Ewan McGregor on Returning as Obi-Wan Kenobi

Yesterday was a remarkable moment for Star Wars fans during Star Wars Celebration 2022 at the Anaheim Convention Center. During Lucasfilm’s Studio Showcase, Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen took to the stage to talk about their new show, Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is now available on Disney+. It’s been years since fans have seen the two together on a project, and audiences were excited to see the two on the stage as the Star Wars actors surprised them with a red carpet premiere later that evening. During a recent press conference, McGregor talked about the process of returning as the Jedi and also working again with Christensen.

In regards to returning as Obi-Wan Kenobi, it’s been a long, slow process for McGregor. It’s a role that he has been asked a lot, and many interviews would end with the question of whether he would play Obi-Wan Kenobi again.

“I just started answering it honestly and I think I became more aware of the fondness that the generation that we made the prequels for have for those films,” McGregor said. “Because when we made them, we didn’t hear that. We didn’t get that response, really. So, gradually, I started realizing that people really liked them and that they meant a lot to that generation. That warmed my feelings about them, I guess, or my experience of being in the Star Wars world. And then, Disney just asked me to come in one day for a meeting because they kept seeing on social media that I’m saying that I would like to play Obi-Wan Kenobi again. It looked like I was sort of touting for work at Disney’s door. Like, you know, could you cast me? But anyway, they got me in and asked me if I mean it and I said I would love to play him again. I think there’s got to be a good story between Episode III and Episode IV and that’s what we definitely found after a lengthy process of exploring some different storylines. I think we’ve ended up with a really, really brilliant story and one that will satisfy the fans sitting between those two episodes.”

Thanks to Order 66, the Jedi are now being hunted by the Emperor and the Empire. The actor talks about what his character has been up to.

“So for 10 years, Obi-Wan has been in hiding,” McGregor explained. “He can’t communicate with any of his old comrades and he’s living a pretty solitary life. He’s not able to use the Force. So, in a way, he’s lost his faith. It’s like somebody who’s stepped away from their religion or something, if you like. And the only responsibility to his past life is looking over Luke Skywalker who he’s delivered to – we see at the end of Episode III – to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. So, that’s his only sort of link to his past. So, it was interesting to take a character that we know and love from Alec Guinness’ creation of the character in the seventies of this wise, sage-like, spiritual man. And then, the work that I did in Episode I to III from the padawan, from the student to the Jedi to somebody’s who’s sitting on the Jedi council, to take that Obi-Wan and take him to this more sort of broken place was really interesting to do.”

McGregor and Christensen worked together before in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. With the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, the two get to work together again.

“I mean we just were so close when we met the first,” McGregor said of Christensen. “We made Episode II and III together and we made them in Australia. So, we were both away from home and we had so much time training for the fights together and then, being on set together. But also, because we were so far from home, we spent a lot of time outside of work together as well. And so, we were close. And then, over the years, I guess, we had slightly lost touch. I hadn’t seen Hayden for years. So, when I saw him again and was able to talk about this project with him, it was very, very exciting. It was great. And when we were acting together, it was really like some sort of time warp. Really like looking across at him on set was like the last 17 years didn’t happen at all, you know. It was really peculiar.”

Obi-Wan Kenobi is now available on Disney+.

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