Obi-Wan Kenobi is back on our screens and so far, his latest adventure is living up to the hype.
Ewan McGregor’s return to the role he perfected in the prequel trilogy has been lauded by fans, but the risky parts of his journey are still to come.
The end of episode two teased the return of Haden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, with there being much anticipation for the pair’s rematch.
But for showrunner/director Deborah Chow, returning to the galaxy far, far away after working on The Mandalorian, the weight of their battle was far from her mind. For her, the way to handle this story was to treat it as a character drama first and foremost.
She explained to Zavvi: “In a way, we’re retelling the second act of this story with these characters, so a lot of it was already determined and defined by Revenge Of The Sith.
“But it’s also an incredibly interesting time because it’s a very dark period. And so, it was exciting to get to do things like introduce the Inquisitors, and to have the Empire and such ascendance during this period.”
The series will see the Inquisitors be tasked by Darth Vader to round up and execute all of the remaining Jedi who went into hiding after Order 66 was implemented.
One of these is Obi-Wan, hiding out on Tatooine taking care of a young Luke Skywalker, unaware of the adventure he’s about to embark upon when he’s finally found.
The concept of a Kenobi series originated from a standalone film, which was cancelled shortly after the box office disappointment of Solo: A Star Wars Story in 2018.
But now Obi-Wan is back and bringing Darth Vader back to our screens with him. However, the return of the villain proved to be a much bigger challenge for Chow and her team.
“He is definitely not a character you bring back lightly, and we didn’t want to do it just for the sake of doing it. Our starting point for everything in this series was approaching it as a character drama – everything had to make sense for the character.
“When we looked at Obi-Wan, especially coming out of Revenge Of The Sith, Anakin/Vader is such a pivotal part of his story and his emotional weight that we ended up feeling like it made perfect sense for him to be a part of this story.”
Chow personally travelled to Toronto to speak with Christensen about returning. Although he was enthusiastic about reprising his popular role, the key selling point was being able to explore more of Anakin’s journey to becoming the villain we see in A New Hope.
“I was really excited to bring back Hayden and I felt that it was perfectly organic to what we were doing. So I visited him in Toronto, we’re both from Canada, and we discovered that the thing the both of us found most exciting about this character was the same – seeing him in this period of his life never explored before.
“He’s not the same character that we’re used to, in either the prequels or the original trilogy.”
But Chow knows that fans will want to see Vader in full villain mode, which is why anticipation is high for the lightsaber battle rematch between the Jedi Master and Sith Lord.
It’s enough to make any showrunner nervous that nothing they do could ever live up to expectations, but Chow refuses to let that get to her head.
“There’s a lot of hype about a lot of things”, she laughed. “I don’t know, it’s always difficult to guess what the reaction will be, but we really did try to respect the characters, the legacy, and the wider Star Wars canon.
“But at the same time, we needed to tell an original story that had its own vision, so we just tried to find a balance of those two elements.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi is also notable as the first chapter in the ongoing saga deliberately designed to elicit nostalgia from the generation who grew up with the prequels. Chow considers the series to effectively be a love letter to their fans.
“There’s been such support from the prequel generation. And it’s so interesting, because for so many of those people that were kids during then, these are their movies – this is what they think about as THEIR Star Wars. So it’s been really cool actually, to see so much prequel love coming from so many people.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi may offer a new side to beloved characters, but for fans, it’ll be the welcome return to the galaxy far, far away they’ve been waiting for.