Ewan McGregor’s character Obi-Wan Kenobi is a fan favorite among characters in the Star Wars universe; however, the Scottish actor wasn’t always certain that he wanted to play Obi-Wan. Back when McGregor was first considering playing young Obi-Wan in the Star Wars prequels (which are now famously maligned), the Moulin Rouge actor has revealed that he had serious doubts about the role!
“I really questioned it a lot,” McGregor recently told Vanity Fair. “I felt like I was part of this new wave of British cinema, really, and that Star Wars wasn’t me, that’s not what I stood for. I was this sort of urban, grungy, independent film actor.” Apparently, the late Sir Alec Guinness was not a fan of the “space saga” movies that he played a part in, and for a time, McGregor felt the same way.
After the 1999 prequel The Phantom Menace (McGregor’s first movie as Obi-Wan) was given very bad reviews, Ewan McGregor said that “it was hard because it was such a huge decision to do them, such a big event. It was quite difficult for all of us to deal with that, also knowing you’ve got a couple more to do.”
Apparently “McGregor was relieved to put the franchise behind him” after the Moulin Rouge actor had finished his original Star Wars movies, and it wasn’t until a Star Wars screening in 2017 that McGregor reconsidered his position.
“They asked me if I would want to introduce one [of the films], and I’ve never done anything like that, but suddenly, it just struck me that I really did want to,” McGregor said in the interview. “I really do think it has to do with growing up,” the Christopher Robin actor added. Seeing a new batch of young fans who actually enjoyed the prequel movies helped, too, and it was then that Ewan McGregor apparently started saying that he was open to returning as Obi-Wan.
Four years ago, Lucasfilm’s Kiri Hart (who was head of story) checked with McGregor to confirm that his feelings about his role really had changed, and that he hadn’t just been saying yes in press interviews to be polite. “She just said, ‘We just wanted to know if it’s true. You’ve said you’d do it again. We want to know if you mean it,’ ” McGregor remembered. “And I said, ‘Yeah, I do mean it. I would be happy to do it again.’ ”
The fact that McGregor has a bit more voice behind the scenes this time around, as a producer, also seems to have been a factor in his return. “I just said, ‘I think that it should be a story about a broken man, a man who’s lost his faith,’ ” McGregor said when discussing Obi-Wan’s upcoming series. “He always has a funny line to say or always seems to be calm and is a good warrior or soldier or whatever, but to see that man come apart, and see what gets him back together again—that’s where we started.”
Are you a fan of Obi-Wan Kenobi? Are you excited to see this Jedi facing off against Darth Vader (aka Anakin Skywalker, aka Hayden Christensen) in his new series, coming very soon to Disney+ — or perhaps his wife, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who has just joined the ranks of Ahsoka?