‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ writer teases what’s going on under Darth Vader’s helmet

Darth Vader
Image via Disney/Lucasfilm

Obi-Wan Kenobi has flipped the script a little with its depiction of Darth Vader. The very first glimpse we got of him, in the closing moments of episode two, showcased the Sith Lord sans helmet, allowing us a brief glance at the disfigured former Jedi beneath the intimidating armor. On the one hand, this was simply done to make clear that Hayden Christensen was back in the role, but it also teased the fascination clash between who Vader once was and who he’s become.

In the two episodes to have aired since then, the Vader side of Anakin Skywalker has been on full display, particularly in his brutal takedown of his old master Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) in chapter three. But what is going on in Vader’s head during the events of this series? And is there anything left of Anakin under that helmet? That’s the loaded question that was pitched to showrunner Joby Harold during an interview with IndieWire. Here’s how he responded:

“That’s a good question that I’m not going to answer. The degree of what’s going on under the helmet I leave rightfully to the viewer. That’s part of the mystery of that character is that you can’t see, so you lean into what you bring to it. But certainly at this stage of the timeline to me, nobody was the finished article. The people that we meet in A New Hope feel like they’ve come to fruition a little bit more. But at this stage, it still felt like there was some story to tell with these characters.”

Given Harold’s comments about wanting to leave Vader’s mental state up to the fans to discuss, he’ll no doubt be pleased that this is exactly what they’ve been doing. For instance, one alternate reading of Vader’s threats to Kenobi during their duel suggests that they’re actually admissions of regret and pain. e.g. “You should’ve killed me when you had the chance.” As Harold says, the character isn’t quite the fully formed right hand of the Emperor that he will become by the time of the original trilogy.

Harold’s hedging words, however, leave it frustratingly unclear whether there will actually be more for Christensen to do this season outside of performing in the suit. Fans are desperate for some Clone Wars flashbacks, for one, which would allow us to revisit the good old days when Anakin and Obi-Wan fought side by side. We’ve got two more episodes left to go, though, so there’s still time for this wish to be granted.

Obi-Wan Kenobi continues Wednesdays on Disney Plus.