‘Star Wars’: Ewan McGregor Revealed the ‘Most Satisfying’ Part of the Prequels

When George Lucas announced the Star Wars prequel trilogy, fans weren’t sure what to expect. As viewers — and indeed the actors themselves — discovered, the new movies marked a major departure from the original trilogy. But despite how divisive they are among fans, the Star Wars prequels still have their clear strong points. Star Ewan McGregor once revealed the part of making the movies he found the most satisfying.

Ewan McGregor wears black and smiles at the 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' premiere
Ewan McGregor wears black and smiles at the ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ premiere | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Ewan McGregor played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the divisive ‘Star Wars’ prequel trilogy

Set decades before the original 1977 classic, Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace still involves a few familiar characters. Jake Lloyd plays young slave boy Anakin Skywalker, who’s destined to become Darth Vader. And Ian McDiarmid reprised the role of Sheev Palpatine from Return of the Jedi. But McGregor’s turn as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi ultimately wound up being one of the prequel trilogy’s most popular characters.

Prior to his casting, McGregor’s biggest tie to Star Wars was his uncle, Denis Lawson. The actor played rebel pilot Wedge Antilles in all three of the original films. So McGregor had a bit of a family legacy to live up to when he received the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Of course, stepping into play such an integral figure in the saga already came with pressures of its own. But McGregor was ready to rise to the occasion as the Jedi Master.

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The actor recently revealed his favorite part of working on the prequels

In fact, McGregor relished the chance to try and capture the essence of the late Alec Guinness, who played Kenobi in the original trilogy. During a visit to Conan in 2019, McGregor revealed the preparation of trying to match his performance with that of Guinness was his favorite part of making his Star Wars movies.

“The most satisfying thing about those films, other than some of the fight sequences — which were amazing to do — was the study of Alec Guinness and trying to be believably him as a younger man. As an acting challenge, that was the most satisfying thing about those movies.”

Although he stands by his work in those films, McGregor is still surprised how much the prequels have been embraced by some fans. However, even those who take issue with the direction Lucas took the saga usually admit McGregor’s performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi — as well as lightsaber battles — is a major highlight.

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How will Ewan McGregor change his performance in the upcoming ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series?

McGregor last played Kenobi in 2005’s Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith. But as fans know by now, he’s set to return to the role for the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ series. In the same interview with Conan, the actor opened up about the additional challenge of revisiting the character so many years later.

“So now that’s the same except I’m just closer to the age [Alec Guinness] was when he made [the original film]. So it’ll be interesting to play him now. And also it being post — plot-wise — the three films that I made already. It’s after that, obviously. So there’s a bit of story there.”

Considering how Revenge of the Sith ends with Anakin’s (Hayden Christensen) transformation into Darth Vader, Obi-Wan likely harbors a ton of guilt and regret over how he failed his friend. Obi-Wan Kenobi has a real opportunity to dig deeper and show a brand-new side of one of the most popular Star Wars characters.