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EXCLUSIVE: Ewan McGregor teases what Star Wars fans can expect from Obi-Wan Kenobi

''I always believed there was a great story to tell.''

By Scott Ellis
With the words, "Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!" spoken in the opening moments of the original 1977 film Star Wars: A New Hope, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) introduced a character who would become one of the screen's greatest heroes.
Obi Wan (played then by Sir Alex Guinness) was the last of the Jedi Knights, an ancient order of protectors who travelled the galaxy to bring peace to the far-flung planets.
Through nine films and countless book, comic, game and television spin-offs, he battled evil and brought a new hope that became the backbone of the Star Wars saga.
Obi-Wan saddles up again, but this time for TV. (Image: Disney+)
But what happened when Obi Wan Kenobi lost hope?
That, says Ewan McGregor who plays the Jedi in this new chapter of the Star Wars saga Obi Wan Kenobi, is the big question.
"Right at the very beginning when I started to speak with Disney (about this project), that's where we started," Ewan, 51, tells TV WEEK.
"I said let's take this character we know and love, a Jedi master, a peacekeeper, all the things that you saw him becoming through the first three films and then let's take him to this very broken place and tell a story about somebody who has lost their faith."
Obi Wan is watching over Anakin's secret son but a shadow of his former self. (Image: Disney+)
When this series begins, Ewan explains, it is roughly ten years since the events of Star Wars Episode Three: Return of The Sith where the Jedi had been destroyed and Obi Wan had left his apprentice Anakin Skywalker for dead after a brutal battle, not knowing he had in fact been rescued by the emperor and transformed into Darth Vader.
Living in a self-imposed exile for what he feels is his own failure, Obi Wan is watching over Anakin's secret son but a shadow of his former self.
"Obi wan has lost his brother and his best friend to the dark side and I think feels entirely responsible and guilt ridden about that," Ewan says.
"He's trying to live a normal life and trying not to be a Jedi anymore, but he's lost."
Any peace he might have found however disappears when Imperial Inquisitors arrive to track down rumours of a surviving Jedi, followed by Vader himself.
And that, teases series director Deborah Chow, is where things get interesting.
"They are still the same characters and they are still the same people," she says.
"But we're at a different point with them in their lives which I think is quite an interesting starting point.
"With Obi-Wan Kenobi, we were looking at who is he at this moment, who are the people that have been important in his life, what is history… and so much of that is obviously connected to what happened in Revenge of the Sith.
Leading a squad of Stormtroopers, Imperial Inquisitor Fifth Brother is trying to track down and kill Jedis. (Image: Disney+)
"There's a tremendous amount of pain (because Obi Wan) thinks he killed Anakin and that's all coming into this series. We're exploring that dynamic as a starting place emotionally."
Which was great news for Ewan, who spent years working with Hayden Christenson and jumped at the chance to do so again.
"I love Hayden," Ewan says. "We spent a lot of time together when in Australia when we shot (Star Wars) Episodes Two and Three and then we did also did reshoots in London for both of those movies.
"If we weren't shooting together, we were very often in the fight gym together because we had so much fighting to do… so I was happy to see him again and it really did feel very natural looking across at him.
"He's trying to live a normal life and trying not to be a Jedi anymore, but he's lost." (Image: Disney+)
"It was like the last 20 years hasn't happened."
So, does that mean Ewan and Hayden, aka Obi Wan and Vader, will share the screen again?
Nobody will officially confirm anything (although Hayden Christenson strongly hinted it will happen, but the fact these two iconic characters will be in the same place at the same time opens a galaxy of possibilities.
"I don't want to give away any of the storylines so it's difficult to answer that question properly… but all I can say really is that I always believed there was a great story to tell between (Star Wars) Episodes Three and Four and I really think that we found it."
And like Princess Leia, fans can only hope.
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