Back in 1996, Ewan McGregor made movie history by playing heroin addict Mark Renton in Trainspotting. However, probably the biggest role in his professional life is played by Obi-Wan Kenobi, whom he has embodied in a total of three Star Wars films since the early 2000s. Disney+ is now dedicating a six-part miniseries to the legendary Jedi Knight, for whom McGregor has resurfaced in his signature role.
The story he tells begins ten years after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, where Obi-Wan Kenobi witnessed the fall and death of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christiansen), who was posing as a Sith. Lord Darth Vader has turned to the dark side.
In an interview with ntv.de, the 51-year-old McGregor explains what the series and the most famous of all the Jedi Knights mean to him personally, and what it all has to do with Alec Guinness to this day.
Ques: Mr. McGregor, how do you feel after so many years of the Obi-Wan Kenobi series?
Ewan McGregor: I had a lot of interviews asking if I would do a sequel to Trainspotting and if I would play Obi-Wan Kenobi again. We filmed a sequel to Trainspotting in 2016. After answering “yes” to a question about Obi-Wan several times, I was contacted by Disney and Lucas Film a few years ago and asked if I really meant it. Of course, I always thought it was a good story. We started talking about it back then, and then it got to this point. So it didn’t just come out of nowhere, I was part of the process.
What was it like working with Hayden Christensen again after all this time and remembering the events of yesteryear? Almost 20 years have passed since Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
Was great. I love Hayden. We have such a special relationship, we’ve known each other since about 2000. I haven’t seen him for a long time, so it was very exciting to work with him again.
Since then, not only the age of all participants has changed. From a technical point of view, a lot has happened. What was the biggest change on set from before?
We have for series with Performing Arts Technology worked, which, of course, did not exist then.
Virtual environments are created in Unreal Engine and displayed on a giant LED screen. It has already been used in The Mandalorian. Does this technology make the job easier?
There is no post-processing, visual effects are not added after the fact. This is really fantastic stuff. It actually makes the job a lot easier. Before a blue screen or a green screen, you must visualize what is going on around you. Here you can see them directly because you are right in the middle of them.
Have you really followed everything related to the Star Wars universe over the years? Especially the other two Disney+ series The Mandalorian and Boba Fett?
Yes, I really fell behind watching all the movies again when it became clear that we would be doing Obi-Wan Kenobi. And, of course, the series. I was especially surprised by The Mandalorian because I didn’t know anything about it beforehand and I really liked the show. I haven’t watched the whole Boba Fett yet, but I’m having a lot of fun too. It’s nice to be told different stories from the same world.
Ewan McGregor’s name is so closely associated with Obi-Wan Kenobi. But what does this character mean to you personally? Is she now a friend, enemy, or even a part of you?
I think Obi-Wan Kenobi is really a part of me. This is part of my history, my career. I like to play it. I loved Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan in Star Wars 1977. And being able to portray the character that Alec Guinness took on in a fictional future delights me to this day. I hear Alec Guinness in my head when I read scripts even though I’ve never met him. But it makes me feel connected to him.
The Obi-Wan Kenobi series premieres May 27 on Disney+.