‘Obi-Wan’ Star Ewan McGregor Almost Starred in Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’
Ewan McGregor undoubtedly gained a lot of notoriety from playing Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars movies. The actor starred in all three installments of the prequel trilogy. The “galaxy far, far away” is now owned by Disney, of course. And as it turns out, McGregor nearly got the chance to play a Marvel superhero for the studio as well. And if he won the part, he would have at the forefront of Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Ewan McGregor is best known as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Prior to signing up to play Obi-Wan Kenobi, McGregor already had a successful movie career in the indie space. The actor had starred in such films as Trainspotting, Emma, A Life Less Ordinary, and Velvet Goldmine in the mid-to-late 1990s. But it was 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace that made him a household name.
McGregor’s brush with Marvel isn’t the first time he reportedly missed out on an epic blockbuster role. As the story goes, his commitment to Star Wars might have cost him the chance to play Neo in The Matrix. Seeing how McGregor’s career has turned out, however, the star of Moulin Rouge and Big Fish likely has no regrets nowadays.
The actor had a close brush with Marvel stardom
Benedict Cumberbatch has truly made Doctor Strange his own in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). But before he was cast, Marvel was looking at a number of high-profile actors for the role. That list apparently included McGregor, who confirmed to MTV (via CinemaBlend) he was in contention for 2016’s Doctor Strange at some point.
“I was into it, yeah. I thought it was exciting. I’m not a big comic guy. So I didn’t know who Doctor Strange was. So I was intrigued by it, and I like the idea of creating or being a superhero character. They didn’t [pick me], but it was still fun to be a part of the mix for a while.”
As the MCU continues to grow, the franchise will only build up more of these “what if?” scenarios regarding alternate casting. McGregor’s take on Stephen Strange would have certainly brought a bit of a different energy to the role. But fans have wholeheartedly accepted Cumberbatch as the hero, a role he’s played in six films so far.
Could Ewan McGregor find his way into the MCU?
McGregor might have missed out on his chance to play Doctor Strange in the MCU. But the franchise clearly has no signs of slowing down. In fact, the addition of Disney+ series to the mix means there’s a better chance than ever before for McGregor to join the MCU if he’s still interested in doing so. From a business standpoint, such a role would only further boost his profile and add some more hits to his filmography. And it could be fun to play too.
After all, McGregor has already participated in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) as Roman Sionis aka Black Mask in the 2019 film Birds of Prey. The way that film ended clearly doesn’t leave much room for him to stay in the DCEU. And if he’s only interested in a short-term commitment, Marvel would likely be willing to work with McGregor on that. By all accounts, Moon Knight star Oscar Isaac — another Star Wars alum — struck a similar short-term deal.