The biggest revelation of the Obi-Wan Kenobi Global Press Conference? While on-set creating this new Disney+ series, director Deborah Chow played John Williams’ Star Wars soundtrack during the action scenes!
MOSES INGRAM (Reva): And it was sick, too, because we’d be, like, stepping off the ship or doing something else and the music would swell and you’re just feeling like you’re 10 feet tall. It’s very, very cool.
DEBORAH CHOW (director, showrunner, executive producer): Yeah, that was the big reason we did it because the music, obviously it brings the emotional component. And what John Williams has done has been so inextricably tied, it is Star Wars. So if we put it on, all of a sudden I see Moses go like two inches taller and, you know, everybody responds to it.
The limited series stars Ewan McGregor, reprising his role as the iconic Jedi Master. Obi-Wan Kenobi begins 10 years after the dramatic events of 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.
Vader’s sidekicks, the Inquisitors, are on the hunt to eradicate all Jedi from the galaxy. Reva, the Third Sister, is one of these Inquisitors. She is played by newcomer to the Star Wars universe, Moses Ingram.
Ewan McGregor, Moses Ingram and Deborah Chow shared some great spoiler-free details about Obi-Wan Kenobi, debuting on Disney+ with two full episodes on May 27th.
The storytelling in Obi-Wan Kenobi:
DEBORAH CHOW: I was really excited at the idea of getting to do a limited series, for one, 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.
EWAN MCGREGOR (Obi-Wan Kenobi): 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 a really, really a brilliant story and one that will satisfy the fans sitting between those two episodes.
MOSES INGRAM: I think when I read the script, that was the thing that attracted me the most, even though it was, like, dummy sides. 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. 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 MCGREGOR: The beauty of it being a series is that we’ve got longer to tell the story. But because Deb directed them all and it’s her singular vision throughout, it did feel like we were just making one movie. And the episodic nature of our series falls really cleverly in the storyline, but it is one driving narrative.
Obi-Wan’s character at this point in time:
EWAN MCGREGOR: I think because of what happens at the end of Episode III, 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, 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.
DEBORAH CHOW: 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, there’d be so much weight coming into this story that was connected to Anakin Vader. So, I think it just felt natural that it would be Hayden and that, you know, we would continue this relationship in the series.
After 17 years, Ewan felt he had to work on two things, his lightsaber skills and… his voice.
EWAN MCGREGOR: We did screen tests with different actors for two roles on the series. And that was the first thing I did as Obi-Wan again since, you know, 2003. We borrowed a bit of The Mandalorian stage on a Sunday when they were off and some of their crew and I walked into the dressing room and there was a sort of Obi-Wan-ish costume hanging up that The Mandalorian‘s wardrobe department had put together. And putting that on was just really crazy after all that time. And then walking out onto the set was crazy because there’s so many Star Wars fans in the crew, like, which was a new experience for me. But then when we came to do the actual scenes with these other actors, I was doing a sort of vague English accent and it wasn’t really Obi-Wan’s voice at all. And I was like, ‘oh dear. That’s not — that’s not very good.’ So luckily we had months before we actually started shooting. So, I went back and did some homework with Alec Guinness and what I’d done before in the original films. Playing him felt totally like he’d always been there ready to come out any minute. But just his voice needed a bit of work.
Learn about Reva, the Third Sister (played by Moses Ingram):
MOSES INGRAM: She’s really smart and she plays the offense and she’s always 10 steps ahead. 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. You can fight like a girl and still be badass, which is pretty cool.
MOSES INGRAM: The costume was already made. Hair, in particular, her hair was different in the initial envisioning of the character. And it was just something that my hair didn’t do naturally, but Deb was so great about, you know, hearing me out on that and that’s how we ended up with the braids. It’s really important for me to do what my hair does.
Behind-the-scenes technology of Obi-Wan Kenobi:
DEBORAH 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. Since the first season of Mandalorian, a lot of the tech has advanced so much. Every passing year, there’s advances. So, by the time we came to do Kenobi, already there were things that we could do that we couldn’t do in 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.
EWAN MCGREGOR: I’d never worked on the Stagecraft set before and it was such a gamechanger 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, if you’re shooting in the desert, everywhere you look is the desert. And if you’re flying through space, then the stars are flying past you as you scout along. It’s so cool.
DEBORAH CHOW: But one thing that was cool with the technology is that actually a lot of the stuff you guys did in the prequels and that George [Lucas] was doing by pushing digital so early, is so much of that groundwork is how we got to Stagecraft. Like, a lot of the tools he started developing, like, pre-vis, all that stuff, is how we ended up on Stagecraft.
Finally, we will leave with these words of hope in a dark time period for Star Wars:
DEBORAH CHOW: We’re starting in a pretty dark time period and that was kind of quite interesting not only to start with OBI-WAN’s character in kind of a dark place, but also starting in a period in the timeline that’s quite dark. So that gives us a very interesting starting place for the series. But with the character of Kenobi, he’s always felt like there’s so much warmth, there’s so much compassion and humor, that it is kind of a character of light and hope. That was interesting for us to try to keep the balance of the darkness, but also still maintaining the hope coming from the character.
EWAN MCGREGOR: Yeah. Well, it all comes from Alec Guinness. You know, Alec Guinness had this wit behind his eyes all the time. He had a twinkle in his eyes. And that’s in the writing, but also just for me. I always try and think of him and try to feel him somewhere. [gestures to the back of his head] Like, hear him saying the lines. And that’s why I think the writing was so, so good in this because right from the word go, all of his dialogue felt to me like it could have been Alec Guinness saying it. Then I knew we were on the right path.
Obi-Wan Kenobi will premiere exclusively on Disney+ on Friday, May 27, with the first two episodes. Following the premiere, the series will stream weekly on Wednesdays, until the finale on Wednesday, June 22.
Skywalking Through Neverland is delighted to share with you a special Roundtable attended by a few of our Star Wars friends. They spoke individually with Ewan McGregor (Ben Kenobi), Moses Ingram (Reva) and Deborah Chow (director/showrunner/executive producer). The Roundtable included Tricia Barr (FANgirl Blog / Fangirls Going Rogue), James Burns (Jedi News), Dan Zehr (Coffee With Kenobi), and Charlotte Errity and Caitlin Plesher (Skytalkers Podcast). Click each player below to listen!