Ewan McGregor has spoken about the changes that were made to Obi-Wan Kenobi during its early development, sharing how ‘proud’ he is that the plot was changed to focus on Princess Leia instead of Luke Skywalker, as was originally planned.
Throughout the Easter bank holiday weekend, Star Wars fans from around the globe have ventured to ExCeL London for Star Wars Celebration, an enormous fan gathering commemorating everything about the epic franchise.
On Sunday April 9, members of the Obi-Wan Kenobi cast – Ewan, Vivien Lyra Blair, Hayden Christensen and Indira Varma – and the show’s director Deborah Chow, were interviewed about the programme, which aired on Disney Plus last year.
The panel attended by Metro.co.uk took a look back at the creation of the series, as well as how the direction of the narrative shifted when the concept behind it was being conceived.
While the trailer for Obi-Wan Kenobi teased a look at a young Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely) on Tatooine, it turned out to be a red herring, as the show actually followed a weathered Obi-Wan as he sought to rescue a young Princess Leia (Vivien) following a kidnapping.
‘The first discussions that we had way back when were about Obi-Wan being broken, being on Tatooine, having survived Order 66 and the end of Episode III,’ Ewan, 52, recollected.
‘I just thought to take this character that we knew from Alec Guinness and from the work that I had done through the prequels too, as this able warrior Jedi Knight, to take him into a broken place and to imagine what it might be like for somebody who’s lost so many of the people he love s and is estranged from the rest. He can’t reach out to anybody.’
Addressing the aftermath of Anakin Skywalker’s (Hayden) descent to the dark side of the Force and his transformation into Darth Vader in the prequel films, Ewan continued: ‘He’s also carrying the guilt and the shame of having lost his Padawan, lost his brother, and feeling so ashamed and guilt-ridden about that, feeling like it was his fault. I thought that would just be interesting to start there.’
The Trainspotting star added: ‘I didn’t really know what the story would be, but that was the starting place. It went through different iterations. It was a story about Obi-Wan and Luke for a while, and then I can’t remember exactly when that changed. It was a great change. I’m so proud that it’s a story about Obi-Wan and Leia.’
Deborah, who also directed a couple of episodes of The Mandalorian during its first season, added that the switch to place Leia at the centre of the narrative instead of Luke was one of the things that she found ‘really attractive about the project’.
Referring to Obi-Wan’s departure from Tatooine, where he’s been stationed keeping an eye on Luke, she stated: ‘It’s very hard to justify why he would leave, and so really what you’re saying is we need an incredibly strong reason.
‘The other thing that Vivien and I both really liked about the project was we liked getting to shine a light on Princess Leia and acknowledge [her] .’
During the panel at Star Wars Celebration, the director and actors were each able to show their favourite clip from Obi-Wan Kenobi, with Ewan’s being the moment that the titular character and Leia said goodbye to each other in the final episode.
He revealed that the first time that he watched the season finale, he was ‘sitting alone crying his eyes out’.
‘I just find it so beautiful. The fact that “May the force be with you” doesn’t come till then,’ he said, referring to the fact that Obi-Wan finally says the famous Jedi line during his interaction with the young princess at that point in the series, after everything that they’ve been through together.
‘So beautiful, he’s finally got to the point where it’s alive in him again.’
Speaking directly to Vivien, he added: ‘I love it, and I love doing it with you, that scene. It was so love ly to play.’
While there is no confirmation that there’ll be any more instalments of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the lead star made it clear that he’d be up for it if the right project came along.
Emphasising how ‘special’ it was to don Obi-Wan’s robes once again, Ewan said: ‘It just was the right time to come back and do it again for me.
‘There’s something in my heart that’s opened up in terms of the acceptance of it, of the whole thing in my life. The whole Star Wars part of my life is back and it feels really good. I have to say it feels really, really good. Hopefully someone might think we should do some more.’
The crowd, unsurprisingly, then erupted into cheers and applause. There’s always hope!
Obi-Wan Kenobi is available to watch on Disney Plus.
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First appear at Ewan McGregor ‘so proud’ Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series changed plot to focus on Princess Leia instead of Luke Skywalker