5 little-known facts about Ewan McGregor

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ewan McGregor attends the European Premiere of 'Christopher Robin' at BFI Southbank on August 5, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ewan McGregor attends the European Premiere of 'Christopher Robin' at BFI Southbank on August 5, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images) /

Ewan McGregor is easily one of the most loved actors to appear in the Star Wars franchise with his now-iconic performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

When the prequels first came out, many fans were disappointed in them, but McGregor’s Obi-Wan was an unquestionable bright spot in the films. And fans are thrilled that McGregor is returning to the role in a series coming to Disney+. Here are five little-known facts about the Scottish actor.

1. Dr. McGregor

McGregor left school at 16 to become an actor, which turned out more than alright for him. His chances of academic stardom weren’t lost, though. In 2001, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Ulster in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was named a Doctor of Letters at the graduation ceremony of the university, and McGregor felt it was a great honor.

2. Motorcycle trip around the world

McGregor is an avid motorcycle rider and in 2004, he took a motorcycle trip around the world with his good friend Charley Boorman. They began their trip in London and rode east across Europe and Asia. After flying across the Pacific Ocean to Alaska, they traveled across the U.S. and finished in New York City. The trip was filmed and released as a documentary called Long Way Home. In addition to riding for enjoyment, McGregor has been an ambassador for UNICEF, riding his motorcycle to remote areas of the world, such as India, Nepal, and the Republic of Congo to deliver vaccines. Later, in 2020, McGregor and Boorman had a follow-up series on Apple TV+ called Long Way Up.

3. Uncle Wedge

Playing Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels wasn’t McGregor’s first connection to Star Wars. His uncle Denis Lawson is known for playing Rebel Alliance pilot Wedge Antilles in the original Star Wars trilogy, beginning with A New Hope and continuing through The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Though his role was a small one, Lawson became a well-known Star Wars figure. McGregor was fascinated by seeing his uncle on-screen and likely served as an influence for McGregor’s love for the franchise.

4. Doing his own sound effects

It’s not uncommon for children to play with lightsaber toys and make the whooshing sounds as they fight, maybe while listening to John Williams’ Duel of the Fates score from The Phantom Menace. Apparently, it was no different for a grown-up McGregor. He was so into his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi on the set of The Phantom Menace that he couldn’t help making lightsaber sounds as he performed lightsaber scenes. Lucas had to continually remind him that the sounds would be added in during editing.

5. Lightsaber duel with Noel Gallagher

Noel Gallagher was the primary songwriter for the band Oasis in the 1990s with his brother, lead singer Liam Gallagher. He has also been a friend of McGregor’s, and when McGregor found out he was going to be playing Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace, he was at a party at Gallagher’s house. Gallagher had two toy lightsabers in the house and challenged McGregor to a duel. Years later, in an interview with StarWars.com, Gallagher claimed that he “schooled” McGregor on lightsaber fighting. Who knew Noel Gallagher was actually the master that taught Obi-Wan everything he knows!

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