Obi-Wan Kenobi Director Explains How Darth Vader Will Be Different In The Star Wars Series

Screenshot from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Darth Vader
(Image credit: Star Wars)

Star Wars will return to the small screen in just a couple of months with the long-awaited premiere of Obi-Wan Kenobi, which brings back not only Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan but also Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader. Christensen only played the character in his iconic helmet at the very end of the prequel trilogy with Anakin's transformation into Vader, but will be back in black for the upcoming Disney+ show. Director Deborah Chow previewed how this version of Vader will be different from others that came before. 

Darth Vader didn't exactly have a huge part to play in the "Duel of the Fates" teaser trailer that released earlier in March, but it did end on the unforgettable sounds of his breathing. Fans can only speculate about the role he'll play in Obi-Wan Kenobi, since there were no clues in A New Hope that he and his former master had crossed paths since the Clone Wars. Deborah Chow explained the upcoming show's take on Vader, telling EW:

For us, it's very similar [to Obi-Wan] in the sense that he's in between these two trilogies. So he isn't the New Hope Vader quite yet, you know what I mean? So we are with the character sort of in the middle of this period. It is still Vader obviously, but it's a Vader that isn't quite as fully formed as A New Hope.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is set ten years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, which means the Obi-Wan and Darth Vader of the Disney+ show are nearly ten years shy of where they'll be in A New Hope. Other than some written materials, comics, and events of Star Wars Rebels and Solo, the current canon of the galaxy far, far away is a largely blank slate, so the show can do pretty much anything with the characters as long as it doesn't contradict A New Hope

Of course, A New Hope arguably made it seem like Obi-Wan and Vader hadn't actually encountered each other in a significant way for nearly 20 years, but nothing was actually said other than Vader felt Obi-Wan's presence for the first time in a while. Deborah Chow went on to explain why the show is bringing Hayden Christensen's Vader into the mix, saying: 

Honestly, for me the starting place was that I really wanted to do something that was character-based and character-driven, because that is the benefit of the limited series, is that you have more time to sort of tell a real character story. And so for me, the starting place of character is you just start and you look at who has been important to him in his life. And it's quite hard to avoid Anakin/Vader in that scenario, especially coming out of Revenge of the Sith. So really it came out of an evolution of the character for me. It wasn't just to sort of bring him back. It was really like, who means something and where are we at this point in the timeline with Vader?

Obi-Wan Kenobi was originally conceived as a limited series, and Deborah Chow recently reiterated that it's "one big story" with a beginning, middle, and end to tell one full story. That does make sense when considering that there were talks for quite some time about an Obi-Wan standalone film a la Rogue One and Solo, and there's only so much unmarked territory in the galaxy far, far away for these two legendary characters.

Of course, Vader won't be the only villain in Obi-Wan Kenobi, as the Inquisitors working for the Emperor to hunt down surviving Jedi will make the jump to live-action after causing a lot of problems for the heroes of the Star Wars Rebels animated series. Still, Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen were apparently very excited about working together again, and it sounds like Star Wars fans have a lot to look forward to. 

For the sake of the good guys, however, we should probably hope that Vader doesn't get to pull another slaughter sequence like he did at the end of Rogue One, which also took place (albeit barely) before A New Hope! Obi-Wan Kenobi will premiere on Wednesday, May 25 on Disney+ and continue to release episodes weekly in the 2022 TV schedule, so Star Wars fans should check out a Disney+ subscription sooner rather than later! 

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).