'Obi-Wan Kenobi' Writer Swore His Kids to Secrecy Over Leia Reveal

Obi-Wan Kenobi writer Joby Harold swore his children to secrecy after they figured out that Princess Leia would be the focus on the Disney+ show, he told Newsweek.

Harold, who helped write the whole series, joked that he had to warn his children that he'd disown them when they realized the importance Leia would have to the Jedi Master's new story.

In the Star Wars Disney+ show, Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) goes on a quest to rescue Princess Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) after she is kidnapped by Inquisitor Reva (Moses Ingram), who wants to draw him out of hiding for her mentor Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen).

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Vivien Lyra Blair as Princess Leia Organa in "Obi-Wan Kenobi." The show's writer Joby Harold spoke to Newsweek about keeping the character's appearance in the show a secret. Lucasfilm Ltd.

When asked if he kept it a secret from his family that he was working on the Star Wars TV show, Harold admitted: "I think I was probably supposed to do that, I knew that. I couldn't not tell them, you know?

"I didn't tell a lot of people, I kept it a big secret. But, within my home someone's got to, you know, carry the weight with me, I can't do it all by myself!

"So we shared responsibility, and they were very good about keeping it to themselves because they were sworn to secrecy."

Oh his kids, he added: "They had known about Leia and that was the one thing I [said] 'I will disown you if ever you [tell someone],' because they knew the codename [for Leia] so they figured it out, and I was just like 'you can never tell a soul.'"

Harold's children did indeed keep the secret as the public was unaware of Leia's importance to the plot until the series debuted with its first two episodes on Friday, May 27.

Making Leia the Show's Focus

Having Princess Leia be Kenobi's objective was an idea that was brought up "very early" in the production process, Harold explained, and he was delighted that the plotline managed to remain under wraps until release day.

Reflecting on the fan reaction to having Leia at the forefront of the show, Harold said: "[I'm] happy and nervous in equal amounts, happy that it seemed to resonate for audiences when that was revealed.

"I got to see that at Star Wars Celebration, being in the room when everyone realized that football had been hidden, that it was about to be revealed, and everyone sort of had that similar moment of like, 'Oh, my goodness, this is going to be interesting.'

"Because to a great degree we know where we're going [with the show], and we presume that... Luke's gonna be a part of that. So the notion that you could at least be a little unexpected, right from the beginning, means you lean into the show in a different way and say, 'Okay, well, maybe there's a story here that I wasn't anticipating.'

"So, getting to do that with Leia, and also getting to bring to the conversation the notion that she's important, and it's not all about Luke and they are both of equal importance in the Skywalker saga.

"Getting to introduce that to Obi-Wan to audiences slightly earlier on than we'd anticipated was great, because they have always sort of bubbled up to the surface later on. But the notion that she could have had an importance earlier on was a nice thing to put on the board."

Vivien Lyra Blair's Performance and Honoring Carrie Fisher's Legacy

He went on: "I'm an original trilogy kid, so I worship at the altar of those movies because they're wonderful and the notion of Leia being a part of this was a very early conversation, it's just one that I agreed with and on a personal level I thought would be really nice to explore.

"And great credit to Deb[orah Chow, the showrunner] and to casting team for finding Vivien, and to that actor for doing such an extraordinary job for the role.

"She's great, great, great character and it's lovely that we can contribute to Carrie Fisher's legacy in some small way too."

Blair has so far delighted fans with her performance as a young Leia Organa, and the writer heaped praise onto her: "I think she's done an amazing job because I think she captures [...] the spirit of Carrie Fisher and the spirit of that character.

"And the will of that character, and the fortitude and resilience, and all those pieces are in Vivien, you can see her in a very guileless way she's authentic in how she's performing the role.

"But those things are all true to everything Carrie Fisher did, she speaks to sort of the inherent intelligence and how perceptive she is, was and always will be as Princess Leia. And I think she does a lovely job with the role."

The Enduring Legacy of the 'Star Wars' Prequels

The Star Wars prequels have over the years had a bad reputation among some fans of the franchise, and McGregor and Christensen have spoken about how much they appreciate how passionate fans of the trilogy are.

Harold is in concurrence with the cast, and he said, for the writing team, it was important to do the prequels justice.

"What's exceptional about those movies is the fan base that grew up with them are super passionate about them, and they mean so much to them," Harold explained. "Star Wars really does always belong to everybody and no fan knows more than any other fan... your passions lie in so many different places, generationally, and within canon. My boys, one in particular, really loves the prequels.

"Remembering that it's all about celebrating those things that people love was really, really important, and certainly what Ewan did with that role in the prequels was so lovely, and interesting. It's great to take his interpretation of that character and continue."

He added that it was "absolutely amazing" to write for McGregor and Christensen, and he went on: "I have three kids so Star Wars is a massive part of my life still since the original trilogy, since I saw the prequels in theaters, I've watched them again with my kids, watched all the stuff with my kids and played the games with my kids.

"So it still was very much a part of my life before I started doing the show, which meant that, you know, I'd just seen the prequels through the lens of young boys, and just watched everything those characters were doing, what Hayden was doing, what Ewan was doing.

"They certainly, as human beings, and as actors they're also further along in their lives, and they have all that life experience that they can now [use], as the characters have grown, they've grown.

"It's so interesting to be able to do that, what a a gift that is for an audience to get to see those same actors play those roles so many years on, and see how life forms art and how we get to see this transitional moment for those characters between the original trilogies and the prequels, where they are and where they were. It's just a nice opportunity to be able to explore."

Obi-Wan Kenobi airs Wednesdays on Disney+.

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan Kenobi
Ewan McGregor, Vivien Lyra Blair, Moses Ingram, and Hayden Christensen in "Obi-Wan Kenobi."