The Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series gave us a long-awaited look at what Obi-Wan was up to in the years between Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: A New Hope. It was an emotional, action-filled story, and now we have a VIP pass behind the scenes.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: A Jedi’s Return, now streaming on Disney+, chronicles the making of the series with new interviews, visits to the creature shop, and much more; we’re treated to anecdotes, stories, and memories for what seems like a meaningful journey for all involved. Here are five highlights.
1. Deborah Chow’s influences in making Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Star Wars has seen influences from all kinds of sources, including samurai films, Westerns, and beyond. As revealed in Obi-Wan Kenobi: A Jedi’s Return, director Deborah Chow found lots of inspiration in films she grew up watching with her dad, as well as from her own relationship with him.
“One of the things that really drew me to the project was the father-daughter story of it all. Because my dad, growing up, he was a very pivotal person for me,” Chow said. “He used to watch a ton of Asian action films. So I think I absorbed a lot from that and just the speed and the imagination that a lot of the Asian martial arts films have, and the legacy of people like Kurosawa and sort of the grandmasters like Jet Li.”
2. Ewan McGregor’s enthusiasm in revisiting Obi-Wan’s story.
Of all those who wanted to see more of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor was certainly leading the pack. McGregor shared how he was interested in revisiting Obi-Wan’s story for years leading up to the series announcement, always intrigued by the idea of what had happened to him after the encounter with his former apprentice on Mustafar.
“I started speaking with people at Disney a long time ago. I always thought it would be interesting to take a character that we sort of know and love as being one way and show him in defeat,” McGregor said. “I just said, ‘I just feel like it’s an interesting story about a man who’s broken and lost his faith.’”
3. Creature feature.
Practical effects were visible throughout the entire documentary — from small props that were used in the first scenes featuring Obi-Wan working on Tatooine, to larger aliens and creatures that are spotted in the background of the show. Including one very tall, furry creature that makes use of some serious stilt walking.
Chow said she was a big fan of the Muppets growing up in a brief segment where we get a close look at some of the numerous alien prosthetics that were used, noting how much she really loves the various creatures in Star Wars and how they help create a special world on set.
4. Hayden Christensen’s return to set.
A big part of the anticipation behind Obi-Wan Kenobi was seeing Hayden Christensen return to Star Wars as Darth Vader. That excitement was noticeable from cast and crew, as well as Christensen himself, as he talked about his return.
The first day on set saw Christensen back in costume as Anakin Skywalker circa Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith; as he got ready to shoot, Christensen shared that Ewan McGregor had already finished his work for the day, and was supposed to be heading home. Instead, McGregor chose to stick around.
“I was looking for him… They’re like, ‘He’s standing by the camera for your eye line.’ And they pointed off way in the distance, 200-300 feet away,” Christensen said. “I shouted to him. I was like, ‘Obi-Wan!’ I saw a hand go up and then I really felt his presence.”
5. Deborah Chow and Hayden Christensen’s collaboration.
It’s clear that Obi-Wan Kenobi involved a lot of collaboration on the part of the cast and crew. And that aspect from the production can be seen in Deborah Chow and Hayden Christensen working together on how to best bring Darth Vader back to the screen.
“Deborah just had so much insight,” Christensen said. “It was clear that she felt a great responsibility to this character, as I do. And so we just knew we had to get this right.”
Paige Lyman is a freelance writer and culture journalist who covers video games, entertainment, Internet culture, and more regularly for outlets like Digital Trends and Wired. She’s loved Star Wars since she was a kid and regularly convinces friends to watch the animated series. She loves iced coffee, video games, music, working out, cosplay, and traveling. She also has a soft spot for Han Solo, in all his nerfherder glory.
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