Obi-Wan Kenobi Made A Major Change To Darth Vader At Last Moment

By Nathan Kamal | 1 day ago

Obi-Wan Kenobi

The Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ series is one of the most exciting Star Wars projects in years. A lot of that has to do with the return of Ewan McGregor to the role of the titular Jedi to tie together his character post-Revenge of the Sith to the weathered and aged version played by Alec Guinness in A New Hope. But a lot of it also had to with the return of Darth Vader, played by Hayden Christensen for the first time in decades and, as it turns out, voiced by the iconic James Earl Jones. The third episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi brought back the fallen Anakin Skywalker in terrifying and violent fashion, but a writer for the show revealed it was originally going to be a lot scarier. 

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Obi-Wan Kenobi writer ​​Joby Harold said that the show’s depiction of Darth Vader was heavily inspired by the character’s appearance in 2016’s Rogue One. At the climax of that film, Darth Vader was seen emerging from the shadows and mercilessly tearing through Rebel soldier after Rebel soldier, evidencing a raw brutality that helped bring the character back to his original intimidating image. Harold says Obi-Wan Kenobi was originally going to go further:

From a Vader point of view, we’re all living with the memory of the end of Rogue One, and how effective that was. It was very gratifying to see Vader finally be unleashed in a sequence like that, so we wanted to try to trump it if we could. It was a lot more extreme, at one point.

It is actually a little hard to imagine how Obi-Wan Kenobi could have portrayed Darth Vader as more intense, at least within the bounds of Disney+ acceptability. The third episode of the show had the Sith Lord prowling through the streets of a small city in pursuit of Obi-Wan Kenobi, seemingly killing townspeople at random. It seems that Darth Vader uses the same Jedi-hunting technique as espoused by the Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) in the first episode, which is to simply cause as much pain and torment to innocent people to drive Jedis out of hiding to protect them. 

The climax of the third episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi has Kenobi and his former student engaged in a drawn-out lightsaber duel, though it is more accurate to describe it as Vader beating the Jedi Master like a ragdoll. After Ewan McGregor continually tries to flee and gets confronted over and over again, Darth Vader finally lifts him in the air with the Force and drags him across a burning fire. As Joby Harold went on to say in the interview, this was to represent the sheer anger and desire for revenge in Darth Vader after his own injuries via lava on Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith:

His choice is revealing the character beneath and the torture beneath—the pain inflicted and the eye-for-an-eye of it all. It’s a chance to hint at something beneath the mask. Vader can’t be talking about, you know, his feelings. So it has to be in action. That comes from dragging people down the street behind you to try to pull the Jedi out of hiding, and that comes in inflicting the same pain upon the Jedi that he did to you.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is clearly setting up a darker story than most of the Disney+ Star Wars series so far. It has already dealt with a child-aged Princess Leia being kidnapped and her droid friend being carelessly smashed, as well as the Jedi-hunting Inquisitors freely killing and maiming innocents in pursuit of the desperate, PTSD-suffering Obi-Wan Kenobi. Apparently, it could have been a lot scarier, though. Perhaps the writers of the show intended to show Darth Vader graphically torturing civilians or tearing apart living bodies with the Force, but at the very least, they showed this version of the character is capable of it.