Ewan McGregor says it was ‘difficult’ to finish Star Wars prequels after Phantom Menace was panned by critics

‘I felt like I was part of this new wave of British cinema, really, and that ‘Star Wars’ wasn’t me,’ actor said

Tom Murray
Thursday 19 May 2022 09:21 BST
Obi-Wan Kenobi trailer

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Louise Thomas

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Ewan McGregor spoke about the difficulties of filming the Star Wars prequel movies after his first outing as Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Phantom Menace, was derided by critics.

McGregor returns as the Jedi Master in the new Disney+ spin-off series (also named Obi-Wan Kenobi) about his character.

In an interview with Vanity Fair for its June cover story, McGregor said that he “questioned” playing Obi-Wan a lot.

“I felt like I was part of this new wave of British cinema, really, and that Star Wars wasn’t me, that’s not what I stood for. I was this sort of urban, grungy, independent film actor,” he said.

In 1999, the first in the prequel trilogy, The Phantom Menace, received brutal reviews. “Hearing Ewan McGregor trying to do an English accent as the Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi had us snorting in the aisles,” The Times’ Kate Muir wrote at the time.

“It was quite difficult for all of us to deal with that, also knowing you’ve got a couple more to do,” McGregor said of the critical response.

Ewan McGregor in Star Wars
Ewan McGregor in Star Wars (Walt Disney Studios)

Over time, the prequel trilogy has grown to be appreciated in its own right, beloved even, by younger fans who grew up with McGregor, not Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan.

The new Disney+ series also sees Hayden Christensen reprising his role as Darth Vadar from the prequels.

The star recently admitted to watching the entire Star Wars catalogue to prepare himself for the role, including “all nine” films and the animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels.

Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres on Disney+ on 27 May.

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