Obi-Wan Kenobi director explains why it's 'a very dark time to be a Jedi'
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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… the Republic was served by thousands of Jedi knights who protected the peace against the forces of darkness such as the Sith. That time will not be shown in the latest Disney+ Star Wars series Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Series writer Joby Harold already told EW how the show will focus on "a time of darkness in the galaxy" — a time that features not only Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader (who both took prominent positions on our recent top 100 Star Wars characters list), but a group of Force-sensitive dark side warriors known as Inquisitors. EW provided the first look at one such Inquisitor named Reva (played by The Queen's Gambit's Moses Ingram) in our cover story on the limited series, and two trailers have prominently featured the Grand Inquisitor (first seen in animated form on Star Wars Rebels and played now by Rupert Friend).
That is a lot of dark side to go around, and it means bad news for Obi-Wan, who seems to have turned up on their radar. (That's what you get for going back to Tatooine!) We spoke with series director Deborah Chow about what to expect from the show, what sort of state Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan is in, and what to make of the fearsome warriors hunting him down.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How would you describe the story that people are going to see unfold on the screen in these six episodes?
DEBORAH CHOW: The story for us, it takes place 10 years after Revenge of the Sith. So we are right between the prequels and the original trilogy. And really, it's a character story about Obi-Wan. And, in large part, the story that we've been trying to tell is his journey of how he went from the end of Revenge of the Sith, with all the pain and the tragedy that happened in that ending, to become the calm and the peaceful Alec Guinness that walked into A New Hope. So we're trying to tell that moment of transition of how did he get from here to here.
How is the Obi-Wan we're going to be seeing here dealing with the pain of losing Anakin to the dark side and everything that followed that? What sort of state is he in?
At this point, both for him and for the galaxy, it's quite a dark period. And that actually made it really interesting to be telling a story in this period. It's a time when the Empire's ascending, it's post Order 66. So most of the Jedi have been killed. A lot of them are being hunted by the Inquisitors. So it's a very dark time to be a Jedi and most of them are hiding or dead. So for him at this point 10 years later, we're dealing with post Order 66 after Anakin, who he believes he killed, and then all his friends — everybody sort of gone or hiding. So it's a tough period for Obi-Wan.
What can you say about giving us our first live action look at the Inquisitors?
Obviously, they're from Rebels, and it was really exciting to get to do them for the first time in live action. They're established characters and whatnot, so we brought them into the show and it's largely because they were out there. They're Jedi hunters, so they're under Vader and Palpatine, and they're basically dark side wielders that their primary purpose is to hunt down Jedi.
Normally when you're making a show or a movie, you can come up with and do whatever you want. But obviously when you're part of this universe, there are channels of approvals that need to happen for almost everything, like bringing over Inquisitors. So how does that process generally work?
Yeah, it was interesting. And I think for me having gone through The Mandalorian — and thank goodness I did — that was really my introduction to the responsibility to this universe and how to tell stories in this galaxy. So, it was so helpful having gone through that already before taking this one on. But there really is a responsibility to it. You want to respect the canon, but you also want to have your voice in the canon, and you don't want to just retread or do the same thing again.
So there were definitely people that were extremely helpful. Lucasfilm has a great team that helps support that. But I would say Dave Filoni was very pivotal for me, both in terms of The Mandalorian and in terms of the Star Wars of it all, as well as Jon Favreau. But Dave also was a touchstone, and remains a touchstone for me for this series. Anytime I have a question about canon, I go to him.
Finally, what was it like working with Ewan McGregor?
Wonderful. For me, he was honestly more than an actor. He was a real creative partner in the show and he really is just sort of seamless to the character. There are just some actors and roles where there's just such a meshing where they are one, and that's what it felt like for me.
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