Obi-Wan Kenobi star on filming challenges, joining the Star Wars universe

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 14: Rupert Friend attends the "Anatomy Of A Scandal" world premiere on April 14, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 14: Rupert Friend attends the "Anatomy Of A Scandal" world premiere on April 14, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images) /

We’re just over a month out from the premiere of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the next Star Wars television show coming to Disney+. This one is making all sorts of waves because it features the return of Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen are reprising their roles as Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker from the prequel trilogy. Depending on the age you were when those movies came out, there’s a fifty-fifty chance you probably either love them or hate them, but it’s pretty universally agreed that McGregor’s performance as a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi was one of the best things to come out of them.

Now, a full 17 years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith came out, McGregor is coming back to the galaxy far, far away. Exciting doesn’t begin to cover it. Can you honestly say hearing the Duel of the Fates theme music in this trailer doesn’t give you chills?

Rupert Friend (the Grand Inquisitor) reveals his biggest challenge filming Obi-Wan Kenobi

Of course, Obi-Wan and Anakin won’t be the only familiar faces mixing it up in the new limited series. Another Star Wars character who will be appearing is the Grand Inquisitor, who was a major villain in the Star Wars Rebels animated series. This will be the first time the character is getting a live-action treatment, presumably as he’s on the rise as a Jedi hunter under the tutelage of Darth Vader. He’s played by Hitman: Agent 47 star Rupert Friend, beneath many layers of prosthetics and make-up. You can see him using his revolving lightsaber at the 1:10 mark in the trailer.

The Grand Inquisitor has a pretty unique look, which may be partially due to the fact that he originated as an animated character. Fortunately, if there’s one franchise that has an excess of experience at pulling off great costuming, it’s Star Wars. But just because it looks good doesn’t mean it feels good to wear the outfit. According to Friend, wearing the Grand Inquisitor get-up was his biggest challenge while filming Obi-Wan Kenobi.

“It was a sweaty, sweaty suit and I did sweat buckets inside the prosthetics which would pour across my face at the end of a day and make me look like a very, very miserable clown,” Friend said while on The One Show (per Digital Spy).

The actor also went into detail about the experience of joining the Star Wars universe:

"It’s amazing. They have literally built a universe over the years and the incredible thing about it is the relationship between the stories and the fans is completely interlaced – they are as connected with those stories as those of us who make it and you really feel like you’re in dialogue as you do it… It’s an amazing thing to be a part of."

The Star Wars fandom has been going strong for close to half a century at this point, and it doesn’t feel like much of a stretch to say it’s probably one of the most passionate fandoms of all time. The love of the Force has been strong with that one for quite a long time, so thinking on it as an active dialogue with the fans is a pretty cool route for Friend to take.

The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi premiere May 27 on Disney+. After that, new episodes of the limited series will air on Wednesdays.

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