Shooting on Lucasfilm’s upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series for Disney+has yet to begin, but the Jedi Master himself is ready.
Ewan McGregor first played young version of the iconic character in George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels, and he was seen as one of the elements that worked in a series of films that didn’t exactly measure up to their predecessors. As he waits for production to begin, an extensive profile on the actor’s career finds him acknowledging how difficult it was to realize that the prequels “were universally not very much liked.” Thankfully, there’s one major change that makes him more confident in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
The Hollywood Reporter recently caught up with Ewan McGregor as he waits to begin production on Obi-Wan Kenobi. Recently, the actor revealed that he’s been partaking in “two-and-a-half-hour sessions of sword fights and hand-to-hand stuff,” but he was forced to take a break for a couple days when the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine knocked him out. But now he’s back at it, and he has renewed hope that his return as Obi-Wan Kenobi will be different from the first time around.
In the profile of Ewan McGregor, the actor acknowledges that the poor reception to the Star Wars prequels was hard to accept. “That was quite difficult. They were universally not very much liked,” McGregor admits. But that hasn’t stopped the actor from being excited to reprise his role as Obi-Wan. The actor added:
“I’m really excited about it. Maybe more so than the first ones, because I’m older — I just turned 50 — and I’m just in a much better place.”
Though McGregor is referring to his own career and the success and satisfaction he’s found because of it, those words could also be interpreted literally. Because if there’s one thing that the Scottish actor is happy about, it’s new technology that makes it easier to immerse himself in a galaxy far, far away.
One of the biggest criticisms that has been thrown at the Star Wars prequels is that far too much of the movie relied on visual effects. From the backgrounds to entire characters, there just wasn’t the same tangible sci-fi world that made the original Star Wars movies such a groundbreaking film franchise. McGregor recalled his frustration at George Lucas’ love for technology and pushing the limits of blue screen filmmaking:
“[George Lucas] wanted more and more control over what we see in the background. After three or four months of [being surrounded by blue screens], it just gets really tedious — especially when the scenes are … I don’t want to be rude, but it’s not Shakespeare. 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.”
Indeed, if there’s one other major criticism that the Star Wars prequels received, it was the poor writing for the franchise’s many characters. I’m not sure any actor could say, “I wish that I could just wish away my feelings” or “Love can’t save you, Padme, only my new powers can do that,” and make it convincing. But McGregor isn’t worried about feeling uninspired on the set of Obi-Wan Kenobi. The actor praised the new StageCraft technology pioneered on The Mandalorian:
“They project [the virtual backgrounds] onto this massive LED screen. 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.”
Let’s hope this situation also works for his co-star Hayden Christensen, who will be returning as Obi-Wan Kenobi’s former apprentice Anakin Skywalker, who has now become the Sith Lord known as Darth Vader.
As for any other Skywalkers potentially popping up on the series, McGregor wouldn’t give anything away. He said, “That’s very possible. I don’t know.” Even if he pulled a Jedi mind trick on us, we still wouldn’t believe him.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is expected to arrive on Disney+ sometime in 2022.
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