Kumail Nanjiani Plays 'A New Type Of Star Wars Character' In The Obi-Wan TV Series

If Kumail Nanjiani getting into the superhero game with Marvel's "Eternals" was a development that nobody saw coming, then the actor quickly turning around and joining the "Star Wars" universe was on a whole other level of surprise — especially considering that it will be for the long-gestating "Obi-Wan" series. Not a bad career trajectory for a Pakistani man in Hollywood, particularly one who first got started doing stand-up comedy work and has now ascended to two of the biggest franchises on Earth right now. 

We've known little about Nanjiani's role in "Obi-Wan" since Lucasfilm formally announced the project and cast earlier this year, but the actor is finally opening up about how he was approached for the part, and the kind of character he'll be portraying.

'We Haven't Seen This Exact Thing in Star Wars Yet'

The next few years are shaping up to be extremely busy for Kumail Nanjiani, now that he has established a foothold as the first South Asian superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is set to add to the ever-increasing diversity prevalent throughout "Star Wars." Rolling Stone recently interviewed the actor and got him talking about all sorts of tidbits regarding his appearance in "Obi-Wan." The show is set after the events of "Revenge of the Sith" but before the original "Star Wars," leaving a time period of a few decades that we have never seen depicted in live-action before. Nanjiani had this to say when asked about how exactly he was first approached to star in the highly-anticipated series:

"My agents called me and it was the whole group of them that never call you. And I was like, 'OK, this is either amazing news or really awful news.' And they're like, 'They want you to play a part in Obi-Wan, and apparently it's substantial.' So then I talked to [director Deborah Chow] and we had a great conversation. And the character sounded awesome — I was so excited about this character. We haven't seen this exact thing in Star Wars yet. This is like a new version of a type of Star Wars character we've seen before."

Nanjiani steers clear of any specifics regarding the exact character he's playing, of course, leaving us to wonder whether he'll be portraying an extraterrestrial or a regular human. If I get a vote (which I very much do not), I'd hope he'll get to actually retain his own appearance for a change, rather than stray into the tired trope of people of color getting buried under layers and layers of alien prosthetics or even CGI. Nanjiani goes on to describe his reaction to his conversation with Chow and the prospects of getting to work alongside Ewan McGregor and the rest of the cast.

"And she was trying to sell me on it. And I was like, 'I was gonna do it before the conversation!' It was kind of perfect. Right after quarantine I got to do a job, in town, and it was in Star Wars. It was just the most joyful first job back possible. I didn't know how I could beat the experience I've had, which is a Marvel movie with Chloé Zhao, who is amazing, and maybe the greatest cast ever assembled, and then have Obi-Wan as the next thing, with another really fantastic cast. Ewan McGregor! Really? I don't know where I go from there. [Laughs.] And so I decided to walk into the middle of the woods."

I can't imagine any reasonable person having any other kind of response, honestly. Nanjiani sounds downright grateful for the opportunities he's received recently, even in the midst of the complicated discussion that has followed his casting.

"Obi-Wan" will arrive on Disney+ in 2022, but Kumail Nanjiani will next appear in "Eternals" on November 5, 2021.