Since George Lucas decided to expand the Star Wars universe beginning with 1999's The Phantom Menace, new generations of fans were able to start enjoying new stories on the big screen beyond the original trilogy. Among the beneficiaries was Ewan McGregor, who was cast as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy and recently reprised his role in the Disney+ series of the same name. The original Jedi master to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in 1977's A New Hope was played by Sir Alec Guinness. McGregor spoke about the initial reaction from the prequel trilogy and the reaction from newer fans since.
"To begin with, all we heard really was the critical side of things," McGregor said. "That was the only voice I remember hearing, and they were not liked. I think [my relationship to the prequels] has changed for me as I've met more people in that generation [who grew up on the films]." The actor respects Lucas for his bold decision to try to expand his universe. "I admire George for having tried to do something different with them," he said. "He didn't just set out to make another three Star Wars films that felt like the original ones. I respected him for that. I think that's ballsy and interesting."
As far as the initial negative reaction, "I think the critics just wanted to feel like they were seven or eight again, and they didn't get that," McGregor observed. "So I was left with that [reaction] for years and years, and it took [until I started] meeting people, and I realized how important our films have been to them." You can check out the whole GQ interview here. Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is available on Disney+.