Arguably the most eagerly awaited Disney+ Star Wars series so far, Obi-Wan Kenobi certainly serves as the most direct follow-up to Revenge of the Sith we’ve seen in live-action to date, with Ewan McGregor returning as the title character in a story set ten years after Episode III. Hayden Christensen is back as well, reprising his role as Darth Vader, the man once known as Anakin Skywalker, as we find Obi-Wan quietly living on Tatooine and watching out for Luke Skywalker from afar, until trouble finds him.
Guiding the show is Deborah Chow, The Mandalorian Season 1 veteran who directed all six episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Fandom spoke to Chow and one of Obi-Wan’s stars, Moses Ingram – who plays the fearsome villain, Reva — about catching up with the title character at a very troubled time in his life, putting a bigger spotlight on the Inquisitors, bringing back other familiar faces, and more.
FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW
Of course, there’s understandable reasons for that to have changed in the Kenobi series, with Chow noting, “It is a dark time that we’re starting in. And for the character of Obi-Wan, we’re coming out of Revenge of the Sith and with everything that happened with Order 66 and Anakin at the end of that. So he’s carrying a lot of weight at the beginning of our series.”
However, Chow added, regarding Obi-Wan’s more charming side, “I think that was something that Ewan and I really didn’t want to lose sight of is that the character’s always felt… If anyone seems representative of the light side, it’s this character. There’s always such a warmth and a compassion and a humor to him, so we didn’t want to lose that in the character. We wanted to have the integrity of the character we know and love, but at this point in his life.”
Ingram was notably impressed by working with Chow as her director, remarking, “She has so much respect for this work. She’s been on this project for about three years now and it’s been a long road where she’s seen many iterations. I think she’s got a really hard job pleasing fans that were here from the 70s and then also sort of welcoming a new breed of fans, but she’s so great, and works so hard, and really is the heartbeat of the show, so I’m excited for people to see her vision.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi will offer a greater look at the Inquisitors, the group tasked by Darth Sidious and Darth Vader with hunting down any Jedi who escaped the Great Jedi Purge. Reva, AKA the Third Sister, is one of the Inquisitors, and she is joined in the show by several others, including the Fourth Sister (Rya Kihlstedt), the Fifth Brother (Sung Kang), and the Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend).
Though not considered true Sith, the Inquisitors are all powerful wielders of the dark side of the Force, which we’ve seen doesn’t tend to lead to a ton of loyalty or is perhaps the best way to forge a healthy group dynamic. Said Chow, with a laugh, “I would definitely say they’re not team players. I’d say in large part they’re all driven by their own ambition, so it makes for a difficult group.”
Ingram stressed that the Inquisitors are technically a team, but at the same time, “A team is composed of individuals, and everybody has their own way of doing things. I think what sets Reva apart is she doesn’t care what anyone feels about the way in which she does things. She plays the offensive and she has to be first.”
JEDI NO MORE
A notable aspect of the Inquisitors is that they are all former Jedi themselves, who were somehow turned to the dark side and now mercilessly hunt those who once were their comrades. When it came to pondering what led Reva to her situation, Ingram remarked, “For me, one thing that’s always fun, no matter what role I do, is to dive in on backstory for myself, just so when I’m out there playing, I have something to refer back to my imaginary memory. That part was really cool for me.”
It’s always possible we eventually will see a full canon backstory for Reva, but for now, Ingram is staying tight lipped on what she has imagined it might be, explaining, “I like to keep those secret gems for myself. You know, when I’m watching back, I’m like, ‘Oh, I know what was happening in that moment’ and I remember what I was thinking of.”
Dave Filoni introduced the Inquisitors on the animated series Star Wars Rebels, and Chow remarked, “I worked with Dave Filoni on The Mandalorian and worked with him pretty closely on that. And then we were also shooting right across the lot from Mandalorian, so he’s been a great support for me throughout. And I also had the benefit of people like Doug Chiang, who’s our co-production designer, who actually was part of the prequels and obviously done so much incredible work for Lucasfilm. So there were a number of people helping to support that.”
When it came to keeping all of the Inquisitors’ Jedi pasts in mind, even if we don’t dive deep into it during this particular series, Chow said, “We absolutely did. I think that’s one of the things I think that I find the most fascinating about Inquisitors is that they are all individuals and they all have a very rich backstory, or there’s an opportunity for a very rich backstory, if it doesn’t exist, about why they turned and how they got to that point. So very much in working with all the different actors, we’re very much trying to get into what drives this character and what is the history? Obviously, we don’t have a ton of time in our series to explore that, but we really wanted to make sure that that essence and that history felt like it was part of the character.”
OWEN AND BERU TOO
Obi-Wan and Darth Vader aren’t the only characters returning in the series, as Obi-Wan Kenobi also features Owen Lars and Beru Lars, AKA Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, once more played by Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse, who portrayed the ill-fated couple in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
Said Chow, of bringing these two characters into the story, “I was also incredibly excited to have these two come back. Everybody focuses on Ewan and Hayden, but also for me, Bonnie and Joel are another pair that are very similar. And, you know it’s a pretty amazing story… They were very young when they did these, and to bring them back, so many years later, and they’re back in these roles together, it was pretty special for them as well.”
Owen and Beru sometimes can be a bit overlooked when looking back at Luke Skywalker’s life, since their time with him was mainly off camera, but it’s worth noting how much they would have played a role in helping shape the man he became. Said Chow, “It was really cool to bring them back and to have a little bit more time to develop them so that they had a bit of a bigger role in this.”
FINDING YOUR LIGHTSABER STYLE
Being an Inquisitor of course also comes with one other key aspect – getting your own lightsaber and the skills to fight with it.
Beyond just the craziness of finding herself acting out lightsaber fights on an actual Star Wars set, Ingram said she admired the attention paid to make sure everyone had their own individual approach to a lightsaber battle, noting, “I think that was another really, really cool part is that everyone has such different fight styles. Jojo [Jonathan Eusebio], our fight coordinator, was really detailed at figuring out who would do what moves and what was appropriate and what wasn’t what’s been done before and what we could possibly improve on.”
Ingram began to elaborate on her character’s specific skills, saying, “Reva is an athlete with a lot of elements of…” because stopping herself and noting, “I actually don’t know if I can say that!” as the old Star Wars secrecy struck.
She began finishing her statement again, simply saying, with a smile on her face, that Reva has “A lot of cool elements to her fight style that, hopefully, we’ll be able to talk about later!”
Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres May 27 on Disney+.