Ewan McGregor And Hayden Christiansen's Lightsaber Battles Had The Whole Crew Watching

There are some moments in filmmaking that must truly have been breathtaking to witness on set. For me, several of those exist within the "Star Wars" franchise. From Vader's "I am your father" line in "The Empire Strikes Back" to "The Duel of the Fates" lightsaber battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jin, and Darth Maul in "The Phantom Menace," there are plenty of times when jaws must have dropped while filming. Now we can add the lightsaber battle between Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) on the Disney+ series "Obi-Wan Kenobi," because apparently, the whole crew stopped to watch. (And who can blame them?)

McGregor and Christensen had plenty of experience working together from their time in the prequel movies, and they did most of their lightsaber fighting themselves. At a Star Wars Celebration 2023 panel in London, attended by /Film's Hannah Shaw-Williams, "Obi-Wan Kenobi" director Deborah Chow, Christensen, and McGregor shared the behind-the-scenes secrets of filming the high-stakes battle. Filming the pair's reunion may have been extremely emotional, but it sounds like filming the fight was a lot of fun.

'It was like time travel'

While sharing the stage at Star Wars Celebration 2023, Hayden Christensen said that getting to film the lightsaber sequence in "Obi-Wan Kenobi" was like "time travel." Deborah Chow noted that there are no stunt doubles in the scene, with Ewan McGregor doing "99% of everything himself" throughout the course of the series. For McGregor, filming the lightsaber sequence was a kind of homecoming, even if he had to work a bit harder than he used to:

"[It] was exciting to go to the fight gym to, to learn the fights. And then as we got ... them into our bones or under our skin ... they become faster and a bit more frenetic and fun, you know. And then to step back into that again, now like 20 years later, how[ever] many years later was just extraordinary. [...] So all of it ... was very thoughtfully designed and then to go back to the pre-, you know, to go back to this flashback, it was just ... it was the first thing we'd shot together."

The veteran actor went on to explain that he couldn't "rely on [his] youthful laziness from the first three" films, saying that shooting the fights is "kind of like a boxing match." Both McGregor and Christensen have added a few years since they last dueled, but the passion and onscreen chemistry are clearly still there. Naturally, the entire crew of "Obi-Wan Kenobi" wanted to see it happen.

Live, laugh, lightsaber

While it might seem like having the entire crew watch you swordfight could be a bit intimidating, Hayden Christensen revealed that it was a powerful and ultimately enjoyable moment:

"No, it was ... really a very special day. And, you know, everyone from the crew came out too, to watch and so it really was a sort of communal feeling to the whole thing and we just had a lot of fun, you know, we had enough practice with a lightsaber that we were just sort of able to enjoy it. And of course, we want to do it all ourselves because, you know, to get to swing a lightsaber is a privilege."

I've swung around a few high-end prop lightsabers in my time, and there is something extremely satisfying about the way they go "whoosh," even without the added sound effects. (Ewan McGregor admitted to making lightsaber noises on set when they were practicing.) Getting to have a choreographed and rehearsed lightsaber fight with an old friend in front of a few hundred of your co-workers sounds like the best day at work ever, and we the fans get to reap the benefits.

"Obi-Wan Kenobi" is streaming on Disney+.