After filmmaker Deborah Chow started making shorts and the drama starring Zach Braff The high cost of livingshe became an essential television director, working on series like Mister Robot, The Vampire Diaries, Reignby Marvel iron fist and Jessica Jones, Fear the living dead, lost in space, You better call Saul, The Man in the High Castle, american godsand more.
A few years ago, she entered the Star Wars galaxy via The MandalorianThe acclaimed first season episodes “The Sin” and “The Reckoning,” and now she’s continued that by directing the entire new Disney+ limited series Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Recently, Chow spoke at a press conference promoting the series about her interest in Obi-Wan as a character, working on Lucasfilm’s “The Volume” virtual production stage, and how she used the music by John Williams on set to kick off the action.
“I was really excited about doing a limited series, on the one hand just because you can tell a bigger story, but you also have time to really get into character,” Deborah Chow says of of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi. “So first and foremost, I was very excited about doing a character-driven story and really having the opportunity to go deeper and have more time to really get to know the character. In a similar way [to]- obviously it’s a different tone – but something like Joker or Logan where you take out a character from a big franchise, and then you really have the time and you go a lot further with the character. It sounded really exciting to me to do in Star Wars. Obviously, we’re starting in a pretty dark time and that was pretty interesting – not only to start with Obi-Wan’s character in a dark place, but also to start in a time period of the timeline that’s pretty dark. [It] actually gives us a very interesting starting point for the series. But with the Kenobi character, for me, he always felt there was so much warmth, there was so much compassion and humor, that he was kind of a character of light and hope. It was interesting for us to try to keep the balance of that – of the darkness, but also to keep the hope coming from the character.
“I would say one of the biggest challenges of this show is that we have these huge iconic legacy characters and we’re in between trilogies. So a lot of it, we’re telling the second act of a story, which is often quite difficult. I think the biggest thing we were looking for [do] it’s respecting the canon and respecting what’s been done, but we also had to have an original story and have an original vision for it. It was the biggest challenge, but at the same time, it was very exciting to bring back two of these huge iconic characters and tell a new story with them. Which two characters does Chow refer to? Why to Obi-Wan and his old friend Darth Vader (formerly known as Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker), of course. “When we were developing the material, we were really looking at the Obi-Wan character and saying, ‘What was important in his life? Which relationships were significant? And obviously, the story that comes out of Revenge of the Sith is so strong and so powerful that we really felt, for us, that obviously there would be so much weight in this story that was tied to Anakin and Vader. I think it was natural that obviously [he] would [played by] Hayden [Christensen] and that we would continue that relationship on the show.
Chow also spent time talking about volume and the innovative StageCraft technology used to bring Obi Wan Kenobi and the other Disney+ Star Wars live-action series on the small screen. “I started using this technology, StageCraft, on [The Mandalorian]so I was incredibly excited to be able to use it on [Obi-Wan Kenobi] as well. I think one of the interesting things is since [the] first season [of The Mandalorian], a lot of technology has advanced so much. With each passing year there is progress, so by the time we have come to do [Obi-Wan Kenobi]there were already things we could do and couldn’t do in [the] first season [of The Mandalorian]. But it was also very exciting to be able to design and develop material knowing that I was going to shoot [using] StageCraft. Often I would watch the scene even as we were writing it, thinking, “How is this going to translate to volume and how can we get the most out of the technology?”
“One thing that was cool about technology is that actually a lot of things [Industrial Light & Magic] did in the prequels and that George [Lucas] what we were doing pushing digital so early on, it was a lot of that groundwork that brought us to StageCraft. Lots of tools he started developing like PreVis, all that stuff, that’s how we ended up on StageCraft. It’s really interesting.” And what about shooting the action scenes? “We [played] a lot of [John Williams’s Star Wars] the music when we were doing the action scenes, because the music obviously brings the emotional component. What John Williams did is so inextricably linked [to Star Wars]. This is Star Wars. So if we put it on, all of a sudden I see Moses [Ingram] go like two inches longer. Everyone answers it. That said, director Deborah Chow is thrilled to finally have finished Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi and see audiences begin later this week. “It’s intense. I’ve been working on it for almost three years, so it’s been quite a long journey. But on the other hand, I’m very excited to finally see it come out and be able to talk about it. It’s exciting that it’s finally coming out.
The first two episodes of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi will debut this Friday, May 27, exclusively on Disney+.