Obi-Wan Kenobi's Princess Leia Auditions Were So Secretive 'There Were Code Names For The Code Names'

This post contains spoilers for "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

Casting for a big franchise project can often be very secretive, but when it came to casting a vital role for the Disney+ "Obi-Wan Kenobi" series, Disney and Lucasfilm took secretive to a new level. Young actor Vivien Lyra Blair, who plays the young Princess Leia, wasn't even entirely sure who she was auditioning for initially, reading the roles of multiple characters in a galaxy far, far away in order to prove she could handle those types of scenes. When she eventually got the chance to read the kinds of lines she would be saying if she got the role, there were still code names, and code names for those code names! 

At Star Wars Celebration this weekend in London, attended by /Film's Hannah Shaw-Williams, Blair sat down with series director Deborah Chow and co-star Ewan McGregor, who plays the titular Jedi, to discuss all things "Obi-Wan," including the origins of Blair's casting. The long casting process was clearly the right decision, as Blair is a perfect little Leia, and she ended up having perfect onscreen chemistry with McGregor. The two had a lot of fun behind the scenes, and that translates to a warmth onscreen that's hard to replicate. There are currently no set plans for a season 2 of "Obi-Wan Kenobi," as far as we know, but here's hoping we get to see Blair and McGregor working together again soon!

'It felt like time had stopped in that moment'

When asked about how she got the role of Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, Vivien Lyra Blair was excited to share the details:

"Well it was a very, very, very, very, very long audition process. I think it was about the course of almost a year that I was auditioning, and I did a lot of these dummy sides, which were sides for characters that already existed [...] They just wanted to see how I could deal with those scenes [...] At one point there were code names for the code names [audience laughs] because like, there were code names, right? And then there were code names for the code names, so I couldn't even know the code names until my seventh audition or something."

While it's wild to imagine not being allowed to know the code names until your seventh audition, Blair handled it all in stride and eventually got the news she had been hoping for. When Deborah Chow called and told her that they would like to offer her the role of Leia, she had already met Ewan McGregor and knew it was the real deal. She said that "it kind of felt like time had stopped in that moment," which is pretty understandable given the immense size and scope of the role. She's Princess freaking Leia, after all, one of the most beloved characters in all of fandom, and she has some pretty big cinnamon buns to fill. Thankfully, she had the help of McGregor, who's an old pro at this whole "Star Wars" thing at this point. 

A fast friendship and on-set silliness

Deborah Chow explained that it was important that whoever played young Leia wasn't going to try and copy Carrie Fisher, who made the role famous, and thankfully Vivien Lyra Blair quickly made it her own. The talented young powerhouse also managed to get her scene partner to crack into giggles more than a few times, and she had nothing but praise for McGregor:

"He's an incredible human being and working with him was just amazing. We had so many things together [...] I remember the scene where I was in the coat. I was inside the Imperial officer's coat and I kept poking my head out to look around at the set and he kept trying to push me back in. It was really funny."

The old "hiding someone in a coat" gag is always funny, but there's something extra special about it when it's Princess Leia and Ben Kenobi, and Blair and McGregor's chemistry makes the whole thing work beautifully. You can check out their newfound friendship by watching the first season of "Obi-Wan Kenobi" on Disney+.