In the line-up of Lucasfilm and Disney+'s upcoming "Star Wars" universe series, the Ewan McGregor-starring Obi-Wan Kenobi might be one of the most anticipated- with McGregor's return to the role much longer in the planning stages than many realize. With his Netflix limited series Halston on the way, McGregor sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for an extensive interview about his life and career- with McGregor also discussing his life playing the iconic role. Here is a look at some of the highlights:
Not Everyone Wanted Him to Be Obi-Wan Kenobi: McGregor's uncle Denis Lawson played Wedge Antilles- and he also advised his nephew to not take the role of Obi-Wan out of concern that he would be typecast in that one role.
McGregor Wasn't a Fan of Green Screens in the Prequels: For McGregor, George Lucas' growing reliance on CGI made the films difficult for him as an actor. "After three or four months of that, it just gets really tedious — especially when the scenes are… I don't want to be rude, but it's not Shakespeare," he revealed. "There's not something to dig into in the dialogue that can satisfy you when there's no environment there. It was quite hard to do."
McGregor Likes Jon Favreau's "The Mandalorian" Approach: Noting that the StageCraft process of building virtual environments, McGregor explained why that approach works so much better. 'So if you're in a desert, you're standing in the middle of a desert. If you're in the snow, you're surrounded by snow. And if you're in a cockpit of a starfighter, you're in space. It's going to feel so much more real."
An Obi-Wan Kenobi Project Has Been in the Works For Some Time: For the past seven years, McGregor had been in negotiations for a return to the role- until 2018's Solo: A Star Wars Story shifted plans to streaming. But even as plans became final, McGregor was sworn to secrecy until August 2019- even as social media demanded his hiring if the rumors were true. "I'd see stuff on social media like, 'They better cast Ewan as Obi-Wan,' and I wasn't able to say anything," he said. "But it was pretty humiliating to think that [Disney] might be thinking about casting someone else."
So How's Production/Filming Going?: Though principal photography hasn't kicked off yet, McGregor "has done some screen tests with Deborah [Director Deborah Chow] and other people, and I can see that she is a really, really good director." So did those screen tests also include a young Luke Skywalker? "That's very possible," McGregor teased. "I don't know."
Joining McGregor is Hayden Christensen, Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell, Benny Safdie, and Maya Erskine– with the series taking place 10 years after Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, where Kenobi faced his greatest defeat: the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker (Christensen) turned evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.
Director Deborah Chow moves from directing episodes of The Mandalorian to directing the entire run of the series with directorial "geek cred" that also includes American Gods, Better Call Saul, Lost in Space, Jessica Jones, Reign, and Mr. Robot. In April 2020, Joby Harold (Army of the Dead) was tapped to replace Hossein Amini (Drive) after reports surfaced that Lucasfilm president and Obi-Wan producer Kathleen Kennedy was dissatisfied with Amini's scripts. Allegedly, Kennedy was concerned that having the lead character serve as a mentor to a young Luke and/or Leia skewed too close to The Mandalorian-The Child aka "Baby Yoda" dynamic.