Ewan McGregor is returning to the role of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi for the highly-anticipated Disney+ series, Obi-Wan Kenobi, helmed by Deborah Chow.
The series will be set ten years after Revenge of the Sith, during which time the great Jedi is in exile on Tatooine. But while details of the series are being held very close to the chest, we got a major announcement at the Disney Investor Day: Hayden Christensen is returning to the franchise to play Darth Vader!
“This will be the rematch of the century,” Lucasfilm President Kathy Kennedy teased, immediately raising eyebrows, as that’s hinting at another confrontation between Kenobi and Vader.
Disney also streamed a teaser for the series to investors only, blacking it out for online viewers, but it sounds like it was mainly a series of interviews, which The Hollywood Reporter mentioned. Deborah Chow described the show’s premise as, “Just being a Jedi, it’s not safe,” while McGregor said, “The most beautiful thing of all is that it’s brought me back together with Hayden.” I love that so much.
But, notably, McGregor also said that he and Christensen will have “another swing at each other.”
That, combined with Kennedy’s comment, certainly makes it sound like we’ll be seeing a rematch between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader in this series, presumably set right in-between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. And this opens up so many different possibilities.
I’m honestly not sure what to think about that right now, but also, I have absolutely no doubt that it’ll be great when we see it. With Deborah Chow, Ewan McGregor, and Hayden Christensen all on board, I’m sure that however it happens it’ll be handled really well. It could be nothing more than a vision, some test of the Force for Kenobi, having to ‘defeat’ Vader in his mind once and for all before he can attain a higher level of being one with the Force. But it seems more likely that it’ll be an actual confrontation between the two.
If that’s what happens, it’ll surely be drawing from a few key lines from the original trilogy. When the two fight on the Death Star in A New Hope, Vader tells Kenobi, “You should not have come back.” Right now, that works, because we’re just thinking that Vader means that Kenobi shouldn’t have come back to the fight to face him. But there’s enough room in that statement that it could be re-interpreted to mean that Kenobi actually came looking for Vader once before, and Vader is saying he shouldn’t have made that mistake again in ANH.
The second line is from Return of the Jedi, when Luke Skywalker tries to turn Anakin Skywalker back to the light. Vader responds, “Obi-Wan once thought as you did.” Once again, we currently understand this as referring back to their duel on Mustafar, as it’s true that it seems Obi-Wan only reluctantly fought his apprentice, instead hoping to bring him back to the light. But as with the previous statement, there’s enough ambiguity in here that another confrontation between the two would not be contradictory.
So while a rematch would make me a bit uneasy, I fully trust the people involved to handle it really well, and I think it could actually bring about a lot more depth to their relationship and the original films. By the time of the original trilogy, it seems that Obi-Wan has totally given up hope that Anakin Skywalker could return. In Rebels we see that he truly believes that Luke is the Chosen One, not Anakin. When they face off in A New Hope, Kenobi seemingly has no interest in trying to bring Anakin back. And when Obi-Wan and Yoda speak with Luke in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, it’s all about defeating Vader, not saving Anakin. Throughout the original trilogy, it is only Luke who believes that Anakin can be saved – and ultimately, he is proven right.
And so I think it would make perfect sense to show Obi-Wan trying to save Anakin at some point post-ROTJ and failing. That would then reinforce in his mind that Anakin is gone and cannot be saved. I don’t think this would undermine the original trilogy but instead could really add to it. It would mean that we’ve seen both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka Tano, two of the very closest people to Anakin Skywalker, both try to redeem Vader – and fail. They could not save him. Only Luke could.
So yeah, I was initially hesitant and not wanting the two to meet in this series, but I’m warming up to it. It sounds like it’s going to happen, and I think it could actually work and be super impactful, if done well. I trust that it will be. Besides, this opens the door for some pretty epic action sequences with Vader and Kenobi, so I’m not complaining!
And it also means that the two primary figures of the prequel trilogy will get to continue their emotional arc in a much more fulfilling way. Since the prequels were made after the original trilogy, there wasn’t as much room to pick up on the deep relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan that was so well-established in the first three films. This way, we’re going to get to see the continuation of that story, which will surely make things more rewarding and much more emotional.