behind me looking down this street, and behind the cameras were 100 people standing there. They’re usually in places doing work, not just standing. I couldn’t quite work out what was happening. And then Vader comes around the corner, into the street, and I was like, ‘Ah, f—. Of course!’”
In Rogue One, Vader makes a couple of appearances including a dramatic attack/entrance at the very end which brings us to the opening scene of A New Hope continuity wise. Christensen was not brought back to be in Rogue One and mentioned his thoughts on this to Entertainment Weekly:
“I wasn’t a part of any of those conversations about Rogue One. But I loved what they did with it. The character predates me, and it’s always been a collective effort in a lot of ways. I thought it was brilliant.” As for what brought him back now turned out to be an in person visit from the series director Deborah Chow. “Deborah came up and we spent the day chatting. She told me a little bit about the project and her vision for it, and I just thought that it sounded wonderful. I was very excited to come back.” And speaking about returning, “The whole experience was very surreal. The first time that I saw Ewan as Obi-Wan again, that was a very special moment for me, and one that I’ll remember for a very, very long time.”
Following the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, there seemed to be a change at Lucasfilm that saw a number of future film projects being put on the backburner or scrapped entirely. One project that seemed to be in uncertain territory was an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie that would have followed Solo and brought Ewan McGregor back to Star Wars as the Jedi master. Now of course we are getting ready to see McGregor and Hayden Christensen in Obi-Wan Kenobi as a series. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has revealed how the launch of Disney+ played a big part in the project’s transition from movie to series.
“When Bob Iger very specifically said, ‘We are going to start to shift our priority to making series for Disney+, and we’re launching the streaming service,’ that really was what shifted our strategy. We started to look at the opportunity in the streaming space where we could do long-form storytelling, and we realized there was an opportunity to experiment in that space without the level of scrutiny that happens when you release a feature.”
How much input did Kennedy have on the scripts? Will the show align with canon? Looks like we’ll get to see just what happens on Tatooine that has changed the Jedi knight so much when Obi-Wan Kenobi debuts on May 25th on Disney+.