Obi-Wan Kenobi Writer Says "Less Is More" With Darth Vader

Warning: this story contains spoilers for the first four episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi. For the first time since the Holiday Special in 1978, Star Wars brings a live-action Darth Vader to television in Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Disney+ series, bridging the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, also marks the character's first live-action appearance since Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in 2016. In a new interview, series head writer and executive producer Joby Harold described the challenge of having Hayden Christensen suit up as the Sith Lord for his rematch with Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan. 

"Everything about [staging] Vader is very difficult. Just from regards to the quarter-inch of where he's standing and his helmet being [held at the right angle] and all the bits of the puzzle, very practically, on the day," Harold explained to Polygon. "Less is always more with him. You want to see him on Mustafar, you want to see him looking at the lava fields. [...] When he's on Mustafar, he is throned, that is his domain. So he can be imperious in that throne, but it can't feel like he's sitting in a chair from IKEA."

Darth Vader Strikes Back in Obi-Wan Kenobi "Part IV" Images

After his brief appearance inside the healing fluids of a bacta tank to end "Part II," Darth Vader returns to hunt Obi-Wan on the mining system Mapuzo in "Part III." Vader cameos again in "Part IV," punishing the Inquisitor Reva (Moses Ingram) for her failures inside the Fortress Inquisitorius, and will have his second rematch with Obi-Wan before the six-part series' end. 

"Balance is always really, really important — as it is with the Force," Harold said, adding "it comes down to the design, to the director, the performance, and all those things coming together." 

Some of that balance is achieved with Darth Vader performance artist Dmitrious Bistrevsky and Christensen's stunt double, Tom O'Connell, who shared a behind-the-scenes look at Vader vs. Obi-Wan round II on Instagram.

Starring Ewan McGregor, Moses Ingram, Rupert Friend, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Indira Varma, Sung Kang, Grant Feely as young Luke Skywalker, Vivien Lyra Blair as young Leia Organa, and Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader, new episodes of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi are streaming Wednesdays on Disney+.