Disney’s next big Star Wars show, “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” has attracted plenty of attention for its creative overhaul that allegedly led to the series scrapping Darth Maul as a villain. (Though Lucasfilm insiders have said Maul wasn’t planned for the series, despite the reports.) But while the decision to also alter some of the scripts to make them less dark was a controversial one, Star Wars fans are in agreement about one thing: their excitement to see Darth Vader return. In a new interview with EW, series director Deborah Chow explained her approach to the legendary villain, and the way she hopes to bridge the gap between the prequel movies and original films.
“For us, it’s very similar [to Obi-Wan] in the sense that he’s in between these two trilogies,” Chow said. “So he isn’t the ‘New Hope’ Vader quite yet, you know what I mean? So we are with the character sort of in the middle of this period. It is still Vader obviously, but it’s a Vader that isn’t quite as fully formed as ‘A New Hope.'”
While “A New Hope” comparisons may be unavoidable for any new Star Wars property that features both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader, the new show fits into a larger pattern of Disney+ Star Wars shows drawing heavily from the prequel movies. Chow said that Hayden Christensen’s presence on set helped her understand the way younger fans view the prequels in a more positive light, and helped her attempt to bridge the gap and create a show that all Star Wars fans will enjoy.
“It was a really interesting moment for me because you really started to see the different generations and how they connect to Star Wars and the franchise,” she said. “Where you have a generation that grew up with the prequels first and with Hayden. It’s a totally different thing for them than a generation that grew up with the originals. And then there’s younger generations with the new ones.”
But no matter how much planning you do, it is impossible to prepare for the feeling of being on set with one of the most iconic villains in film history. “The first time I saw him in costume and the full thing going, he’s towering over me. He’s like literally almost twice my size,” she said. “It’s really intense to have such an iconic character, and then to be directing him and to be doing new scenes with him. So I do remember poor Ewan on that day, he’s like, ‘What am I, chopped liver by comparison right now?'”
“But I know that for Vader, it’s something that it’s almost part of our consciousness, because we’ve all had it in our lives for so long that to actually see him on set, it’s pretty sort of significant. It’s kind of moving.”
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” is set to premiere on Disney+ on May 25.