Ewan McGregor could anticipate the two questions ending every interview he completed. “Would I do the sequel to Trainspotting? And would I ever play Obi-Wan Kenobi?” His honest answers to those questions began to create interest in a sequel that did not yet exist.
“I became more aware of the fondness that the generation that we made the prequels for have for those films,” says McGregor during the global press conference for his upcoming Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi. “When we made them, we didn’t hear that.” In a world without social media, the feedback from the adults who were kids for the first three Star Wars films was always louder than that of the current group of young fans.
“Gradually, I started realizing that people really liked them and that they meant a lot to that generation,” continues McGregor. That led to him reflecting on his personal experience being a part of the Star Wars franchise. His feelings, now warmer with time, made their way to studio executives. “Disney just asked me to come in one day for a meeting because they kept seeing on social media that I was saying that I would like to play Obi-Wan Kenobi again.”
That meeting bore fruit, and McGregor knew there was a potential story between the events of Episode Three and Episode Four. “After a lengthy process of exploring some different storylines, I think we’ve ended up with a really brilliant story, and one that will satisfy the fans sitting between those two episodes.”
The Disney+ series allowed McGregor to explore Alec Guinness’ portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original trilogy. “Alec Guinness had this wit behind his eyes all the time,” according to McGregor. “I always try and think of him and, and try to feel him…hear him saying the lines.”
The passing years and the timeline of the series also bring with them a chance to connect both versions of Obi-Wan Kenobi. “Just being closer to Alec Guinness in age was interesting,” says McGregor. “The Alec Guinness Obi-Wan, when we find him as a solitary figure, he’s living in the desert alone. So I suppose my Obi-Wan now is just a bit closer to his.”
While fans can credit themselves for getting Ewan McGregor talking about playing Obi-Wan Kenobi again, some of them get credit for actually making all of the Star Wars series coming to Disney+ as well. The costume department on The Mandalorian even put together a makeshift Obi-Wan costume for McGregor to wear during screen tests taking place on The Mandalorian set. “Walking out onto the set was crazy, because there are so many Star Wars fans in the crew,” says McGregor. “There was a sort of buzz about Obi-Wan walking back on stage.”
You can catch the buzz for yourself when the Disney+ original series Obi-Wan Kenobi begins streaming on May 27, 2022.
About Obi-Wan Kenobi
The story begins 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 evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.
The series stars Ewan McGregor, reprising his role as the iconic Jedi Master, and also marks the return of Hayden Christensen in the role of Darth Vader. Joining the cast are Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell and Benny Safdie.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” is directed by Deborah Chow and executive-produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Deborah Chow, Ewan McGregor and Joby Harold.