Ewan McGregor Was “Reluctant” To Accept Role Of Obi Wan In Star Wars


Scottish actor Ewan McGregor almost didn’t accept the role of young Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace out of fear it was too mainstream for his niche.

Can you imagine a young Obi Wan Kenobi played by anyone other than Ewan McGregor? I can’t. But if McGregor had followed through with his initial reluctance to accept the role, we would be in the opposite situation right now.

Yes, the Scottish actor was hesitant to play a main character in a Star Wars movie. In an interview with Telegraph (via The List), McGregor explained how at the time he was approached by Lucasfilm to play young Obi Wan in The Phantom Menace, he had already found his niche in a particular genre of films. And those films were not blockbuster space operas like Star Wars.

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McGregor said:

"“‘Star Wars’ is ‘Star Wars’, it’s something I grew up with as a kid. At first, I was very reluctant to do it, because I saw myself as this urban, grungy actor doing films about heroin and stuff, and that’s who I felt like I really was.”"

But not even McGregor could resist the pull of George Lucas’s vision.

"But the nearer I got to it, the more I wanted to do it: and it wasn’t for money reasons, because it was back in the day I got paid nicely for it, but it wasn’t ridiculous by any means. It was to do with being in it and it didn’t feel like Hollywood. George Lucas hated Hollywood he was in San Francisco following the beat of his own drum.”"

I, for one, am glad McGregor decided to accept the role. One of the brightest spots of the prequel trilogy is the character of Obi Wan Kenobi. I’m convinced young Obi Wan would not have come across as so dynamic a personality with another actor in McGregor’s stead. Who else could pull off a line like, “So uncivilized?”

Now, if we could just Lucasfilm to invite McGregor back for a Kenobi spinoff movie.