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'Eternals' star Kumail Nanjiani reveals his 'street-level' new character in 'Obi-Wan Kenobi'

We finally have the first details on Nanjiani's Star Wars character.

By Matthew Jackson
Kumail Nanjiani in Obi-Wan Kenobi

We've known for some time now that actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani was about to move from one megafranchise to another, landing a role in the Star Wars series Obi-Wan Kenobi after co-starring in the MCU's Eternals film last year. But like so many other aspects of Kenobi, Nanjiani's character on the series has been shrouded in secrecy, leaving fans to guess who he might be, where we might meet him, and whose side he might be on. 

Now, Nanjiani has pulled back the curtain, at least a little bit. On a new episode of Entertainment Weekly's Dagobah Dispatch podcast, he spilled the first details on his character, including his name, his job, and where he falls in the conflict of the series. 

"His name is Haja," Nanjiani said. "And he's this guy who works on the streets of Daiyu [the urban planet glimpsed in the Kenobi trailer], which is this new Star Wars location that we haven't seen before that's absolutely gorgeous. And he's the guy who's worked really hard to stay out of the bigger conflicts at play. He just kind of wants to be his own guy. Survival for him is all that matters."

Later in the interview, Nanjiani described what it was like to work in scenes alongside Ewan McGregor for the first time, which tells us that he will indeed be part of Obi-Wan's personal journey in the series. We still don't know exactly how, but at least when we meet him, Haja is leaning more into the criminal life, taking people on the streets of Daiyu for as much as he can with his own personal brand of trickery.

"He's this sort of con-man guy who cons people for money," Nanjiani said. "That's what's important to him. And then he has a run-in with Obi-Wan and suddenly he sort of gets stuck in the bigger conflicts at play, which is the thing that he really tries to avoid. So he is this street-level con-man guy who then gets embroiled in stuff that's way too big for him. And he has to make a choice."

Of course, where Haja goes from there is still a secret that'll have to wait until all six episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi have arrived on Disney+. We have no idea if the character makes it out of this conflict alive or even in one piece, but it's a big universe, and that means Nanjiani is already hoping that Haja will have a chance to turn up somewhere else in the franchise. 

"It's all I've thought about. I don't know what that does, but yeah, I would love to play this character again," Nanjiani said. "Not just because of Star Wars, but it's a really, really, really fun character to play. I've never gotten to play a character like this before. I think it's a type of character that we haven't exactly seen in Star Wars either with a con man, you know?"

He continued, "He can talk people into stuff, so that's a really fun character to play. And I actually did a lot of research online on con men and on magicians too. Because magicians, let's face it, they're a kind of like a con man, right? They're tricking people. So I really looked up a lot of stuff about that to learn how to really play a character like this. And I love this character so much. It would be genuinely a dream come true to play him again."

The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi premiere on Disney+ on Friday, May 27.

Looking for more sci-fi TV? Check out shows like Resident Alien, Brave New World, Project Blue Book, Eureka, Heroes, Intergalactic, and more streaming now on Peacock. Looking ahead, SYFY has new series The Ark in the works from original Stargate film writer/producer Dean Devlin, as well as Stargate SG-1 producer Jonathan Glassner.