Following the finale of Lucasfilm’s latest Star Wars series, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Nerds & Beyond had a chance to catch up with Bonnie Piesse, who portrays Beru Whitesun Lars — Aunt and guardian to Luke Skywalker (alongside Owen Lars).
The story of Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place 10 years after the dramatic events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat — the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as the evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.
Piesse originally joined the Star Wars universe in the 2002 film Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, and she later appeared in the prequel trilogy’s final entry, Revenge of the Sith. Now, almost two decades later, Piesse has has returned to Tatooine alongside Joel Edgerton, who reprises to his role as Uncle Owen. The series also sees the comeback of Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen.
Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.
Nerds & Beyond: Did you ever expect that you would reprise your role as Beru and return to the Star Wars universe? How did you feel when they contacted you about coming back?
Bonnie Piesse: Yeah, so I had kind of hoped over the years, because there were rumors. I think they were going to make a [Kenobi] movie at some point. And I was thinking, “Oh, that’d be really cool.” So I was hoping, not really holding my breath, but thinking it would be fun. They reached out when I least expected it. It was not expected at that point. And I was really, really excited, obviously. And grateful. It just feels really different the second time around.
Nerds & Beyond: It was really exciting to see you back. What was it like to work with Joel [Edgerton] and Ewan [McGregor] again?
Piesse: It was weird, because I mean, it was a full circle moment, obviously. And life is so strange. It feels like no time has passed. We all looked a little older. We’ve all lived a lot of life since then. But yeah, it just felt kind of like, “Okay, we’re back where we were, like no time has passed at all.”
Nerds & Beyond: How did you feel about the way that Beru was written in Obi-Wan Kenobi? Because I personally really loved how Owen was the one that wanted to run, but Beru was like, “No, we’re gonna go down fighting,” and she pulls out the guns.
Piesse: Yeah, exactly. So when I spoke to Deborah Chow, she did kind of tell me what they had in mind. I was pretty amazed that they were thinking of doing that and really excited. She just described to me what they were going to write into it if I agreed. Of course I agreed. When I read it on the page, I just, I mean, I cried, and I laughed. It was just so amazing to see how they fleshed out Beru and had her really show her strength and the power of wanting to protect Luke and the certainty that she could. I love that scene with Joel.
Nerds & Beyond: I think it was such a nice growth for the character too, because it was different from when we met her back in the prequels. And now it’s like, “Okay, well, 10 years have passed. This is how she’s changed, how she’s grown.“
Piesse: Exactly. Yeah, because obviously, we didn’t see that much of her in the prequels. But she was kind of a shy girl and didn’t say very much. Now, she’s really grown into being a mother to Luke, and you can see that the mama bear energy came through.
Nerds & Beyond: Film technology has changed so much since the prequel films. In comparison to the type of set that you filmed on for Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, what was it like working on Obi-Wan Kenobi with things like the Volume?
Piesse: For Episode II, it was actually mostly in Tunisia, Northern Africa. So we were on real sets out in the desert. For Episode III, it was a green screen, which was all cobbled together. George Lucas was saying, “Okay, see that broom stick over there? That’s the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen.” That kind of thing. And Ewan McGregor came in on … I forget what it was that he rode in on … but it wasn’t anything official. Everyone was kind of making it up. This time, working with the Volume was really amazing, actually. It’s pretty wild how real it all feels. You don’t have to make up as much in your mind anymore. You’re in there, you’re immersed in the whole environment. It was really impressive.
Nerds & Beyond: Fans were really excited for Obi-Wan Kenobi because of how nostalgic the story is, and it sounds like the crew was also excited to bring the characters back and continue the story as well. So for you, what was the energy like on set?
Piesse: You could feel right away that everyone was really grateful to be there. They knew what they were a part of. You could feel the excitement. Everyone knew they were working on something historic. Star Was, even back when I did the prequels, it already meant a lot to people. So people were aware of it back then, too, but I feel like it’s just more and more meaningful, such an incredible galaxy. Everyone felt that gratitude to be a part of it, for sure.
Nerds & Beyond: If another future Star Wars film or series were to pick up where Obi-Wan Kenobi left off, would you want to reprise your role as Beru again?
Piesse: Absolutely, of course. I mean, it would be very difficult to say no. I love what they’re doing with Star Wars these days and all the different series and everything. I think they’re doing it so well.
Nerds & Beyond: It’s exciting getting to see the smaller stories playing out as well.
Piesse: Yeah, exactly. And so many different characters that get to be seen in more depth. But yeah, of course, I’m a Star Wars fan for life now. Whenever they say, “You want to come back?” I’m sure I’ll say yes.
Nerds & Beyond: What’s one of your favorite memories from working on the prequel films?
Piesse: When we were shooting in Tunisia, Anthony Daniels was there. And he just kind of wanted to go around and explore the set. So we were just walking around and finding random little aliens that were, I guess, discarded from some other scene. So he kind of gave me this tour of backstage, of all the different sets and all the different aliens. That was really fun. I didn’t really understand how cool that was until years later.
Nerds & Beyond: If Beru was going to get her own lightsaber, what color would you want it to be?
Piesse: I’d have to say purple.
Nerds & Beyond: What does Star Wars, as a whole, mean to you?
Piesse: I would say it means magic. I love this whole thing of the Force. I think that really inspires people, and they feel that magic. I think that’s maybe one of the reasons why people love it so much.