Obi-Wan Kenobi's Ewan McGregor Has A Somber Reason For Obi-Wan Using A Blaster In The New Star Wars Series

One of Star Wars’ most iconic Jedi is on his way back to live-action, but he won’t be wielding his iconic weapon like he used to. Ewan McGregor returns to the galaxy far, far away for Obi-Wan Kenobi, set ten years after the events of Revenge of the Sith and Obi-Wan’s fateful lightsaber duel with Darth Vader on Mustafar. The trailers for the new Disney+ show reveal the character wielding a blaster. Speaking with CinemaBlend, McGregor shared the somber reason for picking up the weapon that Obi-Wan himself once deemed “uncivilized.”

Obi-Wan made it clear in the prequel films (which the star revisited for the show) and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series that he did not consider a blaster to be the worthy weapon for a Jedi. When I spoke with Ewan McGregor ahead of the Obi-Wan Kenobi debut, he shared what it was like for him to wield a blaster as his character after three movies with a lightsaber:

It was interesting, and it was sort of representative of where he's at, in terms of his existence, now with the Jedi Order, which has been – as we know – destroyed at the end of the Revenge of the Sith. So he's living in a very different sort of time. I think it is a darker time. And personally speaking, he's living without the Force, and he's in hiding, he can't use the Force for fear of being found out. We can see from the trailer that there are Inquisitors, the Grand Inquisitor and the Inquisitors whose job it is to hunt down the last Jedi and to destroy them. So he's living with this hanging over him, and I think the fear of it is driven mainly because he has this responsibility to Luke Skywalker, and the promise that he made to Padme to look after him. And so that's his only real link to the past is this responsibility, and why he feels responsible is interesting.

The character is in hiding, so he can’t exactly go around igniting his lightsaber on a regular basis, and living “in a very different sort of time” means a very different sort of weapon for Obi-Wan. This won’t be the first occasion that fans see him with a blaster, as he resorted to one to take down General Grievous and had to use one more than once in The Clone Wars, but this is a far more hopeless point in the Star Wars timeline with the Jedi Order destroyed. His responsibility to Luke provides a link to his Jedi history that his lightsaber can’t. Ewan McGregor continued: 

To play it, I felt like at some times, Obi-Wan had accepted that the Jedi was finished, like it was over. And at other times I felt, well, he is looking over Luke Skywalker, and he might be doing that because he feels like Luke Skywalker might become a Jedi and he should be there to help them. We know, at the beginning of A New Hope, as soon as Alec Guinness meets Mark Hamill, he immediately starts talking about the Jedi and gets the lightsabers out. So clearly he has hope in him. But at the beginning of our series, I think that hope is probably pretty much buried down.

With Darth Vader in power, the Grand Inquisitor on the hunt, and Owen Lars not exactly embracing Obi-Wan wanting to train Luke, it’s no wonder that hope is pretty much buried down for Obi-Wan. His life might even get harder before it gets any easier, based on trailer action as well as the rematch between him and Vader, with Hayden Christensen also reprising his role from the prequel films. (Christensen has reacted to the prequels gaining more appreciation in recent years.)

So, what should Star Wars fans expect from this version of Obi-Wan, wielding a blaster and in such a different emotional place from the end of Revenge of the Sith? Director and executive producer Deborah Chow weighed in:

It's been really interesting. Obviously, at this point in the timeline, all the Jedi are in hiding. So he can't go out and be using the Force all the time or be using his saber. So it's an interesting thing to take a character that is so quintessentially a Jedi, and then you're kind of stripping them down and taking away a lot of the tools that they're known for, they usually use. So it was kind of a very cool starting point, honestly, to take this character and then have the opportunity to try to build him back up over the course of the series.

Will Obi-Wan be able to build himself back up by the end of the limited series? Fans know from A New Hope that he won’t be overthrowing the Empire or defeating Darth Vader for good, but Star Wars has a largely blank slate in the era between the prequel trilogy and original trilogy, and Ewan McGregor has said that he’d be up to play his iconic character again after Obi-Wan Kenobi. If he’s already pretending to be a Jedi in real life, why not keep doing it in the galaxy far, far away?

For now, you can look forward to the series premiere of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Friday, May 27 at 12:01 a.m. PT with a Disney+ subscription, with subsequent episodes releasing on Wednesdays. You can also revisit the prequel trilogy and full run of Star Wars: The Clone Wars to prepare for Ewan McGregor’s return to his role on Disney+.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).