Star Wars: The Hardest Part About Playing Obi-Wan Kenobi, According To Ewan McGregor

Obi-Wan Kenobi

One can imagine that being involved in a Star Wars movie is a difficult enough challenge on its own. However, when Ewan McGregor was cast to play the young Obi-Wan Kenobi, he had to deal with something that nobody else in the series really did. He wasn't simply playing a part, he was playing a part that had been made famous by one of the greatest British actors of all time. McGregor didn't just have to play Obi-Wan. He had to play Alec Guinness playing Obi-Wan Kenobi.

As an acting challenge, it was one. It was quite a tall order to do justice to Alec Guinness to make the role mine but to make it feel like Alec, I wanted to do him justice really. And that was a responsibility, I felt. And what was interesting, it made me look at all his early work because I wanted to see, I was playing Alec Guinness as a young man. So I spent quite a lot of time watching his early films. And oh, my God, there are some amazing pieces of work there

Technically speaking there are two characters from the original Star Wars who appear in the prequel trilogy, but if we separate Anakin Skywalker from Darth Vader, then there's really just Obi-Wan Kenobi. Simply playing Obi-Wan Kenobi would have been enough of a challenge. The Star Wars prequels were some of the most anticipated films ever made. As one of the lead characters of all three of them, there was enough on Ewan McGregor's plate, but he was following in the footsteps of Sir Alec Guinness. The actor tells The Hollywood Reporter that the role needed to feel like it was a young version of him as much as anything.

While the prequel trilogy is generally frowned upon by most fans, many would admit that Ewan McGregor's performance is one of the high points. A large part of that is the way that he absolutely does pull off a performance that feels like it could be a young Alec Guinness. The character feels like Obi-Wan Kenobi, even when he's much younger. He grows a beard over the course of the trilogy in order to physically transform, and most importantly his accent is spot on. He sounds pretty much like a young Alec Guinness, something he likely taught himself while watching many of the actor's previous films.

How do you think Ewan McGregor did in his performance as Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi? Did he make the role his own while still figuring out how to give the proper respect to the man who made it famous?

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.