Disney’s Obi-Wan Kenobi is just days away. On Friday, we’ll be gifted with two episodes that we can enjoy back-to-back before we’re forced to wait weekly. At that point, we’ll have just 4 episodes left… Isn’t that sad. Just as we celebrate the return of the great Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, we’ll also have to prepare to say goodbye. However, that is a problem for the future. We were lucky enough to attend the Global Press Conference for Obi-Wan Kenobi which featured Ewan McGregor, Moses Ingram, and Deborah Chow. The brilliant event covered all things Star Wars with the actors diving into what it was like to be back on set, as well as what it was like to pick up a lightsaber. Meanwhile, Deborah Chow gave us a sneak peak into the creative and lengthy process that went into bringing Obi-Wan back onto our screens.
Now, if we were to go through everything… We’d be here until the twin suns of Tatooine vanished into the night. So, we’ve picked some of our favourite moments. While the countdown ticks down gradually, this fun conference served as a great reminder… Obi-Wan Kenobi could be the most anticipated show to hit our screens, and we can feel it.
What was it about this show and this story specifically that really excited you?
“Well, it was a very long, slow process of coming back to playing him, I guess. It was born of two things. I think, a) I was just asked a lot. 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.
So, that made me — that warmed my feelings about them, I guess, or my experience of being in the Star Wars world. 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 play — I would like to play OBI-WAN Kenobi again. It looked like I was sort of touting for work at Disney’s door. Like, you know, could you cast me? But anyway, they got me in and asked me if I mean it and I said, yeah, just — I said I would love to play him again. 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 story lines. I think we’ve ended up with a really, really a brilliant story and one that will satisfy the fans sitting between those two episodes.”
What was it about OBI-WAN Kenobi, specifically, this character and this story that really excited you?
“I was really excited at the idea of getting to do a limited series for one just because you get to tell sort of a bigger story, but you also have the time to really get into the character. So, I think, first and foremost, I was the most excited about doing a character driven story and really kind of having the opportunity to get more depth and have more time to really get to know the character.”
“I think it came to me just like everything else does, but I didn’t know that it would be Star Wars. And I think when I read the script, that was the thing that attracted me the most, even though it was, like, dummy sides. But later on, realizing that it was edgy and fun and cool and I just, you know, I couldn’t say no. I mean, it’s Star Wars.”
Ewan, what makes this version sort of different than the screen adaptations we’ve seen before?
“I think because of what happens at the end of Episode III, Revenge of the Sith. That’s what it’s called. Yeah. Yeah. At the end of the third episode, you know, 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.”
What was it that most intrigued you about, you know, having these two characters, Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker, together again?
“I think, you know, 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, you know, 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.”
What was that like for you to be back with Hayden on set?
“Oh, great. I mean we just were so close when we met the first — 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. And so, 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. 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, Tell us a little bit about Reva. She’s this sort of mysterious dark side character. She’s an Inquisitor. What was it about her that most excited you?
“She’s really smart and she plays the offense 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. And I think I was most intrigued by just her fervor for what she does. Yeah.
It was really fun. It’s fun to be bad. [LAUGHS] It’s fun to be bad and also, I feel like, you know, the weaponry and the stunt work, once you get to a point where your body is confident doing the moves, you know, that plays into it as well as the costumes, you know. Suttirat did such an amazing job, our costume designer. Like, building something that when you step into it, it lends itself to a feeling, you know what I mean? And so, I was happy to be there. I was really happy to be there.”
What was it like to revisit the prequel trilogy while making this story?
“Yeah, it means a lot. It means a lot, actually. Because it was one of the difficult things about being in the prequels was that they were, you know, when they came out, they were not — it didn’t seemingly well received because there was no social media. There was no sort of direct avenue to the fans at the time. And also, the fans were kids, you know. We made those films for — when I was — when the first film came out, The New Hope, I must have — I was born in ’71. So, I think I was six or seven when it came out. And I’ll never forget that feeling and how my relationship with Star Wars, all those original first three films. I mean that’s one of the crazy things about being in Star Wars now at all is that I’m in it, you know, having been that little kid, you know. And so, once those kids who were my age, when the prequels came out, grew up a bit and I was able to meet them and I started hearing that people really liked them and have a, you know, they couldn’t understand why I thought that they weren’t liked when they came out, you know.
It meant a lot to me, so it’s really — I’m sure it’s one of the reasons we’re all sit– you know, why I wanted to do this again was because of that. It’s nice to — the Star Wars fans are amazingly passionate and they’re probably some of the strongest fans in the world, you know, for anything. And so, to be able to give them something like this. To make a series, the OBI-WAN series, which it seems that there’s been a hunger for, for some long time. And to be able to, like, give that to them now next week is really exciting.”
Did you guys find yourself making, you know, the lightsaber noises while you were rehearsing or fighting?
“Everyone knows that you do it now.”
“I know. It’s impossible not to. And if you’re not making them, you’re doing it in your head, I think. [LAUGHS]”
“But we did play a lot of music when we did the action scenes, so the rest of us didn’t know if you guys were doing them. So, yeah.”
What kind of music would you play?
“John Williams. Yeah.”
“And it was sick, too, because we’d be, like, stepping off the ship or, like, you know, doing something else and the music would swell and you’re just, like, feeling like you’re 10 feet tall, you know. It’s very, very cool.”
“Yeah, that was the big reason we did it because there’s, you know, the music obviously it brings the emotional component. And what John Williams has done has been so inextricably tied, it is Star Wars. So, you know, if we put it on, all of a sudden I see Moses go like two inches taller and, you know, everybody responds to it.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi is directed by Deborah Chow and executive-produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Deborah Chow, Ewan McGregor and Joby Harold.
The series will premiere exclusively on Disney+ on Friday 27th May, with the first two episodes. Following the premiere, the series will stream weekly on Wednesdays, until the finale on Wednesday 22th June.
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