I was invited to the press conference for “Obi-Wan Kenobi”. The highly anticipated Disney+ series will begin streaming on May 27th, 2022. Ewan McGregor reprises the role almost twenty years after the prequels.
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McGregor was asked what it was about the show and the story that excited him to want to return to this galaxy. McGregor answered, “Well, it was a very long, slow process of coming back to play him, I guess”. He said it was born of two things – one, he was asked a lot. “The end of every interview I ever did for years I was asked two things; would I do the sequel to “Trainspotting”, and would I ever play Obi-Wan Kenobi again“. He said he became aware of how much the prequel films meant to the generation that watched them (McGregor mentions later in the interview that it is in part due to less social media at the time that he didn’t realize earlier). He stated that it warmed his feelings toward the Star Wars experience, and then Disney contacted him. “Disney just asked me to come in one day for a meeting because they kept seeing on social media that I’m saying that I would like to play Obi-Wan Kenobi again. It looked like I was sort of touting for work at Disney’s door. Like, you know, could you cast me?” And McGregor is happy with the results. “I think we’ve ended up a really, really a brilliant story and one that will satisfy the fans sitting between those two episodes”.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” takes place about ten years after “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”. McGregor was asked what makes this version different than other screen adaptations. He said it’s because of what happens at the end of Episode III. “At the end of the third episode, the Jedi order are all but destroyed and those who aren’t killed have gone into hiding and they can’t communicate with one another. So, for 10 years, Obi-Wan has been in hiding. He can’t communicate with any of his old comrades and he’s living a pretty solitary life. He’s not able to use the Force. So, in a way, he’s lost his faith.” McGregor compared it to someone who has stepped away from their religion.
Photo copyright Disney+
McGregor was asked how it compared working on a Star Wars TV show vs. a Star Wars film. He answered that the technology is so different now that it feels like a different experience – not because it’s a TV show. ” The beauty of it being a series is that we’ve got longer to tell the story. But because Deb directed them all and it’s her singular vision throughout, it did feel like we were just making one movie.”
He talked about the experience of filming twenty years ago. “Episode II was the first — I don’t know if it was the first movie that we shot on digital, but it was my first experience of shooting on digital cameras. And now, you know, it’s so rare to shoot on film, sadly, really. But those cameras were like dinosaurs.” He explained that they were cutting edge technology then, but there were challenges. “…they had huge umbilical cords coming out the back of the cameras. They couldn’t change the lenses. Or they could change the lenses, but it would like half an hour. So, everything was just shot on a zoom lens. There are two digital cameras on two techno cranes, literally, they just move the cranes and they zoomed in and out. And that was the new setup and the umbilical’s led to this big tent in the corner of the stage that literally hummed. It was so noisy. And in post-production, they realized at the end, that the noise they made was exactly in the frequency of the human voice. So we had to ADR every single line of Episode II. None of the original dialogue made it through because of that because the cameras were so, like, new, you know, and none of the bugs had been worked out yet. So, compared to what we’re doing now it’s, like, night and day really.”
Check out “Obi-Wan Kenobi” when it debuts on Disney+ May 27th!