By Maria Estevez, MWN
“Obi-Wan Kenobi,” the new installment of the Star Wars saga, is one of the most anticipated releases of the year. As soon as the series was announced and that it would star Ewan McGregor as the Jedi Master, Star Wars fans went wild. This actor personified a fabulous interpretation of this space knight during the saga of the clones at the beginning of the millennium. The series also marks the return of Hayden Christensen in the role of Darth Vader.
The installment is set 10 years after the dramatic events of “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” as Kenobi faces his greatest defeat: the fall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned into the evil Lord Sith Darth Vader. Thus we will learn what happened to Obi-Wan during the years prior to episode four of the saga and how Anakin started his way on the dark side.
Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse will once again play Luke Skywalker’s uncles, Owen and Beru Lars. And the rest of the cast is rounded out by Moses Ingram, Kumail Nanjiani, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sunk Kang, Simone Kessell and Benny Safdie.
Metro recently spoke with McGregor to learn more.
What is Obi-Wan’s path in this series?
The Jedi Order is falling apart. It will be interesting to take a character that we know in a way and show him facing the massacre of the Jedi at the end of Episode III. It is something you will have to overcome. The story picks up 10 years after the events at the end of Star Wars III: Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side at the hands of Emperor Palpatine, betraying his best friend and mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi.
You jump from a big-budget project to an independent one. What is your process as an actor?
There is a balance. One makes movies of all kinds. I don’t spend any energy existing within the industry, on the contrary, I choose my jobs because I want to do them. As an actor, I am very lucky because I have been in this profession for a long time and I do not do it for money. I can choose the projects letting myself be guided by my instincts. Sometimes I decide on a great movie for which they give me a lot of money and other times there is no money, but the offer is tempting because of the content. I am very lucky, I can feed my children, send them to good schools and live very well. I don’t understand what it means to work to create a career in the industry, I do what I like and live my life great.
As an actor, you seem to not be afraid of musicals, action, horror, drama, or even science fiction.
No, fear none. I like all genres, I don’t feel a preference for any in particular. I am lucky to have never fallen into a stereotype that would limit me as an actor. I like to find different scripts, to play roles that I haven’t done before. After ‘Fargo’ and being on TV, I decided to take some time off to work in theater and re-tighten those muscles.
The relationship between film and television has changed in recent years. Do you enjoy the dissolution of status between film and TV actors?
Yes, but I feel it’s a shame that we don’t tell some of these stories, which appear on television, in the cinema format. I think we have lost all of us who love cinema, because, I think cinema has become more of a show where there are superheroes and horror and less character-driven narratives. It’s a shame because I like to go to the cinema to see all kinds of films and the great films are not only shows but also dramas. I am afraid that what happens with the cinema is part of the current life course that evolves based on money. The business of the industry commands the artistic aspect.
What else can you reveal about Obi-Wan?
He is a great character, adored by the public. I hope to live up to what the audience expects of me in this role. In the last few years, I understood for whom these movies were made and the love that there is for the prequels. It’s really nice now to feel that warmth. It means a lot to us.
How was it to work with Hayden Christensen again?
Oh, great. I mean we just were so close when we first met, we made Episode II and III together and we made them in Australia. So, we were both away from home and we had so much time training for the fights together and then, being on set together. But also, because we were so far from home, we spent a lot of time outside of work together as well. Then, over the years, I guess, we had slightly lost touch. I hadn’t seen Hayden for years. So, when I saw him again and was able to talk about this project with him, it was very, very exciting. It was great. And when we were acting together, it was really like some sort of time warp. Looking across at him on set was like the last 17 years didn’t happen at all, you know. It was really peculiar.
It’s been over a decade since you played the Jedi in “Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” Did you consult with the original Obi-Wan Kenobi actor to nail down the voice?
Luckily we had months before we actually started shooting, so I went back and did some homework with Alec Guinness and reviewed what I’ve done before in the original films. One of the difficult things about being in the prequels was that when they came out, they were not seemingly well-received because there were no social media. There was no sort of direct avenue to the fans at the time, and also the fans were kids.
Do you enjoy being greeted by Star Wars fans?
I love the fans. It means a lot to me. I’m sure it’s one of the reasons why I wanted to do this again.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” is now streaming on Disney+