Darth Vader’s return in Obi-Wan Kenobi was even scarier in the original script, says the Disney Plus show’s head writer Joby Harold.
Hayden Christensen reprises his role as Anakin Skywalker in the six-part series, and the show certainly doesn’t waste any time bringing the iconic Sith Lord toe-to-toe with his former mentor, the titular Jedi. In episode 3, Vader lures Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) into a duel by harming innocent bystanders on the mining planet of Mapuzo, a scene that Harold hoped would build on the violent Vader we saw at the end of Star Wars spin-off Rogue One.
“From a Vader point of view, we’re all living with the memory of [that film], and how effective that was,” he told Vanity Fair (opens in new tab), explaining why they wanted to show the villain tearing through the village in search of his nemesis. “It was very gratifying to see Vader finally be unleashed in a sequence like that, so we wanted to try to trump it if we could.
“It was a lot more extreme, at one point. I got pulled back a little bit on that. It was so important to define Vader’s anger and rage. There’s an emotionality to the choices he’s making that are a little further than we’re used to seeing with Vader. He’s pushed a little more than the Vader we know. Obi-Wan isn’t the finished article before [the original Star Wars], and we can look at Vader in the same way.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi is set to continue on June 8, with the show rolling out a new episode every Wednesday. Rory Ross, Bonnie Piesse, Simone Kessell, Benny Safdie, Kumail Nunjiani, Maya Erskine, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Indira Varma, Sung Kang, and Rupert Friend (as the Grand Inquisitor) star alongside Christensen and McGregor.
Director Deborah Chow previously revealed to Total Film (opens in new tab) that the series was inspired by “gritty, poetic westerns”, such as The Assassination of Jesse James and The Proposition. She also explained that her love of Akira Kurosawa movies influenced the show, too.
“There’s such a strong correlation for me between the Jedi and the Ronin – particularly in this period where all the Jedi are being hunted. I was really looking at what you do if you’re the last samurai,” she explained. “You’re more than just a warrior. There’s also an ethical code that goes along with it, in a world that’s vastly changed. That really had a pretty big effect on what we were trying to do.”
For everything else that’s set in a galaxy far, far away coming soon, see our guide to all the upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows.