Ewan McGregor in and as 'Obi-Wan Kenobi'
Ewan McGregor in and as 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Life has come full circle for ‘Star Wars’ veteran actors Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor as they return to spin-off limited series ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’, out now in the UAE on Disney+.

Christensen says he relished returning to his role as the infamous villain Darth Vader, who started out as the promising Jedi Anakin Skywalker before turning to the dark side in the Star Wars prequel trilogy films.

“Putting the costume back on again, it was it was a very emotional experience for me,” Christensen said in a roundtable that Gulf News was part of. “It brought up a lot of sort of feelings of nostalgia. But it was also very cathartic in a way too... just because this is a character that one, means so much to me, and two, has really sort of stayed with me over the years.”

Christensen, who last played the role in 2005’s ‘Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith’, recalled getting the call to be part of the new Disney+ series that’s directed by Deborah Chow.

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Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader in 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' Image Credit: Luscasfilm Ltd.

“It was an incredible phone call to get. I got a message from somebody first saying, you might be getting a phone call very soon. And immediately my imagination started to run wild. And then I got the call saying that Deborah Chow wanted to get together and talk about this Obi-Wan Kenobi show that she’s doing with Ewan and I was just thrilled. This is a character that means so much to me, and to get to come back and do more with it was just a thrilling opportunity,” the 41-year-old actor said.

In a separate roundtable, Chow too recounted how she got Christensen on-board the show.

Deborah Chow
Deborah Chow Image Credit: Instagram.com/starwars

“It’s been really exciting for us to feel the prequel love, especially for Hayden,” said the filmmaker, who is known for helming episodes of ‘The Vampire Diaries’, ‘Better Call Saul’ and ‘Marvel’s Jessica Jones’.

She added: “Obviously, we’re very connected to the prequels and we’re very strongly connected to ‘Revenge of the Sith’ in particular. It just felt very organic and it felt like we really needed Hayden back in this story, particularly in relation to Obi-Wan. So I went and met with him when we were still in development and explained the series and explained what we were trying to do. And he was absolutely lovely. He’s been living with this character for a very long time so he brings a tremendous amount to it.”

‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ is set 10 years after the events of 2005 movie ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and sees Vader grappling with his identity as the Sith Lord; all while his former Jedi Master Kenobi is on planet Tatooine watching over Anakin/Vader’s son Luke.

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Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen in 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

“There’s a lot of very interesting character exploration that takes place in this story,” Christensen said. “The show is about is about Obi-Wan Kenobi and about him dealing with his past in a lot of ways. But the same is true of Vader. He’s trying to sort of reconcile everything that has happened... He’s trying his best to bury Anakin as deep down inside as possible but that part of him is always going to struggle with his relationship with the Jedi Order and specifically his relationship with Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

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Hayden Christensen in 'Revenge of the Sith' Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd

Christensen added: “What made this opportunity so compelling for me is that I was gonna get to play Darth Vader at this point in his life and a very meaningful opportunity just to get to continue with this character.”

Canadian filmmaker Chow had previously directed episodes from another Star Wars spin-off show ‘The Mandalorian’, and this time around she helmed it from start to end.

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Ewan McGregor in 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

“For ‘Kenobi’, it was really interesting because I got to do the whole thing. And it was something that I was really grateful [for] and really excited to do,” she said. “We were trying to tell one big story, so having the ability to take it right from the beginning all the way through the end to have one really strong vision was really beneficial for the series for me.”

The director opened up about how helpful it was to work with two stalwarts of the ‘Star Wars’ series.

“It was quite special with Ewan and Hayden in a lot of ways, because not only did they do the prequels together so many years ago, but they’ve also lived in the public eye with these characters,” she said. “Ewan in particular, he knows this character so well and he embodies his character in every sense of the word... That’s so helpful for me. He was very much a collaborative partner. He really helped me — if we had a lot of dialogue and he’s like, ‘it doesn’t feel right’, I always trusted his instincts.”

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Ewan McGregor in Obi-Wan Kenobi' Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

In a global virtual press conference, lead star McGregor gave insight into how he stepped into his character once again and showed a new facet in a series that has been going on for decades.

“At the end of the third episode 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,” he said. “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... 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.

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Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

“So it was interesting to take a character that we know and love from Alec Guinness’ creation of the character in the 70s 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,” McGregor said.

He added: “I think we’ve ended up a really, really a brilliant story and one that will satisfy the fans sitting between those two episodes.”

Did you know?

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A still from 'Star Wars: An New Hope' Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

McGregor’s favourite ‘Star Wars’ movie is 1977’s ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’, “just because it’s the one that changed my life I suppose. But, as a kid watching that movie and when I hear the words ‘Star Wars’, I always think of, like, C3PO and R2D2 going through the desert, through the sand and that’s the first image.”

Don’t miss it!

‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ is out now on Disney+.