'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Director Explains Why Obi Wan Kenobi Wasn't in the Film

The latest film in the Star Wars saga forged new ground for the franchise, but it also paid homage and included key characters from the past.

Fans were treated to a surprising return of a beloved character in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but some were left wondering why another fan favorite didn't make the cut.

Warning: Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi below.

Writer and director Rian Johnson addressed his decision to bring Yoda back as a Force ghost, also revealing why they decided against using Obi-Wan Kenobi instead. While speaking with The Playlist about the scene on Ahch-To, Johnson had a very practical reason for not including Luke's original teacher in the new film, saying it was "dependent on the needs of your main characters."

“Believe me, man. I would have loved to have had Ewan McGregor in the movie but it was just a matter of storytelling,” said Johnson. “The original relationship with Obi Wan — obviously if Alec Guiness were still with us that would have made sense. But we never saw Luke ever interact with the Ewan version of Obi Wan, so there’s less of the emotional connection and it might have been a little odd. So, it made sense and we could recreate that character [practically], so it made sense that Yoda be the one that comes back and kicks [Luke’s] butt a little.”

Johnson previously spoke about Yoda's inclusion in the film, saying the character "made the most sense" to be the one who inspires Luke to return to the fight.

Of course, they could have explained that Force ghosts have the ability to change their appearances, much like the Hayden Christensen-based Anakin Skywalker put into the end of Return of the Jedi. Or they could have done a CG version of Alec Guinness' character, like they did for Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

But Johnson, as evidenced by the inclusion of Frank Oz's puppetry in this film, preferred to keep his production old school. And as a result, fans got to see the return of one of the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy.


Fans can look forward to seeing Obi-Wan on the big screen soon, though, as Lucasfilm is rumored to be developing a standalone spinoff film based on the character.

For now, you can see Jedi Master Yoda in Star Wars: The Last Jedi now playing in theaters everywhere.