‘Star Wars’: Ewan McGregor Just Shared the ‘Disturbing’ Part of Working on the Prequels

Ewan McGregor has an interesting relationship with the Star Wars saga. On the one hand, the actor seemingly had a blast playing Obi-Wan Kenobi in George Lucas’ prequel trilogy. But on the other, he seems perplexed by how much some fans love the prequels. In any case, McGregor recently opened up about what he considered the “disturbing” part of working on the divisive Star Wars prequel trilogy.

Ewan McGregor stands next to George Lucas, who is speaking, at the UK premiere of 'Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge Of The Sith'
Ewan McGregor stands next to George Lucas, who is speaking, at the UK premiere of ‘Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge Of The Sith’ | Justin Goff\UK Press via Getty Images

Ewan McGregor became a ‘Star Wars’ fan favorite

As much as the prequels divide Star Wars fans, a few elements of the trilogy are seemingly undeniable even to his harshest critics. John Williams’ score for the three movies elevates the movies in predictably epic fashion. The fight choreography during the lightsaber duels is just as kinetic and nuanced as fans hoped. And some of the performances — particularly McGregor’s younger version of Obi-Wan Kenobi — are pitch-perfect.

Stepping into the role made famous by Alec Guinness in the original trilogy, McGregor had the challenge of imagining what a young Kenobi might be like. Throughout the prequels, he plays Obi-Wan from the ages of 25 to nearly 40. And amid the evolution of that character from a more reckless Jedi Padawn to a Jedi Master, McGregor never loses track of his sly sense of humor, straight-laced by-the-book nature, and compassion.

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The actor found this part of the prequels ‘disturbing’

In the latest installment of Variety’s Actors on Actors series, McGregor caught up with another Star Wars actor, The Mandalorian‘s Pedro Pascal. The pair discussed a variety of topics, including their experiences in the “galaxy far, far away.” Ultimately, the conversation turned to the technology used on set, a topic which led McGregor to share what it was like working with Yoda during his Star Wars movies.

“I was lucky to do my scenes with the Yoda puppet. And it was extraordinary because I acted with him. You’re acting with Yoda. I couldn’t believe I was acting with Yoda. … Then every time George [Lucas] called cut, [Yoda] would die because everyone just stops operating it. And it was sort of disturbing every time the end of the scene would come along. Then they replaced him for our second film and our third film with a digital version of him. … We know Yoda as a puppet. We know him from the original three movies as a puppet. So when it was suddenly computer-generated, it didn’t feel like Yoda to me anymore. It’s interesting that they went back to using an actual puppet for [The Mandalorian].”

The overabundance of computer-generated imagery is part of why some fans rejected the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Ironically, the Yoda puppet used in The Phantom Menace also didn’t work for fans, mostly due to the design. In later versions of the movie, Lucas replaced Yoda with a computer-generated version in all three films. It wasn’t until Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi in 2017 that the puppet version of Yoda made its return.

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Ewan McGregor will return to the saga on Disney+

Of course, the prequel trilogy won’t be the last time McGregor will play Obi-Wan Kenobi. After years of speculation and rumors, the actor is finally confirmed to return for a Disney+ series centered on the Star Wars fan favorite. The show is currently filming and is expected to be a standalone limited series of six episodes.

Other than its setting in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, fans don’t know a whole lot about the Obi-Wan Kenobi series. The show will leverage the same technology used on The Mandalorian and will feature the return of Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader. But exactly what Kenobi is up to has yet to be revealed.