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Obi-Wan Kenobi: Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen on those Big Lightsaber Duels

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Obi-Wan Kenobi stars Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen have opened up about their big lightsaber duels from the show’s first season.

During a panel at Star Wars Celebration in London, the two Star Wars prequel stars discussed what it meant to return to the franchise – and to take each other on once more.

“It’s a great bit of Star Wars and a really important scene,” said Christensen. “Not just to the tragedy of the character of Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader but the tragedy of the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan.”

It’s the first time we’ve seen Obi-Wan and Vader face off since the prequels… and we all know how that went down.

That’s what makes this lightsaber duel so much more than just a fight – it underlines the destruction of a friendship between two men who considered themselves brothers. Christensen himself says the scene owes a lot to McGregor’s very visible pain.

“The way it was scripted, the way the whole thing came together on the day, and so much of why that scene works is because of Ewan’s performance and the heartbreak that he experiences,” he said. “You get to understand the duality [of Darth Vader] a little bit better and that struggle of identity. I’m very, very proud of that scene.”

The scene itself is a very emotional one – the hard-hitting slugs of visceral lightsaber combat punctuated with some nuanced character development and touching callbacks to the prequel trilogy.

“Our confrontation at the end where he cracks the mask was a really rewarding experience,” said Christensen. “As an actor, you play so much off the person you’re working with – what Ewan brought to those scenes was incredible.”

But it’s not the only time we see Obi-Wan and Anakin go toe-to-toe during the series.

A flashback to Anakin’s training as a Jedi padawan shows the pair throwing around lightsabers in a much more elegant and far less brutal duel. That time, it was really them doing it, too.

“There were no stunt doubles,” said director Deborah Chow. “These guys did everything themselves.”

“The lightsaber training for the prequels was one of the most exciting parts of the whole experience,” explained McGregor. “Learning those fights, the big fight at the end of Episode I with Liam and Ray was mindbending to learn and so satisfying to do… to step back into that twenty years later… was just extraordinary.”

“It was the most fun you can imagine,” added Christensen. “It was like time travel getting to do that flashback sequence…”

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi's Great Moments

“We had enough practice swinging a lightsaber that we were able to just enjoy it,” he added. “We wanted to do it ourselves. To get to swing a lightsaber is a privilege – you want to do it yourself.”

IGN’s Obi-Wan Kenobi Season 1 review gave it 8/10 and said: “Bookended by strong opening and closing chapters, Obi-Wan Kenobi bridges the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope to satisfying effect. Ewan McGregor drives the show through a muddled middle third towards a thrilling conclusion worthy of making it onto the pantheon of great Star Wars moments. The action swings between dull and exciting and the script leaves a little to be desired in places, but ultimately it's a notable entry into the ever-growing Star Wars canon.”

Want to read more about Obi-Wan Kenobi? Check out why Liam Neeson thinks Star Wars has too many spin-offs and how Obi-Wan Kenobi was originally meant to be a movie trilogy.


Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.

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