5 fun things we learned from Disney's 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' documentary – Mashable

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If you want to see Hayden Christensen’s first day on set for Obi-Wan Kenobi, back in his Jedi robes as Anakin Skywalker after 17 years, you should watch the Disney+ documentary Obi-Wan Kenobi: A Jedi’s Return.

A behind-the-scenes look at the Star Wars series, the 60-minute film directed by David Gelb takes you through the making of Obi-Wan Kenobi with director Deborah Chow and stars Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Moses Ingram, Indira Varma, Kumail Nanjiani, Rupert Friend, Joel Edgerton, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Bonnie Piesse, and more.

There’s plenty of footage from the sets, both from the series (like the Sandwhale station heaving with slabs of “meat” and Bangkok night market-inspired planet Daiyu) and the Star Wars films, especially from The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and The Revenge of the Sith, but also from the original trilogy. And there’s a bunch of fun trivia reveals, which we’ve rounded up here, from McGregor picking his own lightsaber to Nanjiani’s experience with the Force.

1. Ewan McGregor got to pick Obi-Wan’s lightsaber for The Phantom Menace

Yes, Star Wars had revealed this little gem on Twitter in May, but in case you missed it, McGregor tells the tale in the documentary of the day he was allowed to pick Obi-Wan’s lightsaber hilt when starting production on Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

“We went into the props making department and the props master brought this wooden box out, opened it up, and there was lightsabers in there. And I got to choose my one,” says McGregor.

McGregor also shared a memory from the same film, in which the actor thought the Gungan bongo submarine used by Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Jar Jar Binks to travel from Otoh Gunga to Theed would actually be going underwater.

“I had a walk around the studio with George. We went into a stage where they were making the submarine that Liam [Neeson], Ahmed Best, and I end up in. I was so excited, I looked up at it, and then I went, ‘George, will we go underwater in it?’ And he just looked at me and he went, ‘What?’ I said, ‘Will we submerge in it?’ I was so excited that we might. And he said, ‘It’s none of it real, you know.’”

2. Obi-Wan’s lightsaber for the series is a blend of Episode III and IV

For the Disney+ series, prop master Brad Elliott and his team made a hybrid lightsaber hilt with features from both Alec Guinness’ from Episode IV: A New Hope and McGregor’s from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

“This is our halfway point in a way,” says Elliott. “It’s leaning hard into [the Episode IV lightsaber] as far as form factor — it’s got the switchboard and not the bubbles.”

3. Deborah Chow drew inspiration from her dad

One of the key elements of Obi-Wan Kenobi is the depiction of the story of the Jedi master and Princess Leia, one we’ve never been privy to onscreen. Director Deborah Chow saw this element as one of her deciding factors to join the series.

“One of the things that really drew me to the project was the father-daughter story of it all,” she says, elaborating on her own father’s love for the screen.

“My dad, growing up, he was a very pivotal person for me. My dad was a huge movie fan, and he was Chinese, so he used to watch a ton of Asian action films. He loved them and he had a huge collection of movies, so I think I absorbed a lot from that, and just the speed and the imagination that a lot of the Asian martial arts films have, and the legacy of people like [Akira] Kurosawa and the grandmasters, Jet Li, all the people like that.”

4. Kumail Nanjiani’s wall smash may have been a little intense

There’s a moment in the series where Inquisitor Reva, played by Moses Ingram, uses the Force to smash con man Haja Estree, played by Kumail Nanjiani, against a Daiyu wall in order to interrogate him as to Leia and Obi-Wan’s whereabouts — and in the behind-the-scenes footage, it looks like quite the smash.

“I got Force-pushed into a wall much harder than I thought I was going to,” says Nanjiani. “I’m very padded up and it was awesome, but also I forget what day it is.”

5. Hayden Christensen knows Obi-Wan had the high ground

A delightful highlight of this documentary is the reunion of Christensen and McGregor 17 years after shooting Revenge of the Sith (and 20 years since they met on Attack of the Clones). You’ll see the pair rehearsing the flashback lightsaber duel scene in episode 5, in which Obi-Wan and Anakin train together with their mullet and Padawan braid reaffixed, respectively. The pair also reflect on their experiences on set, including the day Christensen returned to his Jedi robes for his first shot for episode 3, when Obi-Wan sees an apparition of Anakin in the desert of Mapuzo having recently learned he’s alive and kicking as Darth Vader.

“When I got to set I was told that Ewan had finished for the day and that they were trying to send him home but he was insisting on staying to be there for my first shot back,” says Christensen. “I was looking for him, I was like, ‘Where is he?’ and they were like, ‘He’s standing by the camera for your eye line,’ and they pointed way off in the distance, 200-300 feet away…I shouted to him, ‘OBI-WAN!’ I saw a hand go up and I really felt his presence.

“It was a very emotional thing, not just reuniting as these characters but also as friends. It was like going back in time.”

Delightfully, as is a consistent technique of documentary, the pair stand side-by-side watching on an enormous screen Obi-Wan and Anakin’s iconic duel from Revenge of the Sith across the lava-drenched planet of Mustafar.

“I mean, you warned me, you had the high ground,” says Christensen.

“If I had a dollar every time someone tells me I had the high ground,” replies McGregor. 

Obi-Wan Kenobi: A Jedi’s Return(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Disney+.




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