Ewan McGregor is returning as Obi-Wan Kenobi. It’s been one of the biggest Star Wars stories of the past few years, that Ewan McGregor would be returning to the role he first played over twenty years ago in The Phantom Menace, and fans have gotten quite excited about seeing McGregor continue to evolve the character. While McGregor might be the most famous person to ever play the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi Knight has actually been portrayed by quite a number of people over the years, more than you might expect.
Obi-Wan first appeared in 1977, in A New Hope, and was portrayed by Alec Guinness, in a role that would go on to define his career, despite his many other high profile performances over the years. Even though Guinness grew to dislike the character overshadowing other aspects of his career, he would return to play the force ghost of Obi-Wan two more times in 1980 (The Empire Strikes Back) and 1983 (Return of the Jedi).
The next time audiences saw Obi-Wan Kenobi, or rather heard from him, was with the creation of the Star Wars audio dramas, radio play adaptations of the Star Wars trilogy, produced in 1981, 1983 and 1996. While some actors from the original films, such as Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels, would reprise their roles from the movie, the role of Obi-Wan was voiced by actor Bernard Behrens, a two time winner of the Gemini Award (the Canadian version of the Emmy).
Obi-Wan would next appear in the prequel trilogy of movies released from 1999 to 2005, being portrayed by Ewan McGregor in all three movies. McGregor is likely the only actor who can come close to Alec Guiness as being most associated with the role. Appearing in all three movies, McGregor was given much more screen time to really flesh out the character, and is the only actor to receive top billing for his portrayal as Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Three years after McGregor’s run as Obi-Wan had come to an end (though now it turns out it was just a break), Obi-Wan next appeared in animated form in the Animated Clone Wars movie and subsequent TV show. In this series Obi-Wan was portrayed by voice actor James Arnold Taylor. Taylor had technically first played the character a few years earlier in the Genndy Tartakovsky created micro-series about the Clone Wars, but it is his work on the 2008-2020 series that he is best known for. In this time period James Arnold Talyor would become the go to actor for Obi-Wan, with him voicing the character in video games as well, including Star Wars: Fallen Order, Star Wars: Battlefront II, Kinect Star Wars, and many others.
One of the few times that Obi-Wan was not voiced by James Arnold Taylor during this time, was in the Lego series Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales, a retelling of some of the events of the Star Wars saga, through the point of view of C-3PO, and R2-D2. In this series the two droids would interact with some of the other Star Wars characters including a young Obi-Wan Kenobi. In this instance, Obi-Wan was played by voice actor Samuel Vincent, though because this is a Lego production, we can’t be sure how cannon this portrayal should be considered to the rest of the Star Wars saga.
Speaking of non-cannon performances, there are obviously countless parodies and fan films where other actors have portrayed the famous Jedi Knight, including parody shows such as Robot Chicken where Obi-Wan appeared in multiple sketches and was voiced by series creator Seth Green. However, Green is worth mentioning because he was also given the opportunity to voice the character in an official Lucasfilm production. Green, along with his business partner and Robot Chicken co-creator Matthew Senrieich partnered with Lucasfilm in 2012, to create a parody series of Star Wars called Star Wars: Detours. The show was eventually shelved when the company was bought by Disney and it’s unknown if the 39 produced episodes of the series will ever be released, but it does mean that Seth Green counts as an official voice actor for a Lucasfilm produced version of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The last person to make the list is voice actor Stephen Stanton who voiced Obi-Wan in an episode of Star Wars: Rebels “Twin Suns.” This makes Stanton the sixth, and so far, final person to portray the Jedi Knight in Star Wars.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct inaccurate information. Stephen Stanton voiced Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Twin Suns,” and no old audio or additional voices were used in this performance as previously reported.
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