Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi haven’t always been sworn enemies. They started out as Padawan and Jedi Master, after all, and were brothers in arms throughout the events of the Clone Wars. But by the time we see them again in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi TV show, their lightsabers will be clashing once more.
The series is set in the space between the duo’s epic duel in Revenge of the Sith and their fateful showdown in A New Hope – and we spoke with Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen to find out exactly how Anakin and Obi-Wan’s relationship is different in the Disney Plus show compared to the rest of the saga.
“Well, the big difference is that Anakin’s Vader now,” McGregor tells us. “And the last time that Obi-Wan saw him was at the end of [Episode] 3 when he leaves him in the lava field, and he leaves him for dead, really… But now of course, in our series, he’s Vader. He’s Darth Vader now. So that’s the big difference.”
Vader is in charge of the villainous Inquisitors, who have never been seen before in live-action, and who are tasked with hunting down the remaining Jedi.
“Obviously the relationship between Obi-Wan and Vader is not what it used to be,” Christensen, on a separate Zoom call, explains. “And Vader has some unsettled business there, and so he’s in hot pursuit of all of the remaining Jedi, but specifically Obi-Wan. And that pursuit is very personal for him.”
The show will delve into Anakin’s dramatic transformation from Jedi hero to Vader, too. “He’s trying to reconcile his past and there’s a lot of character exploration there,” Christensen says of how his character has changed in the 10 years between Revenge of the Sith and Obi-Wan Kenobi. “There is this inherent struggle of self-identity with this character, and we get to explore that in the show. But he’s trying to bury Anakin as deep down inside as possible.”
Anakin isn’t the only one who’s changed, either. We’ll be seeing a far more broken Obi-Wan than ever before, and that was something new for McGregor to explore.
“It was to start off with him in a very different place, to take this character that we know and love from Alec Guinness’s performance in the 70s, to the work that I did through Episodes 1 to 3, this Jedi Master, and take him to a really broken place,” he says. “Where after Episode 3 ends with the Jedi’s been all but destroyed, and so you can imagine he’s lost all his friends and those that haven’t been killed are in hiding, and they can’t communicate because they would give themselves away.”
How many years have passed in real time opens up new possibilities as well. “And also, I’m almost 20 years older than I was when we did the last one, so I’m that bit nearer to Alec Guinness from the original film in age and therefore that’s a different side to somebody,” McGregor explains.
“It was really cool to do, I really enjoyed it,” he continues with a smile. “And I loved working with Deborah Chow, the director, really a lot. She’s really, really a great director and she knows this world inside out and I think knows really what the fans love about it. She understands the heart of what Star Wars is, and it was fun to work with her on this whole thing.”
But what has Obi-Wan been getting up to in the decade since he left Anakin on the fiery surface of Mustafar? The Jedi has a new mission. “Vader, we know, has sent these Inquisitors out to try and find the last Jedi and to destroy them, and they’re very much looking for Obi-Wan,” McGregor says. “And his last responsibility to that old life that he had as a Jedi is to be looking out for Luke Skywalker.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi debuts exclusively on Disney Plus from May 27. For much more on the series, check out our interviews with McGregor and Christensen on their favorite memories filming the show and Christensen on why he didn’t speak to George Lucas before returning as Darth Vader, as well as Moses Ingram on playing the newest Star Wars villain, Reva.
For everything else coming soon from the galaxy far, far away, see our guide to all the upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows.