Obi-Wan Kenobi Will Feature The Jedi Master Unable To Use The Force

The adventures of everyone's favorite sad Jedi loner are finally coming to Disney+ with the premiere of "Obi-Wan Kenobi" later this month, and we're getting fresh new details about the upcoming series from a press junket that /Film attended leading up to the series premiere. 

In an interview to promote the series, star Ewan McGregor, who plays the titular Jedi Master, shared some interesting tidbits about where the character is in his life when the series begins. McGregor also shared his excitement about getting to play a version of Obi-Wan that is closer to the one we originally saw in "Star Wars: A New Hope" back in 1977, played by Sir Alec Guinness. 

When we first met "Old Ben" Kenobi in 1977, he was just a sad old man living out in the desert. But it turns out he's wizened "wizard" who has seen his fair share of tragedy, which we finally saw for ourselves in "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith." In fact, he was there to keep an eye on the feisty farmboy Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Now, McGregor gets to bridge the gap between the youthful exuberance of the prequel version of the character and the older version from the original trilogy, and he's extremely excited for the task, even if it means he doesn't get to use his Force powers. Wait, what?  

'The only responsibility to his past life is looking over Luke Skywalker.'

McGregor explained that when we meet Obi-Wan in the new series, he's in hiding, which means he's forced to behave a bit differently than he did in the prequel films:

"At the end of the third episode, the Jedi Order are all but destroyed, and those who aren't killed have gone into hiding and can't communicate with each other. So for 10 years, Obi-Wan has been in hiding, he can't communicate with any of his old comrades, he's living a pretty solitary life. He's not able to use the Force, so in a way he's lost his faith. It's like somebody who's stepped away from their religion or something, if you like. The only responsibility to his past life is looking over Luke Skywalker, who he's delivered to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru."

Whether Obi-Wan cannot use the Force because he's cut off from it or because he's unable to give away his identity isn't explicit, though it's likely that he simply cannot use the Force for fear of being discovered. Surely, he didn't forget like McGregor forgot how to play Obi-Wan. After all, most of the Force users were hunted down and executed, so tapping into the ancient magic is pretty dangerous to do. There are still Sith left who could potentially feel his use of power, and if he's only out to protect Luke, then he needs to avoid it at all costs. That would be pretty tough for someone like Obi-Wan, as engaging with the Force is a lot like prayer in our own Earthly faiths. At least that wouldn't keep McGregor from pretending to use the Force in real life!

A more broken version of Ben

This Obi-Wan is lost and cut off from everything he knows, and all of his focus is on Luke, which is pretty much where we find him in "A New Hope." McGregor went on:

"It was just interesting to take the character, and the version with Alec Guinness that we know and love from the '70s — this wise, sage-like spiritual man — and then the work that I did from episode 1-3, from the Padawan to the Jedi, to somebody who's sitting on the Jedi council. To take that Obi-Wan and take him to more of this broken place was something really interesting to do."

We'll find out exactly what kind of solitary life Obi-Wan is leading and just how grizzled and grumpy McGregor gets for the role when "Obi-Wan Kenobi" debuts on Disney+ on May 27, 2022.