The trailer for the new Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series has been released causing fans everywhere to excitedly pour over every detail of Ewan McGregor’s return to the Star Wars universe in the role that he first played back in 1999. While Alec Guinness originated the role, Ewan McGregor’s standout performances have helped him to make the role his own. But some fans might be surprised to learn that this is McGregor’s sixth time playing the role.
Ewan McGregor in The Phantom Menace
Ewan McGregor was first given the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1999 in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. He was cast portraying the character as a young Padawan, under the mentorship of Qui-Gon Jinn, played by Liam Neeson. At the time, Ewan McGregor’s biggest claim to fame was his role in Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, and his closest connection to Star Wars was that he is the nephew of Dennis Lawson, the actor who portrayed Wedge Antillies in the original trilogies. That however, was all about to change. His appearance in Star Wars, playing a younger version of a fan favorite character allowed his career to really take off to previously unprecedented heights.
Finishing out the prequel trilogy
Ewan McGregor would return to the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi three years later in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and then again three years after that in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. These movies served to build a bridge between his first appearance and the Alec Guinness performance from the earlier movies. In addition to showing an older and more mature version of the character, now a fully fledged Jedi Knight, he also started sporting a bead to better connect his character to that of Alec Guinness. By the end of the third episode, it looked as though McGregor’s time with the character was complete, but that turned out to not be the case.
The Force Awakens
Ten years after his last performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor returned to the role in 2015 with a brief voice cameo in The Force Awakens. Midway through the movie, Rey hears the voice of Obi-Wan saying, “Rey…these are your first steps.” The line is actually a combination of both actors who had portrayed the character in live action previously. “Rey” was spoken by Alec Guinness who had died before the filming of the movie, but the effect was achieved by pulling the sound out of a recording of Guinness saying the word “afraid.” McGregor however, did return to the franchise to voice new dialogue for the character, recording the whole line, and then having his recording put together with that of Guinness for a moment where both versions of Obi-Wan are represented on the big screen.
The Rise of Skywalker
Ewan McGregor’s fifth time portraying the Jedi was once again as a voice appearance in one of the Star Wars sequels. Toward the climax of the movie The Rise of Skywalker, Rey hears the voices of all the Jedi that have come before her, encouraging her to overcome her final task. The first voice that is heard is that of Obi-Wan Kenobi, again with Ewan McGregor returning to give voice to the Jedi master. Obi Wan’s line in the movie echo’s his line from The Force Awakens saying, “These are your final steps Rey, Rise, and take them.” Again, McGregor does they heavy lifting on this line, though Alec Guinness is once again briefly featured on the word Rey, so that both actors can be a part of the dramatic moment.
We will get to see Ewan McGregor’s sixth portrayal of Obi-Wan on May 25th, when he returns for the limited series event on Disney+.
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