The Emotion Of Obi-Wan Kenobi And Anakin Skywalker's Reunion Was Very Real For Ewan McGregor

Last year's limited Disney+ series "Obi-Wan Kenobi" was a long time in the making. Looking back on the journey during a panel at Star Wars Celebration 2023 (where myself and other members of the /Film team have been on the ground this weekend), Ewan McGregor recalled that discussions about his return began "years before we made the series ... It was going to be a movie, and then it was going to be a TV show."

By the time the cameras actually started rolling on the show, almost two decades had passed since McGregor had last been on set and locked in a lightsaber battle with Hayden Christensen, who plays Obi-Wan's doomed padawan, Anakin Skywalker. "Obi-Wan Kenobi" is set in the aftermath of "Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith," when its titular Jedi master has escaped the slaughter of Order 66, but lost his connection to the Force. When the kidnapping of young Princess Leia forces Obi-Wan out of his hiding spot on Tatooine, he finally sees what has become of the man he once loved like a brother.

The "Obi-Wan Kenobi" cast each played a clip of their favorite moments from the series, with Christensen choosing the moment in the finale when Obi-Wan slices through Darth Vader's mask with his lightsaber, exposing Anakin's heavily scarred face. McGregor recalled that both he and Christensen were surprised by how emotional the scene became when they were filming it. "It didn't necessarily feel that way on the page," he said. "It was something just to do with us." 

'You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you!

Obi-Wan Kenobi didn't shy away from using the "L" word in "Revenge of the Sith," and neither does Ewan McGregor. Remembering how he and Christensen first met on the set of "Attack of the Clones" in Australia ("you were a young, young, young actor"), McGregor said that the significance of the reunion hit them all at once when their characters were finally eye-to-eye again.

"Our lives have happened between then and now. And there was something about the experience of working together again ... We just love each other, you know? And we hadn't seen each other for such a long time. And so in the moment of shooting it, all of that was alive in the scene."

McGregor's affection for his co-star amplified the warmth already in the room, with the Celebration Stage frequently erupting in applause and stray cries of support for Christensen as he reflected on his own return to the "Star Wars" universe. "Within the context of the saga it's a great bit of 'Star Wars,'" he said. "And a really important scene, not just to the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker, but the tragedy of the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan." 

While he first gave his personal thanks to director Deborah Chow, and due credit to the writing, Christensen's highest praise was for McGregor's portrayal of the devastated Obi-Wan: "So much of why that scene works is Ewan's performance, and the heartbreak you experience."

"Obi-Wan Kenobi" is available to stream on Disney+.