This article contains spoilers for episode 2 of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
When the cast of Obi-Wan Kenobi was revealed in March of 2021, fans learned that Kumail Nanjiani would be part of the series. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly a week before the Kenobi premiere, the Silicon Valley and Big Sick actor shared that he was playing a con man character named Haja.
Now that fans have seen the second episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi, they have the pleasure of meeting Haja and seeing the role he plays in this story.
Kumail Nanjiani Obi-Wan Kenobi character
Just as Nanjiani shared, Haja Estree is a con man on the planet Daiyu. The reason that Haja was seen wearing Jedi robes in the Kenobi trailer is because he is a con man pretending to be a Jedi.
With magnets stowed in his sleeves and remotes at his disposal, he is able to make it look like he is using the Force to summon metal objects and close grated shutters over windows. He also uses acting and the help of an acquaintance’s voice to make it seem like he is using a Jedi mind trick.
Even before he interacts with Obi-Wan, it is clear that Haja is not a completely dishonorable con man, though. It is strongly hinted that the boy Haja is helping get off of Daiyu is Force-sensitive.
Haja says to him “The Jedi must protect their own. With your son’s abilities, they will come for him.” Haja is deceiving the boy and his mother as part of a con to get paid, but he is genuinely helping them from being found by the Inquisitors and the Empire.
With his ruse uncovered and Obi-Wan pointing a blaster at him, Haja provides information that leads Obi-Wan to Leia. Later on, when Haja sees the bounty out for Obi-Wan, he goes after him. Instead of trying to capture Obi-Wan and collect the bounty on him, Haja finds Obi-Wan and tells him how to get off Daiyu and get to people who will help him.
Obi-Wan distrusts him, but Haja explains that while he has made mistakes, he is trying to make amends, part of which is helping Obi-Wan and Leia get to safety. Since Obi-Wan and Leia are able to get off of Daiyu by following Haja’s advice, it seems like he was true to his word, although fans will need to wait and see who is waiting for them when they land on the planet Mapuzo.
Haja exceeds all expectations by not only doing this but by stalling the Third Sister/Reva by pretending to be a Jedi. The ruse doesn’t last long and Reva uses the mind probe–the same thing Kylo Ren does to Poe Dameron and Rey when they are his captives in The Force Awakens–to find out where Obi-Wan is headed.
It doesn’t take long for Reva to get the information, but Haja does buy Obi-Wan and Leia some time in their escape. Considering how ruthless Reva was shown to be, it is surprising that she doesn’t kill Haja once she got what she needed from him.
Obi-Wan and Leia have made it off of Daiyu, but hopefully this won’t be the last that fans see of Haja. If he doesn’t show up again in Kenobi, he could show up in many of the other stories taking place during this time period. His character and the planet Daiyu could be a natural fit for the live-action Andor series or the animated series The Bad Batch.
Kumail Nanjiani is known for being a Star Wars fan, he is clearly having a blast playing Haja, and his performance was perfect for this character.