Only a few weeks remain until Lucasfilm returns to live-action storytelling with Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi series adding to the Star Wars legacy. Filling in some of the post-Episode III gaps in the Skywalker Saga while also utilizing other canon aspects of the story from animated shows like Rebels, Obi-Wan has plenty of new material to tackle with its debut.
Just as The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett did before it, Obi-Wan Kenobi will bring a new piece of material into the live-action Star Wars universe that started off in the animated sphere before the days of Disney+. This time, it comes with the Order of Inquisitors, who first showed up behind the Grand Inquisitor in Star Wars Rebels before Rupert Friend takes over the role in Ewan McGregor's return to the galaxy far, far away.
Lucasfilm and Disney have their own set of challenges when moving characters like this from one medium to another, which is no different for Obi-Wan as it helps to tie together more than four decades of adventures in movies and TV shows.
Ahead of its premiere on Disney+, director Deborah Chow looked at her own experience with pushing through those challenges on such a big project.
Obi-Wan Director on Canon Star Wars Devices
Entertainment Weekly spoke with Obi-Wan Kenobi director Deborah Chow on the process behind working certain details from other Star Wars projects into her own show.
With her previous work on The Mandalorian, she felt "the responsibility to this universe" and found it incredibly helpful for her next round of storytelling on Obi-Wan as she worked with executive producers Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau. With regards to the canon material across various mediums, Chow made it clear that she didn't "want to just retread or do the same thing again" in order to keep the story fresh while also bringing in past plot points:
"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."
Chow also looked at Obi-Wan's state of mind following Anakin Skywalker's turn to the Dark Side, which she saw as something "really interesting" to get to explore in this series. With Order 66 now a decade in the past, Obi-Wan believing he killed Anakin on Mustafar, and most of his close friends "sort of gone or hiding," the former Jedi Master is in a rough spot this time around:
"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."
Going more in-depth on the Inquisitors, Chow gave fans a taste of what to expect from the Inquisitors and said that the team brought them into Obi-Wan "largely because they were out there:"
"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."
Meshing Star Wars World Together
More so than any series in pop culture, Star Wars has done its best to interweave its live-action story with a dozen seasons of animated programming that fills in some of the gaps in the story. This has now moved to the live-action shows, including characters and plotlines from those animated stories, such as Ahsoka Tano's inclusion in The Mandalorian and Cad Bane's recent debut in The Book of Boba Fett.
Now, as director Deborah Chow looks to introduce the Inquisitors from Star Wars Rebels to Obi-Wan Kenobi, she knows that she has Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau there to help her with every detail required to make it happen.
Filoni was the mastermind behind both The Clone Wars and Rebels, and he's now taken his expertise to Disney+ with every live-action program in the Star Wars universe from the past and future. Even with Chow having her own experience thanks to two episodes of work in The Mandalorian Season 1, the collaborative effort between herself, Filoni, and Favreau can't be understated as this world evolves.
Obi-Wan Kenobi will begin streaming on Disney+ on May 27.