While he may have been one of the biggest names in three of the highest grossing movies of all time, Ewan McGregor has said he found it “hard” when the Star Wars prequels were panned by critics and audiences.
The actor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the little-loved episodes I, II and III from 1999 to 2005, told the Hollywood Reporter it was “hard they didn’t get well received”. He added: “That was quite difficult. They were universally not very much liked.”
In stark contrast to the beloved original trilogy, the franchise’s prequels – The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith – outraged many fans and inspired an intense backlash. There were complaints about the tedious storylines, wooden acting and poor dialogue, not to mention the introduction of one of the most loathed fictional characters ever, Jar Jar Binks.
McGregor, who had long been eager to reprise his role as the Jedi Master, seems to have shared some of the fans’ lukewarm thoughts.
He said working on 2005’s Revenge of the Sith was difficult because it was largely done in front of a screen rather than on a set. “After three or four months of that, 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.”
But the success of the subsequent movies set after the original trilogy, along with the $100m television series The Mandalorian among the first of ten spin-offs coming to Disney+, proves there is still an appetite and enthusiasm for new stories from the Star Wars universe.
McGregor said he was “really excited” to be reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a series for Disney’s streaming platform due in 2022. “Maybe more so than the first ones, because I’m older – I just turned 50 – and I’m just in a much better place,” he said.
He said that during filming for the new series, the backgrounds are projected “on to this massive LED screen” which would feel more realistic than CGI-acting.
“So if you’re in a desert, you’re standing in the middle of a desert,” he said. “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.”