Obi-Wan Kenobi Screenwriter Joby Harold Reveals How Kumail Nanjiani's Character Got His Name

What's in a name? In the vast universe of "Star Wars," it turns out that names can come from a wide variety of interesting places. Some names have meaning, like Han Solo's, while others are clearly a play on words, like the Mon Calamari, a race of aquatic fish people named after fried squid. 

But where do the rest of the names come from? Would Max Rebo by any other name still play music as sweet? In an interview with CBR, screenwriter and executive producer on "Obi-Wan Kenobi," Joby Harold, shared some of the secrets behind how the new characters on the series were named — including Kumail Nanjiani's fake Jedi, Haja Estree.

Harold explained that Haja was a really fun way to deliver exposition without it being too boring. Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) needed to get information from someone on Tatooine, but making him a fake Jedi was "fresh and interesting," and it gave them the chance to cast a comedian like Nanjiani. When it came to naming the character, however, Harold turned to his biggest fans — his kids:

"You get to name these characters. I got to name them with my children, oftentimes, who didn't sign any NDAs, which was a tight rope. [laughs] So I'd be like, I put them down and go, 'Oh, my god, okay. I've got a con man. I don't know what to call him. I need something kind of playful and fun.' My nine-year-old named Haja Estree, and it was those moments of, again, finding the kid in you, the things that sound right. That's brilliant because you're tying to the best part of 'Star Wars' as a writer. You're not being cynical and being fear-driven. You're enjoying it."

Whimsy in the world of Star Wars

The creation of "Star Wars" has always been a family affair, so it's neat to see that taken even to the level of writing. After all, some of the Jawas in "A New Hope" were played by the children of the cast and crew, and Ewan McGregor's daughter has a cameo in "Obi-Wan Kenobi," so why not ask your children for help with names? Clearly nine-year-olds understand how to name "Star Wars" characters, because Haja Estree is a perfect in-universe name. Harold also said there was a family connection with the droids, though he was less willing to share:

"The same [goes for] contributing some of the droids ... I won't speak to their origins within my family context, but they have origins within that, too. Again, I love the question because it was one of the most delightful things about the process. Here's an opportunity. Obi-Wan needs something. Now I get to just, in a free environment without having to be beholden to legacy, [ask] what can we add? What can I use my imagination to add? It's really fun.

Keeping the fun in "Star Wars" is huge, and it's good to hear that some of the whimsy of the franchise is still right where it should be. 

New episodes of "Obi-Wan Kenobi" debut Wednesdays on Disney+. Episodes 1-4 are now available.