Ewan McGregor is one of the most recognizable faces in the Star Wars franchise. His role as Obi-Wan Kenobi through three prequel films and his spinoff Disney+ series has made the actor synonymous with the part. Whether you prefer Alec Guinness or McGregor, there’s no denying each portrayal complimented one another as both actors left their mark on the fanbase. However, although McGregor nailed his role perfectly, the actor once believed he wasn’t fit for the iconic franchise.
When casting began for the first entry in the Star Wars prequels, The Phantom Menace, McGregor was hot off his starring role in Trainspotting. The film, helmed by Danny Boyle, followed Renton (McGregor) as he is deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene. Despite the allure of the drugs and the influence of friends, he tries to clean up and get out. Trainspotting was released in 1996, receiving an Oscar nominee following its theatrical run.
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After playing a character so grounded in reality and heavily involved with drugs, McGregor tells the SmartLess podcast, hosted by Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes, that he wasn’t sure if he was at the right point in his career for Star Wars.
“I really had to think about it. Because it came right after that ‘Trainspotting’ period, and by that time I was so full of myself. I was like, ‘I am Danny Boyle’s actor. I am f*****g urban grunge. I am the Oasis of the British movie industry,’ and then when ‘Star Wars’ came around, I felt, ‘I don’t know if I want to do this. This isn’t me. I was so into being this sort of antihero. I felt like an indie British actor. I felt like that defined me.”
Luckily for fans, McGregor gave Star Wars a shot, lending himself to one of the most successful and well-known stories ever told.
What Changed McGregor’s Mind About Star Wars?
Of course, like many others, Ewan McGregor was a massive fan of Star Wars while growing up. He saw the portrayal from Alec Guinness and enjoyed his Ben Kenobi so much that it helped persuade the young actor to join the franchise. He tells SmartLess, “To get a chance to be that character and play the younger Alec Guinness was pretty awesome.”
“In the end, it just got closer and closer. By that time, I was just so attached to the idea of it from when I was a kid. To get a chance to be that character and play the younger Alec Guinness was pretty awesome. I was almost grateful to be involved in something that big and to be part of the legend of it, because I loved it. When I was a kid, I loved those films. I was six or seven when the first one came out. It’s in me somehow.”
It didn’t take much peer advice or a motivational speech to get McGregor in Star Wars. Instead, like many actors, he was a fan of the franchise and wanted to be a part of something that played such a key role in his childhood. McGregor is hot off his return to Star Wars in the Disney+ series, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Fans can look out for him as he plays Sebastian J. Cricket in the upcoming Netflix film Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.